Panhandle Master Gardener Training Program to Begin

Anybody with an interest in lawns, landscape, or gardening, as well as sharing their knowledge, is invited to take part in Nebraska Extension’s Master Gardener Program, which is seeking volunteers and offering Master Gardener training in the Panhandle beginning in late January.

The Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program has been part of Nebraska Extension since 1976. Master Gardener volunteers are trained by Nebraska Extension faculty and staff in many horticulture-related topics. They then contribute time as volunteers, working through their local extension office, to provide horticulture-related information to their community.

Volunteer tasks may involve answering phones at a county extension office, giving horticulture presentations to community organizations, assisting 4-H clubs with garden projects, judging horticulture exhibits at county and state fairs, participating in community garden projects, writing a garden column for the local paper and more.

Volunteer applicants should be at least 19 years old with a strong work ethic and an interest in learning more about horticulture and landscape systems. They need to be willing to commit to the training and volunteer process and meet all requirements for yearly recertification.

To sign up for the program, call your local Nebraska Extension County Office. The 2022 training will begin Jan. 31, with weekly in-person training classes running through Feb. 21. The participation fee is $20 for five classes. Each class runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. MST.

For more information, contact Extension Educator Gary Stone, 308-632-1319, gstone2@unl.edu

Class dates and topics:

Monday, Jan. 31: Food Preparation and food safety (Extension Educator Tammie Ostdiek); Landscape Stormwater Management, Leann Sato, City of Scottsbluff; Nebraska Noxious Weeds, Extension Educator Gary Stone

Monday, Feb. 7: Emerald Ash Borer update, Other Invasive Insects, Diseases, Drought, Watering Trees (Crissy Land, Nebraska Forest Service); Bloom Box and My Garden (Extension Master Gardener  Laurie Zitterkopf); Buffalo Grass and Tree Programs (Todd Filipi, North Platte Natural Resources District).

Monday, Feb. 14: Native Grasses, pollinator gardens (Extension Educator David Lott).

Monday, Feb. 21: Container Gardening in Regular Containers and Non-typical Containers (Straw/Hay Bales); Landscape Design & What Not to Plant Close Together; Landscape & Garden Plants, (Terri James, Extension Educator)

Statewide online Master Gardener Classes

Extension Master Gardener courses also will be offered statewide online beginning in January, coordinated by Extension Educator David Lott, based in North Platte. These are in addition to the in-person, day-time classes that will be held in Scottsbluff. 

Online Classes will start at 5:30 p.m. MST. Each session will be recorded for those who cannot attend class.

To get a schedule and register, contact your local Nebraska Extension office. For returning Master Gardeners, there is a $20 fee for the series. For new Master Gardener trainees, the link for registration is: https://mastergardener.unl.edu/master-gardener-application. The training fee of $180 (one-time, first- year fee) that will cover the manuals, shirt, name badge, and fees. The online application is open until Jan. 15.

Fior more information, contact David Lott, Horticulture Educator, dlott2@unl.edu, 308-532-2683.

Class dates and topics:

Jan. 11: Welcome

Jan. 18: No-till vegetable gardening

Jan. 25: Finding Extension horticulture resources

Feb. 1: Nut trees for humans and wildlife

Feb. 8 Starting plants from seed

Feb. 15: Ornamental grasses and sedges

Feb. 22: Pruning fruit trees

March 1: Attracting birds with plants

March 8: Pollinator gardening

March 15: Homegrown food gardening

March 22: Bee/insect hotels

March 29: Common landscape disorders

April 5: Efficient irrigation system maintenance

April 12: Common lawn insect pests

April 19: Common lawn disorders

April 26: Herbicide types and their use

May 3: Lawn irrigation system components and maintenance

June 7: Using lawn irrigation rain sensors/adjustments

Summer break

Oct. 4: Vegetable trap cropping

Oct. 11: Using coldframes

Oct. 18: Building terrariums and care

Oct. 25: Starting bedding plants.

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