DOBSON — The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Center in Surry County, which is located in Dobson, is offering a 13-week spring Master Gardener class for anyone interested in expanding their gardening and horticulture knowledge.
Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers who, according to the class description, “serve and beautify their communities and are linked to a professional network of support through county, state, and national Cooperative Extension offices.”
Jan Taylor, receptionist for the Surry County Cooperative Extension Center, said there are nine active Master Gardeners in Surry County and they hope to expand their membership with the upcoming class.
Class participants will receive up-to-date information from Master Gardeners and classes will be taught by Extension Agent Joanna Radford.
Those who may be interested in the class include anyone who would like to learn more about plants in general; those interested in growing fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, or improving their lawns; and individuals who would like to volunteer their time and gardening talents to benefit the citizens of Surry County.
Master Gardeners meet monthly at the Surry County Cooperative Extension Center. They also build volunteer hours by providing outreach to those in the community through assistance with gardening and horticulture. Master Gardeners also help to provide and teach the classes offered through the Cooperative Extension Center.
Judy Bates, 15-year Master Gardener
Master Gardener Judy Bates has been a part of the group for 15 years and she enrolled in the class in order to expand her gardening knowledge.
“I had a garden, almost always had one, and I loved it so much I thought I would take the knowledge I had and add to it with the class. Community involvement has increased as the years went on. I really love that part of the group — being involved with the community and interacting with the other Master Gardeners.”
Bates said she has several areas of interest, including how to combat weeds and pests in the garden. She also said there are lots of people in the community who could benefit from the class and contribute their knowledge to the group.
The Master Gardener group has given Bates “a great deal of satisfaction” and she loves being able to learn from others and share her knowledge about gardening.
“With food prices at a premium, lots of people could save money by growing their own food.”
20-year Master Gardener Robert Holder
Robert Holder is a Master Gardener from Mount Airy who has been part of the group for 20 years. He grew up gardening, but he said the class “added a lot of knowledge” he did not have before. He enjoys doing research on gardening and said that because the world is constantly changing, he enjoys being a part of the group in order to keep up on up-to-date research and gardening practices.
Holder said that he once planted 15 varieties of green beans, just to see which variety would grow best in his garden.
Holder and his wife have several gardens on his property, as well as chickens, a small orchard and blackberries. He said that they always can and freeze as much food as they can and said the main profit in doing so is the benefit to their health.
Holder would like to encourage those who want to learn more about gardening and growing their own fruits and vegetables to enroll in the Master Gardener class.
“Anyone who takes the Master Gardener class is going to profit from it. If you are concerned about food today, you should become a Master Gardener. If you read the labels on food products, you will see that many are loaded with chemicals and additives that may not necessarily be good for our health. If we raise our own food then we know what it has in it. I encourage everyone to get involved and raise a garden — it does not have to be large, you can have a small one, too.”
Master Gardener Class Enrollment
The Master Gardener class, which will be offered beginning March 5 from 1 to 4:30 p.m., will be held every Tuesday for 13 weeks. The class fee is $100 and the class provides participants with 40 hours of in-depth training.
Anyone who is interested in enrolling in the class needs to complete an application, which is available at http://surry.ces.ncsu.edu, by calling the Extension Center at 401-8025, or by emailing Extension Agent Joanna Radford at email@example.com.
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.