The weather has a lot of us outdoors doing yard work, prepping garden spaces, and planting what will take a little bit cooler at night.
MTN’s Donna Kelley made a find with MSU Extension that has answers and some master gardener classes to help us be playing and productive in the dirt.
Montana Master Gardener Coordinator, MSU Extension Sarah Eilers: The master gardener class is held at least once a year and we have different levels that you can take. The master gardener level one is general horticulture, your background so that you can become a better gardener. The goal of the master gardener Ccass is to improve your knowledge but also there’s an educational element. The program was started out of Washington State in 1973, and it was because they were getting so many horticulture questions into the extension office.
Donna: So, there are three levels?
Sarah Eilers: There’s three levels here, yes. Those agents who get to levels two and three can be a real resource for the county extension agent. They can help answer a lot of the questions, and a number of them host booths at farmer’s markets. If you’ve gone to ours there, they tend to be there and they have fact sheets and information and can help direct people to the right information.
The 2023 calendar focus this year was on pollinators. Each month we have a photo of a pollinator in it. We also talk about specific issues that come into the Scudder Diagnostic Lab so you can look at your trees and be like, ‘Oh, that is something I need to deal with or not’.
Donna: Each month you address one of those common questions. Is it full of information?
Sarah Eilers: Yes, it’s full of information. Pruning, just the basics of gardening are in here. Big fruit trees and Shrubs. We’re right now finishing up the bare fruit trees and shrubs. It’s a great resource and free. You can get it from your local county extension agent. Usually, they have them by November and it’s just a great resource.
Donna: It’s fabulous. This one is gone for this year, but the one that’s coming up next, as you mentioned, is usually in November. What will that focus on for this next year?
Sarah Eilers: Native flowers. There should be some beautiful photos, photos from master gardeners, extension agents, and friends of extension. It’s really fun to have.
This spring, MSU Extension tried out a hybrid class that included online training at home, the classroom, and field trips.