Q: How do I become involved with the Master Gardener program?
A: The first step to becoming a Master Gardener is to call your local OSU Cooperative Extension Center and see if it offers a Master Gardener program. Right now, about 30 counties in Oklahoma offer the program and, even if your county doesn't, hopefully one in your area will.
In Oklahoma County, we're currently taking applications for the 2013 Master Gardener training until May 4.
Really, the only requirement to become a Master Gardener is that you love gardening and are willing to share that love with others.
You also must attend a series of classes that begins in early September and continues through November. The classes meet every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offer instruction in vegetable gardening, lawn care, fruit production, landscaping, tree planting and care, pruning, insect and disease control, soil improvement, and a long list of other horticulture subjects.
In exchange for the education, Master Gardeners must donate 60 hours of their time to assist others in their community by helping answer gardening and landscaping questions of individuals who either call or come by the Extension Service office. Most Master Gardeners find that answering these requests becomes one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.
Last year, Oklahoma County Master Gardeners assisted more than 20,000 area residents with gardening questions.
In addition to setting up information booths at garden festivals and during community programs, Master Gardeners are on hand every working day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Center to answer questions.