What is a Texas Master Gardener? How do you become a part of this group? Do you need experience to be involved with this group?

The Texas Master Gardener program is a statewide volunteer service organization that falls under the umbrella of Texas A&M Agrilife Extension across Texas through each County Extension Office. Master Gardeners are members of local communities who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn, ready to help others and able to communicate with diverse groups of people. In the Victoria County Master Gardener program alone, we have more than 140 active folks and growing.

Some of your children or you may have visited the Victoria Educational Gardens located at 333 Bachelor Drive at the Victoria Regional Airport. Also, we have the Master Gardener Healthy Kids Camp. For one week, young folks got to learn about insects and gardening. The educational gardens were constructed and are currently maintained by the Victoria County Master Gardeners. We partnered with area schools and installed school gardens this year to teach youth how to grow their own food.

The VEG is one of several projects to which the Victoria County Master Gardeners donate their time and expertise. If you get a chance and want to see some wonderful plants and walk through a majestic outdoor setting, visit the garden.

Outside of their numerous service projects, the Master Gardeners provide tours at the VEG, present programs to various groups in Victoria and surrounding counties, write weekly columns for the Victoria Advocate, conduct a fantastic plant sale, coordinate Lunch and Learn events, organize Victoria County Garden Tours and much more. Does this sound like an organization that you would like to join?

Beginning with its first training class in 1997, the Victoria County Master Gardener Association and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension have been providing in-depth, horticulture-based training to individuals who want to learn better gardening techniques and share this information with neighbors, friends and others in the community.

The next Master Gardener class is slated to begin Aug. 1 and will run every Thursday until the final exam Nov. 14. The class will be held at the Victoria Educational Garden’s Pavilion and will run 1-5 p.m. This training will comprise 50 hours of intensive information, including from plant development, insects, vegetables, herbs, fruit and nuts, propagation, turf, diseases and much more. The cost for the class will be $175 and will include all training materials.

The deadline for registering is July 22. You can pick up an application at the Victoria County Extension Office at 528 Waco Circle or print one at vcmga.org. After completion of the course, you will need to give back 50 hours of volunteer time to the organization within one year as an intern.

For more information, you can call the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Matt Bochat is a County Extension Agent – Ag/Natural Resources Victoria County Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

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