Gone are the days when our home landscapes consisted of one tree, three identical green shrubs and a hanging basket. Now more than ever, we make room in the budget to design the exterior of our homes and use outdoor spaces as our new color palettes. Although we dream of green flowing landscapes, lack of gardening knowledge or understanding often limits our ability to implement our ideas. Becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) requires no previous knowledge just an interest to learn, be involved, and serve the community. You will be provided with the tools to learn or grow your knowledge of basic horticultural principles and environmentally sound gardening practices so that you may confidently begin or enhance your gardening experience. An added bonus of being a MGV is your ability to tap into the resource of other MGVs and to share your gardening gifts within the community.
There are numerous benefits associated with becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer. MGVs receive electronic newsletters and other free material to stay abreast of the latest practices and horticultural information. MGVs have the opportunity to participate in State and National Conferences and educational meetings covering a wide range of topics. MGV monthly meetings enable you to learn about new horticultural developments, stay informed about our program and volunteer and educational opportunities.
The Master Gardener Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested gardeners who volunteer their time through educational programs and activities for residents through their Ohio State University County Extension Office. After completion of the course, new interns volunteer 50 hours to the county the first year and 20 hours subsequent years. Projects include the demonstration garden at the Agriculture Center, public workshops, a helpline, and making gardening presentations.
Since 1996, the Union County Master Gardener Association has been supported by the expertise of the Ohio State University Extension Service. Applicants to the Master Gardener Program in Union County progress through a selection process consisting of an application, interview and background check. Aspiring MGVs attend a comprehensive training course along with several hands-on in person workshops.
The MGV training course will begin in late December and will consist of instruction covering best management practices for lawn, ornamental tree and shrub care; insect, disease, and weed control; soil science and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening; home fruit production and other horticultural subjects.
Along with the comprehensive online training, students receive an in-depth gardening manual.
A fundamental premise of the MGV Program is the belief that gardening knowledge should be reinforced through practice and shared with the broader community. In return for their specialized training, MGVs are asked to volunteer time in support of Union County Extension programs. Volunteer activities include responding to requests for gardening information, working with community groups, holding plant clinics, and providing home gardening information to the community through a wide variety of gardening related activities. The scope of the activities enables you to volunteer as an individual or on a team with other MGVs, and to choose your involvement based upon your area of interest or expertise as well as your work and home schedule.