Eye on Extension: Colorado Master Gardener training offered in 2018

VALLEY — Whether you are a person doing your own back yard gardening or someone who does it for a living, the Colorado Master Gardener program may be for you. The Colorado Master Gardener program is a program where gardeners and volunteers first learn about gardening from experts in different disciplines.  Volunteers will then share the information with others in their community. The Master Gardener program will be offered in the San Luis Valley in 2018.

The Colorado Master Gardener program will start on January 25, 2018 and run through April 5, 2018. It will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday during these dates. There are two program tracts a person can chose from. 

First, the volunteer tract has appeal to some people. If a person has time to volunteer to teach horticulture to others they can take the class for a reduced fee.  By signing a contract to be a volunteer the fee is reduced to $170. With the reduced fee the volunteer agrees to provide 50 hours of volunteer time back to Colorado State University and the San Luis Valley through the local Extension office. 

There may be scholarships to reduce the fee even more for those who are interested in the volunteer tract but are low income. There are some criteria to meet for a scholarship so a person will have to provide the necessary information to qualify.  The enrollment application will have a check box for those requesting an application.

The second tract is the non-volunteer tract. It is called the Colorado Gardener Certificate. Those who choose this program will not provide the volunteer hours to Colorado State University and the San Luis Valley. Those following the Colorado Gardener Certificate tract are also not a Colorado Master Gardener. They are not eligible to call themselves a “Master Gardener.” This tract pays the full fee of $530. Scholarships may not be available.

Registration for the Colorado Master Gardener or the Colorado Gardener Certificate program will have to be turned in by October 16. As is required of all Colorado State University volunteers a background check for each volunteer will need to be completed. Also reference checks may be done and a local interview may be required. 

Registrations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. The class will be limited based on the space available. The actual location will be determined once we have an idea of how many people are interested in the class.

This gardening information includes vegetable gardening, tree care, diagnosing problems, weed control, plant pathology, soils and some time spent on mountain gardening. Over the course of the 10 Thursdays the classes are taught participants will hear from some of the most knowledgeable in their topic area from Colorado.   There will be information shared that will renew interest for even those who work in the horticulture industry.

For more information on the Colorado Master Gardener or Colorado Gardener Certificate program contact the San Luis Valley Extension Office at 719-852-7381 or email Marvin Reynolds at [email protected].    

Extension programs are available to all without discrimination, Colorado State University Extension, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating.