Gardener program expands knowledge
Last updated 7/28/2022 at 3:17pm
Being a volunteer in the Master Gardener Program has expanded my universe. The more I have participated in the program activities and educational offerings over the years, the more I realize there is always so much more to learn.
I had been a backyard gardener for a number of years. Now, by incorporating all I’ve learned from other MGs and training through these past few years, I have more tools in my garden knowledge tool kit, and the quality of my garden is much improved. I’ve added many perennials, fruit trees, rhubarb, asparagus, and various berries (including trying my hand at growing blueberries). My soil, which I used to till every year, had become hard packed, but now I have incorporated no till gardening, to prevent spreading quack grass and destroying important soil microorganisms. I’ve added leaves and lawn clippings as a mulch for my garden and wood chips as a mulch for my orchard. As a result, my soil quality and garden productivity have both improved. I’ve learned how to manage weeds, differentiate between beneficial bugs and pests, and incorporate plant nutrition into my garden and yard to keep everything healthy.
I’ve also learned how to research gardening problems to find effective science-based solutions using the many resources available to the Master Gardeners through WSU Extension, such as PestSense, Hortsense, and many informative WSU bulletins on home gardening, and our quarterly newsletter Grounded as well as consulting with fellow MGs. I volunteer at the Quincy MG plant clinic during the summer, working with the public to address their gardening issues, and at the MG online clinic that is available to answer gardeners’ questions year-round. I’ve learned from the clients during this volunteer activity at these clinics, telling me how they’re doing with their gardening, and I provide educational information to help them with their problems. It’s a win-win. And it’s very satisfying to me to give back to the community and help them be self-sufficient in growing healthy foods and providing for themselves.
Open enrollment in classes to become a certified Master Gardener is now available, with training offered this fall both online and in person. WSU Master Gardeners serve our rural and urban communities in Grant-Adams Counties by volunteering their time to diagnose gardening problems and educate home gardeners on best horticultural and gardening practices.