Submitted by: Brandy Brabham, WVU-Extension Agent, Roane Co., 304-927-0975

Had a tough gardening season last year? Enjoy learning more about gardening and working with others? Interested in sharing your gardening knowledge with others? If you answered "yes" to the preceding questions, the Extension Master Gardener course conducted by the West Virginia University Extension Service might be just the program for you. It provides gardeners with the opportunity to improve their horticultural knowledge and skills and then share their experience with the public through organized volunteer activities. Applications for the Extension Master Gardener course are being accepted now through Friday, January 24, 2020. There must be at least 10 approved applicants to offer the course. A course fee of $70 is required to cover the cost of the horticultural manual each participant receives. The local Extension Master Gardener Association is offering scholarships to participants interested in taking the course.

Classes will begin on Wednesdays, beginning January 29 and go through April 29, meeting every Wednesday from 6-9 PM or on at the Roane County Library. Topics to be covered include: Insect, Weed & Disease Identification, Plant Propagation, Pest Control, Soils & Soil Health, Vegetable Gardening, Season Extension (high & low tunnels), Tree Fruits & Small Fruits, Landscaping & Yard Management, Composting, Pruning and Flowering Plants & Shrub.

Applications are available at the WVU-Roane County Extension Office. For an application or more information about the course or the scholarships, contact the WVU-Roane County Extension Office at 304-927-0975 or e-mail   brandy.brabham@mail.wvu.edu

Extension Master Gardeners are volunteers for West Virginia University. To become an Extension Master Gardener, you must complete 40 hours of horticultural training and in return, volunteer 40 hours of time. The basic pre-requisites for becoming an Extension Master Gardener include an approved application, reference check, familiarity with gardening and a commitment to return thirty hours of volunteer service.

Extension Master Gardeners provide gardening information to others. Once you have completed the course, an Agricultural Extension Agent will help provide direction for your volunteer work. Examples of volunteer activities include the following:

* Teaching garden classes
* Working with groups, such as 4-H, horticulture therapy groups and community gardeners
* Staffing garden clinics and displays
* Using your special talents, such as writing and photography to benefit others
* Answering phone inquiries on horticultural topics
* Providing talents in gardening educational activities
* Giving school-age or group presentations