October 21, 2019 - 10:13am -- lindimore.1

What is the Master Gardener (MG) Program?

     The MG program is an outreach effort to educate the public regarding horticultural practices.  The program is administered by State land grant universities through their Extension offices that have historically provided educational and scientific resources to the state residents.

U.S. MG Program:

     The first group of MGs to be trained by Extension specialists was in the state of Washington in 1972.  The concept has spread to more than 40 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Canada.   About 100,000 volunteers have received MG training and contributed hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to their communities.

     The emphasis of the program is to encourage and teach sound gardening practices based on scientific research and proven horticultural practices.

Ohio MG Program:

     The first MG programs in Ohio originated in the late 1970s in Franklin and Cuyahoga counties.  After a period of inactivity, the program was reenergized in 1986 in Cuyahoga County.  More than 65 Ohio counties are now served by approximately 3,000 MG volunteers.

     The purpose of the MG program is to train volunteers and utilize their expertise to teach people more about plants, their culture, and their importance to the environment and to our quality of life.  The mission of the program is to provide knowledge to, and develop, the leadership abilities of volunteers who, in turn, enable others to improve the quality of their lives by enhancing their home and community environments through horticultural education and activities.

     To initially qualify as a Master Gardener, the individual must attend 40 hours of training presented by the county extension educator, guest speakers, and field trips, and then provide fifty hours of volunteer effort within one year of the training.  Upon completing those requirements the individual receives MG certification.  To retain that certification, each individual must provide 10 hours of volunteer effort and attend 6 hours of advance training annually.

Morgan County MG Program:

     The first MG class in Morgan County was presented in 2003, with ten participants. In 2018, we began to offer the class jointly with OSU Extension, Perry County. 

     Some of the principal efforts of the Morgan County Master Gardener’s the past fifteen years has been to staff a booth at the Farmers’ Market each Friday to furnish gardening guidance to the public attending the market, establish a Community Garden, host the annual summer garden tour in various locations throughout the county and provide educational programs.. 

     The Morgan County Master Gardeners have participated in several efforts to improve the appearance of Morgan County through various planting efforts.  The efforts have included:

     -Planting and maintaining landscape at Malta Park along the riverfront.

     -Beautification efforts at the Stockport dam and ODNR boat ramp.

     -Landscaping efforts at the Gulf War Memorial, Morgan County Library, Morgan County Court House and at the Button House.

     -Free plant give-aways at the Farmers Market and established a Community Garden.

     MG volunteers are also available for educational programs.  Examples of available programs include “Managing Invasive Species”, “Basic Gardening”, and others.  

Reservations are Being Accepted for the 2020 Training

     Plans are underway for training in 2020.  Forty hours of instruction will be provided in exchange for 50 hours of volunteer service during the next year.  Training will be for six consecutive Wednesdays beginning February 12.  Speakers from the area and around the state will provide instruction on topics ranging from vegetable gardening to pest management; ornamentals to botany; insect identification to fruit production; annuals and perennials to landscaping; lawns to fertility; and much more.

     Included with your $60 registration will be your personal Master Gardener Manual, numerous other handouts, publications, meals and snacks each week.

Additional Morgan/Perry County MG Program Information:

     Additional information regarding the Morgan/Perry County Master Gardener program can be obtained by contacting:

     Chris Penrose penrose.1@osu.edu  OR  Ted Wiseman wiseman.15@osu.edu