Registration open to be a Master Gardener

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (KNEP) Registration is open to become a master gardener or to get re-certified. Master Gardeners receive training from Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in many horticulture-related topics. Then contribute time as Extension volunteers.

The event’s representative in the panhandle is Gary stone. He has been working at the local extension for years and specializes in horticulture, water conservation, and some crop systems.

“It's a chance for them to gain more education. How to garden better how to raise trees and shrubs better, how to take care of their lawns,” said Stone.

The three stateside sessions will be take place Tuesday evenings and will be available online:

Feb. 12: Wildlife in the Landscape, presented by Dennis Ferraro, UNL Herpetologist.

Feb. 19: Your Landscape Environment and Weather Ready Landscapes, presented by Extension Educators Elizabeth Killinger and Terri James.

Feb. 26: Secrets of Service for Master Gardeners, presented by Community Vitality Specialist Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel and Nebraska Extension Educator Jessica Jones.

Daytime classes will take place Mondays at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, except for the Feb. 4 training, which will take place at the North Platte Natural Resources District Office.

The daytime topics are designed for advanced Master Gardeners; however, they are open to everyone:

Jan. 28: GMOs – What They Are and How They Affect You, or Not, presented by Leah Sandall, Extension Educator; Review of Nebraska Master Gardener Forms and Time Keeping, presented by Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator; How to Write PSAs, presented by David Ostdiek, UNL Communication/Technology Associate; Master Gardener Community Projects – Where You Can help Out, presented by Laurie Zitterkopf and Elaine Pile, Master Gardeners.

Feb. 4 (at North Platte NRD office): North Platte NRD Greenhouse and Tour, presented by Barb Cross and Jenifer Berge Sauter of NPNRD; NRD Tree Planting Program by Todd Filipi of NPNRD; and Proper Selection and Use of Tree and Shrub Tools, presented by Amy Seiler, City of Gering Director of Parks and Recreation.

Feb. 11: Compost, Composting and How to Use it, and How to Amend Soils, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator David Lott; Vegetable Gardens – Design, Layout, and How and When to Fertilize and Water, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator David Lott.

Feb. 18: Grass and Broadleaf Weeds in Our Landscape, plus Weed ID and Quiz, presented by UNL Integrated Weed Management Specialist Nevin Lawrence; and Nebraska Invasive Species – More than Plants, presented by Nebraska Extension Educator Gary Stone.

Individual sessions are only $15. The session at NRD is $20 and includes lunch.

Participation is $40 for the three statewide sessions, $40 for the four sessions in Scottsbluff, or $55 to attend all sessions.

And, for an additional $106 fee, Master Gardeners receive at t-shirt, Master Gardener manual, and name badge.

Applicants should be nineteen or older, interested in learning about horticulture, and be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process.

Volunteer tasks may involve giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, and more.

Stone said there are a few thing gardeners can do to get a jump on the season. “Planning for gardens.”

“If they have a map of their gardens from the previous year it's a great way to know where they can and can't plant certain crops. You do not want to follow peppers on peppers or corn on corn, you want to move things around in your garden.”

To sign up for the program, call your local Nebraska Extension County Office, or pick up a brochure from Extension offices in Scottsbluff, Alliance or Sidney.

The brochure has a registration form that needs to be completed and returned by Jan. 28.

You can also download it at the Panhandle Center website, https://panhandle.unl.edu