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Get free gardening and plant advice directly from a Master Gardener

Updated on March 10, 2013

County Agriculture Extension Offices are just not for farmers and commercial growers.

Many county offices are staffed with volunteer Master Gardeners with free how to information specific to growing plants, trees and shrubs in your area.

Depending on the size of your community office hours may be limited to certain days of the week or month.

You will find many misconceptions about how county extension offices operate. Many assume they just provide support for the farming and agriculture businesses.

You will also find various misconceptions about Master Gardener programs as well.

While I’m sure high society garden clubs as portrayed on TV shows do exists, the Master Gardeners that we know are actually really down to earth friendly people who love to dig in the garden and help anyone grow just about any kind of plant that you can imagine.

In fact my mother-in-law joined her local county extension office as a volunteer and earned her Master Gardener Certification soon after her husband passed.

In return for her training she now volunteers in the extension program. Not only has she learned a new rewarding purpose, she has meet so many new like minded friends to socialize with. So I guess you could say it’s a social club, but more dressed down.

These county extension offices are also affiliated with a state university that opens the door to more in depth information and assistance.

County residents can take unidentified, weeds, bugs, and other diseased plants into the extension office for identification and information on how to best deal with the problem.

Many bugs are actually beneficial to growing plants and a Master Gardener can help you identify the good one from the bad ones.

If you’re new to gardening take the layout of the land you have available for a garden in and sit down with a Master Gardener to learn the best location, types of vegetables, when to plant and when to rotate crops for the next season.

Master Gardeners can also help you understand the practice of composting and mulching for the best weed control, one of the things that will quickly discourage a new gardener.

If you’re tired of wandering the rows of plants at the mega home stores not knowing what will work best for your needs, the Master Gardener program will help you select plants that do best in your zone and which ones that will do the best for full sun and shade.

Try asking that to the mega store employee, if you can find one that knows anything about plants.

Master Gardener programs also offer plant sales, and workshops throughout the year for the general public throughout the year.

Shoppers can find plants and key information about the benefits, planting and care needs directly from a Master Gardener. Plants are also priced very reasonable.

These events are often published in the garden section of Saturday or Sunday newspapers, or can be found on line. Most offer e-mail notification of upcoming events.

Many extension offices and universities located in larger cities will offer manicured gardens and grounds with plantings and identification plaques for the general public to walk and note the types of plants they might enjoy in their own gardens.

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