Panhandle Master Gardener training |

Panhandle Master Gardener training

Nebraska Extension is offering the Master Gardener Training Program beginning in February for people who have an interest in lawn or gardens, are willing to become a trained volunteer, and who like to help people in their communities.

Weekly sessions in February and March will provide Master Gardeners with research-based horticulture education, preparing them to share their knowledge with others in the community.

The training is open to anyone who is interested in plants and is willing to volunteer. In exchange for the training, Master Gardeners are asked to volunteer to their local communities.

They work closely with Extension educators in the local office in solving problems or giving information. They also give talks or workshops to the public or write news articles about various phases of horticulture in which they are knowledgeable. Some may talk on care of house plants, others on flowers, vegetable gardening or other horticulture-related subjects.

The fee to participate in Master Gardener Training is $35 for either fundamental or proficient sessions. The cost to attend both sets of sessions is $50. Individual sessions are $12 each.

Participants can purchase an optional Master Gardener Handbook as a reference. At the end of the training sessions, Master Gardeners are required to give 40 hours of volunteer service to their local Extension office or community.

Anyone who is interested in participating or who has questions is encouraged to contact Gary Stone, Extension Educator in Scotts Bluff County, at 308-632-1230; Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator in Cheyenne-Kimball-Banner Counties at 308-254-4455; or John Thomas, Extension Educator in Box Butte County, at 308-762-5616.

A brochure with more information and a registration form is available on the web at or at Extension offices in Scottsbluff, Alliance and Sidney.

Please pre-register by Jan. 29 by calling the local county extension office. Residents of other states are welcome as well.

A series of six fundamental training sessions for Master Gardeners will take place on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Alliance Extension Office, the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, and at the Western Nebraska Community College in Sidney. This is designed for new Master Gardeners and will cover basic horticultural information. It will start on Feb. 2 and conclude on March 8. The training will be offered via the internet, with local UNL Extension Educators at each of the sites to help answer questions.

The topics include:

· Feb. 2: Selection and Care of Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

· Feb. 9: Putting Perennials to Work

· Feb. 16: Basic Botany/Plant Identification

· Feb. 23: Weed Identification and Control

· March 1: Communicating Important Yard and Garden Issues

· March 8: Efficient Landscape Irrigation

Proficient Master Gardener training sessions will be Feb. 22 and 29 and March 7, 21, and 25 at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, starting at 10 a.m. and concluding at 3 p.m. The topics are designed for advanced Master Gardeners; however, they are open to everyone.

Topics include:

· Feb. 22: The Importance of Master Gardeners and How to Keep Track of Volunteer Hours; Right Plants in the Right Place in the Garden and Landscape; Mari Sandoz Center Plants and the CSC Campus

· Feb. 29: Other Trees to Try – Pushing the Limit; Fruit Trees and Bushes/Urban Fruit Production and Diseases

· March 7: How to Judge at County Fairs; Plant Health – Common Vegetable and Fruit Diseases

· March 21: Windbreak Design and Tree Selection for the Home/Small Acreage Owner; the Pesticide Label; What Happened in 2015, a Quick Review; and Fertilizing Vegetables and Flowers in the Garden

· March 25: TBA

–UNL Extension