Apply now to become an Isanti County Master Gardener

Isanti County residents are invited to apply to take the Master Gardener Core Course that is being offered at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus Jan. 14 to Feb. 9 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or online between Jan. 9 and May 4, 2012.

To become a Master Gardener, one needs to first sign-up and be accepted into their local county program. For more information and to apply to take the Core Course, contact Isanti County Master Gardener Program Coordinator Les Anderson at the Isanti County Extension Office at 763-689-8254 or by e-mail at anderslb@umn.edu by Nov. 10.

The core course consists of 48 hours of classroom instruction conducted by University of Minnesota Extension faculty on a dozen basic topics. They include: best management practices on lawn care; trees and shrubs; insect, disease and weed control; soil science and plant nutrition; fruits; vegetables; houseplants, perennials and annual flowers; wildlife and others.

After completing the core course, training continues with an internship with the Isanti County Extension Office and Master Gardener program. It consists of 50 hours of volunteer time donated to County Extension program to be completed within the first year of program participation.

Typical volunteer activities that Master Gardeners are involved in include: planning and answering gardening questions at the farmer’s market, county fair booth, horticulture day, plant sale and other community events. Other possibilities include: writing a newspaper column on a gardening topic; helping youth with Junior Master Gardener hands-on sessions and garden plots; assisting community members in the community garden; and more.

Master Gardeners become certified upon completion of the first year 50 hour internship. In future years, Master Gardeners need to volunteer 25 hours and complete 5-12 hours of continuing horticulture education through the county Extension office to remain an active Master Gardener.

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