Do you enjoy gardening and want to learn more while making new friends who share this avocation? Do you want to share your accumulated knowledge with other gardeners and your community?

Do you want to work with children and adults while teaching them about gardens and gardening, and get new plants that your new friends wish to share – or you share your plants with them?

Would you like to get some healthy exercise taking care of the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG) and socialize with great food that your fellow Master Gardeners bring for break times at classes, meetings and work days?

If so, becoming a Texas Master Gardener in Victoria County might be the perfect opportunity for you to do all of this – and then some.

What’s in store for you starting Aug. 1?

Do all this and more in the fall 2019 training class that starts in three weeks.

Speakers for the training class will include university professors, county extension agents and Master Gardeners. Access to information and answers is as easy as asking the questions, and students are encouraged to seek answers to their questions from these experts, some of whom likely could be among the most knowledgeable in the state of Texas, during the presentations.

If you have a question about some point, chances are others do as well, so step up and ask your questions.

Training topics

Topics to be covered in the program will include, but are not be limited to:

  • Herbs and vegetables
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Insects and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Plant propagation, including hands-on propagation groups – (And yes, you get to take your cuttings home with you.)
  • Perennials, roses, bulbs and Texas Superstar plants
  • Landscaping, containers and xeriscape
  • Composting, rainwater harvesting
  • Working with soils – (You will be afforded the opportunity to collect and submit your own soil sample from your yard/garden and then learn how to interpret results and how to improve your soil.)
  • Plant diseases and their treatments
  • Turf grasses
  • How to work in Victoria Educational Gardens, hydration and sun protection
  • A class field trip – (In the past, destinations have included onsite visits to large commercial nurseries, area vineyards, mushroom farms, grass farms, olive groves, pecan groves, botanical gardens, specialty nurseries and select local/area gardens.)
  • Continuing education

In addition to the initial training class, you, as a Master Gardener, will have many opportunities for continuing education, including Master Gardener conventions, both state and national; seminars; and specialist programs sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

  • Community service opportunities

If you are interested in serving the community, you will have varied and numerous opportunities to do so as a Master Gardener besides, of course, spending time helping maintain VEG. Community service hours are required to maintain the Master Gardener status.

For example,

  • Victoria County Master Gardener Association (VCMGA) members write an article on a gardening topic for the Victoria Advocate every week. If you enjoy writing and sharing your knowledge, you are invited to participate.
  • VCMGA has two plant sales a year and members work jointly in various capacities to ensure credible sales for the community.
  • VCMGA helps to design and construct demonstration gardens and teach horticultural topics at schools and churches.
  • Several thousand school children and people from various area organizations are provided prearranged tours of VEG every year, and those tours are led by Master Gardeners.
  • The week-long Summer Camp for Kids is a popular and great volunteer opportunity.
  • If you enjoy public speaking, the monthly “Lunch and Learn” program is free to the public, January through August, and you can certainly be included to speak in your area(s) of knowledge.
  • VCMGA also has a Speaker’s Bureau whereby members go to clubs and other groups to speak on gardening subjects.

If this sounds worthwhile to you, please submit an application for this year’s upcoming VCMGA training class. The knowledge you will gain, the people you will meet and the camaraderie of simply being around a friendly group of people who welcome you and share your interests are certain to make your class and future gardening a rewarding experience.

If you would like to speak to someone directly for more information or if you have any questions, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office in Victoria County at 361-575-4581 or class coordinator Barbara David at 512-879-8812 or barbaradavid111@yahoo.com.

You may also visit the Texas Master Gardener Association – Victoria County website at vcmga.org to review the class schedule and print an application, which is due July 22.

The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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