In addition to the graduate classes I’m taking for my degree this semester, I also signed up for a Master Gardener class. I’ve been wanting to take this class for a while, because I don’t have much in-depth knowledge about plants and gardening. All I know to do is toss a seed to the ground, water it, make sure it gets some sun, and hope for the best. This approach generally works, but I know that there has to parts of the agricultural puzzle that I’m missing. That’s why I’m so excited about these classes and opportunity to learn more in a subject I love!
Master Gardener in a Nutshell
Master Gardener classes are found throughout the United States and Canada. Many are offered through college and universities or through country extension offices. The course includes a volunteer component, and is designed with adult learners in mind (though kids are welcome too!). Classes consists of lectures by local experts on all kinds of garden related topics. To date, my class has covered soil, composting, botany, and bee friendly landscaping, with pesticides coming up. So why should you sign up for a Master Gardener course? I have three reasons for you: knowledge, community and resources.
You’ll Gain New Knowledge
These classes aren’t just for show. When you go to class, you’ll need to have read your textbook, and be prepared to dive deeply into the class’s topic. Each class takes one concept and looks at it from multiple angles. For instance, my class on soil covered soil profiles, macro and micro-nutrients, microorganisms, and more. Your instructor doesn’t just tell you how to do something. They also teach you the science behind what you’re doing. And don’t worry about the class being too difficult or time consuming. Yes, you’ll need to read and attend class, but your instructors are approachable, and the curriculum is designed for busy people. The knowledge you’ll take away is well worth the time commitment.
You’ll Gain a Community
I remember walking into my first Master Gardener class. I picked up my textbook and found my seat to leaf through its pages as the room filled. When I next looked up, I found myself surrounded by people who were just as equally interested in plants! When you take a Master Gardener class, you join a community of people who care about the same things that you do. If your current social circle doesn’t include anyone with a green thumb, you’ll gain lots of new people willing to swap stories and seeds with you.
You’ll Gain Resources
Taking a Master Gardener class will also give you resources to be a more effective gardener. Each week, you’ll meet gardening experts with specialties who will be more than happy to answer any your questions or point to the person who can. Wondering why your holly bush has berries and neighbor’s doesn’t? They can tell you. Can’t get your apple tree to produce? They’ll have a solution. You’ll also learn about other local events, workshops, and classes that will let you keep learning after the course has ended.
If you get the chance, I firmly recommend that you take a Master Gardener class. You’ll learn, gain a community of plant enthusiasts, and people who will be resources and mentors for you for years to come. Who knows, maybe once you get your Master Gardener certification, you’ll be the one your circle of friends comes to for gardening advice! Ready to get started? Check this site to find a class near you.
Have you ever taken a Master Gardener class? What were your experiences like?