The Master Gardener program is a volunteer training program conducted by Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service designed to help county extension centers meet the demands for consumer horticulture information.

Master Gardeners take classroom training coordinated by local extension staff with the assistance of state extension specialists located at Oklahoma State University. After classroom training is completed, program participants are involved in an internship program of volunteer service coordinated by local extension centers. Volunteer service components vary widely around the state, but in all cases are educational, extension-related and represent the interests of extension.

Master Gardeners have become a vital part of extension’s ability to provide consumers with up-to-date, research based information. Master Gardening has become a popular volunteer activity that gives its participants a sense of community spirit, accomplishment and intellectual stimulation.

Master Gardener training is offered every other year at the Garfield County OSU Extension Center in Enid. Training is held from September through December. Classes meet one day each week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It was offered this year.

The Garfield County Extension Master Gardener training provides more than 60 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction in horticulture related areas. Classes in the training program include basic botany; annuals and perennials; soil science; weed control; houseplants, fruits and vegetables; lawn care; plant propagation; trees and shrubs; yard waste recycling; water use management; plant pathology; and many others. Courses are taught by horticulture specialists from Oklahoma State University, county extension educators, local specialists and veteran Master Gardeners.

Following basic training, Master Gardeners are expected to complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service on projects and events sponsored by the Garfield County OSU Extension and that benefit the community to achieve certification.

To maintain certification, 20 hours of volunteer service and 20 of educational activities are required annually.

Extension Master Gardeners become friends with many interesting and talented individuals; they never stop learning, but continue to grow in their knowledge of garden related issues. Being an Extension Master Gardener volunteer is a fun, interesting and rewarding experience.

Anyone age 18 or over who has an interest in horticulture can apply. If you want to improve your skills and knowledge and you like to work with people, this program may be for you. Applications are available at Garfield County OSU Extension Center. Upon review of application, letters are sent to all applicants. Class size is limited. There is an enrollment fee to cover the cost of educational material.

Contact the Garfield County OSU Extension Center at (580) 237-1228 or visit the office at 316 E. Oxford in Enid.

Office hours are 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or visit the website at http://oces.okstate.edu/garfield/garfield-county-mas ter-gardeners.

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Castor is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.

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