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Who Are Master Gardeners?

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You probably know a Master Gardener and may not even know it.  Master Gardeners are your neighbors. We live in your community, and work in your local nurseries and hardware stores.  Master Gardeners love plants and gardening and face the same gardening challenges that you do.  We may be members of the local garden club, rose society, or California Native Plant Society.   Master Gardeners are volunteers trained and certified by the University of California Cooperative Extension in home gardening and horticulture.   We promote the application of useful basic gardening practices.  Our purpose is to teach and extend research-based information to home and community gardeners.

The Master Gardener Program is an educational and public service component of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR), which oversees the Cooperative Extension.  Our local office is located at 52 N. Washington St. in Sonora.

In Tuolumne County, Master Gardeners have expertise in trees, native plants, composting, deer resistant plants, roses, vegetables, and ornamentals.  They offer suggestions to benefit your oak trees and deter your gophers.  They provide advice on plants that use little water or can tolerate our thin mountain soils.  They’ll teach you how to create your own soil amendments that benefit both the garden and the community.

Master Gardeners are eager to have energetic, plant-interested people join us.  Our meetings on the first Tuesday of each month are open to the public, with speakers providing information on various horticulture-related topics.

Master Gardener membership is open to anyone in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. A background check, including fingerprinting, is required to become a Master Gardener. An orientation has been scheduled for Thursday, October 17th, starting at 3:30 pm at the Tuolumne county Senior Center located at 540 Greenley Road, Sonora, CA. Anyone interested in becoming a Master Gardener should attend the orientation to learn about the program and the volunteer requirements.

The training classes for new volunteer candidates begin Thursday, January 23, 2020 and continue weekly through April 30th, from 3:00 pm each Thursday. Classes will be held in Sonora. These classes will include over 50 hours of intensive training by University of California personnel and horticulture specialists in various fields. Topics include water management, soils, composting, native plants, fruit production, plant diseases, entomology, Integrated Pest Management, understanding pesticides and more.

A fee of $195 will be charged to cover the cost of all class materials, which includes several reference texts. After successfully completing the training program, certified Master Gardener volunteers agree to fulfill annual volunteer service and continuing education requirements.

For more information, contact the University of California Calaveras Cooperative Extension office by phone or email. The phone number is (209) 533-5695 and the email is dlpowell@ucanr.edu.

Rebecca Miller-Cripps is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Tuolumne County. She has a B.S. in Biology: Ecology & Genetics from California State University, Stanislaus.

UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties can answer home gardening questions. Call 209-533-5912 or to fill out our easy-to-use problem questionnaire here. Check out our website here, You can also find us on Facebook.

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