Becoming a Master Gardener

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Becoming a Master Gardener - Provided by eHow
Becoming a master gardener requires attending a master gardening program sponsored by the local state extension service, usually comprising of one class per week for three months. Get certified as a master gardener with tips from a professional gardener... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi. My name's Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment we're going to learn all about how to become a master gardener. I became a master gardener in 2004, and it was one of the most exciting and entertaining, and also educational programs that I think I've ever experienced. And not only was it fun to learn about the plants, I learned so much more. I learned all about bugs and trees and soils and transplanting, and it was just really a really exciting experience. Now, how do you become a master gardener? People ask me all the time. And it's really easy. So I attended a garden show, and there were some master gardeners, and they were at a booth, and they had some fliers on how to become a master gardener. So the Master Gardening program is sponsored by your local state extension service. So the Washington state program is run through the Washington State University Cooperative Extension. And so they have all kinds of information at the Department of Agriculture, or you can go to the local state university and ask around, or just Google your county, and master gardeners, and usually the information will come right up. The programs are usually held once a year, or once every two years. And I thought it would be more of a time commitment, but it really wasn't that bad. It was just once a week, one day. My program was on Thursdays. Some are on Saturdays. And you're in classes, just like going to college, from about nine to three or four in the afternoon. And each day you learn all different subjects. And you're on a set schedule, and you have different people come and speak to you, and it's very, very interesting. The classes were for only about two to three months, so it really wasn't a lot of classes in the end. Then once you've finished your classes, you get certified, and then you can represent the Washington State University Master Gardening Program at different farmer's markets and in the Extension Service offices. So the main reason that they started the whole program in Washington State was so that the Extension Service, the Department of Ag, could have help, because so many people call in with gardening questions. And so they set up the Master Gardening Program so that people can volunteer their time, and help others. And it works out for everyone. The most important information that I learned was how to research information, 'cause there's really no right or wrong answers when there comes....when there's gardening questions. And people have different experiences. And so, there is a set manual that they provide for you, that I refer to all the time. And in the program, it's just like college. And you just go through each of the subjects. It's like a mini horticultural degree. And, botany basics, soils and fertilizers, plant propagation, pruning, which I really refer to. And all types of other information. How to plant bulbs. How to take care of berries, bugs, etymology, we spent a lot of time on bugs, because that is an important part of gardening, is to understanding how to deal with the wildlife around you. It's much easier than college, too. I was really thrilled to find out there's no tests in class. You just take your manual home, and you have a list of questions each week, and you can refer to your book, 'cause that's what you're learning. You're learning how to do research, which I really think is the most important part of learning, is learning from others. And so you just write exactly where you got your reference, and what your answer is, and then you turn your paper work in, and then they give it back to ya. And the best part is, is when you get a smiley face for getting all of the questions right. Once you graduate from the Master Gardener Degree Program, then you need to put in a certain number of hours in volunteering. So you can volunteer at the clinic, or teaching others about gardening, or in the local schools, or whatever you want to do. They have all types of programs. And, once you have a certain number of hours, then you get your badge. To keep your badge, and to represent the Master Gardeners, you have to keep up your volunteer time, and for a lot of people that's hard. But it is so rewarding to know that you are helping others, and it is a really good use of your time. And it's great to know about gardening, and to share it with others.