A while ago, fellow blogger Jan at Quiltify, asked if I’d explain the Master Gardener program.
Here in New Hampshire it is under the umbrella of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. They offer two classes each year with interviews being held for potential community-minded candidates from all ten counties. Each individual then attends class for one day a week for twelve weeks.
Once class and field time are finished, the intern is required to contribute 55 hours of service on community related gardening projects that contain an educational component. Subsequent years require 15 hours or 25 if you are an Advanced Master Gardener.
Throughout the year, but especially during summer months, there are numerous Continuing Education programs offered.
For instance, my recent visit to Roger Swain’s property was part of this program as was a visit to the UNH Woodman Horticultural Research Farm last week to see and hear about their pollinator program and view their bee hotel.
Today, I went on a greenhouse tour and flower arranging workshop at Blue Bell Greenhouse.
Blue Bell has been offering a CSA program for 29 years, has thirty shares this year, and also sells cut flowers to local florists as well as those in the Boston area.
We were treated to rows of gorgeous vegetables and beautiful flowers. There were several take aways from today’s visit including the fact that they don’t do a lot of weeding. They have a system of leaving trenches for planting, soaker hose laid in the trench with the plant, and landscape fabric on both sides.
They also had the usual tomato stakes with the pipes across the top and strings tied to the branches. But, there were two other types that were really interesting. One row had regular tomato cages lined up with small PVC pipes woven in and out for support and to tie up branches. And another row had the tomatoes growing in between two vinyl coated fences which were attached to regular metal fence poles. (If you’re interested but need more photos, let me know and I’ll email some others.)
I completed the MG program in the spring of 2007 and achieved Advanced MG in 2008 which required additional educational credits and more community hours.
If you like gardening, enjoy meeting like minded folks, want to participate on community gardening projects and appreciate opportunities for continuing gardening education, the MG program may be something to look into.
MG designation or not, we’re all master gardeners in our own gardens and that’s the way it should be. Garden on, summer is fading. 🙂