Home & Garden

How to get involved in the UC Master Gardener Program

Special to The Tribune

Master Gardener Cory Kelso educates people about curbside plantings.
Master Gardener Cory Kelso educates people about curbside plantings. Master Gardener Program of SLO County

Do you love learning about gardening and sharing that information with others? Then the UC Master Gardener Program may be for you!

The UC Master Gardeners is a volunteer educational program that provides UC research-based information about home gardening and pest management to home gardeners.

Certified Master Gardeners complete a comprehensive training program under the supervision of the Cooperative Extension Horticultural Advisor. In return, members volunteer their time through a wide variety of activities.

For instance, they answer gardening questions in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Templeton via the Helpline. They write a weekly blog and newspaper columns for The Tribune and the Paso Robles Press. They maintain the Garden of the Seven Sisters demonstration garden that features more than 10 different educational plots and is available for private tours. They teach monthly Advice to Grow By classes in the demonstration garden and manage informational booths at Farmers Markets.

Last year 6,048 active UC Master Gardener volunteers in California donated 385,260 hours. More than 4.2 million hours have been donated since the program’s inception in 1981.

The Master Gardeners will be holding an orientation meeting from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in the UCCE Auditorium at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Attendees will learn more about the program, the application and certification process, and will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of current members. Applications for membership will be available at the orientation meeting and they will also be available online beginning Oct. 1. The application deadline is Nov. 13.

The 2016 training class will meet on Thursdays beginning on Feb. 18 and continue through June 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. Classes are taught by UC Cooperative Extension Advisors and Cal Poly professors. Topics of study will include botany, weed science, entomology, irrigation design, water management and much more.

For more information, contact the San Luis Obispo Helpline at (805) 781-5939 or visit the website at www.ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo.

Linda Lewis Griffith is a UC Master Gardener.

Got a gardening question?

In San Luis Obispo call 781-5939, Arroyo Grande, 473-7190 and Templeton, 434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email us at anrmgslo@ucanr.edu. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 781-5939.