Ray Ridlen: How do you become a Master Gardener?

Last year, Oklahoma County Master Gardeners assisted more than 20,000 area residents with gardening questions.
By Ray Ridlen Published: April 19, 2014

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 Oklahoma State University 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 taking applications for 2014 Master Gardener training until May 2.

Really the only requirement to become a Master Gardener is that you love gardening and are willing to share that love with others. You must also 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 back 60 hours of their time to assisting others in their community by helping answer gardening and landscaping questions of individuals that 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 alone 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 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every working day at the Oklahoma County Extension Center to answer questions.

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