Master Gardener Program again to be offered
January 7, 2014
Beginning to intermediate gardeners will have the opportunity to learn more about home and yard gardening in preparation for spring with Utah State University Extension’s Summit/Wasatch Master Gardener Program, which has been going for almost 10 years.
The program, which will run Feb. 6 to Apr. 24, is an educational course which offers 40 hours of class time and 40 optional hours of volunteer time. Classes are split between Heber City and Park City, with topics being taught by various experts from both inside and outside USU. USU Summit County Extension Director Sterling Banks will head up the program.
"When people start the first week, they’re a little intimidated," Banks said. "It’s a 10-session course. the end of the course, I can see confidence in a lot of the people."
Class topics include irrigation management, insect pests, home canning and preserving, tree selection and care and greenhouse basics, among others. Banks said participants in the course have had various levels of skill with gardening, but added the most important part of the course is the volunteer work.
"This program is designed to go out into the community to do horticultural volunteer work to benefit the community," Banks said. "We get about 50 percent [of volunteers] to go out and teach classes and organize community-wide gardening projects."
Examples of past volunteer work done through the program include organizing community garden planting days through homeowners associations, helping with the Park City Community Garden and writing newsletters.
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The program’s location in Heber City will be at the Wasatch County Services Building, while the Park City location will be at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. The cost to enroll is $125 per person or $150 for a couple. Scholarships are available through Swaner’s website.
Banks said the amount of knowledge and resources participants in the class receive far outweighs the cost to enroll. He said the class also helps him as well, as it develops skilled gardeners who he can refer people to. Fostering human connections is another benefit, he said.
"Many [participants] become friends with their classmates. The enjoyable part of this class is there’s a social aspect along with the knowledge gained," Banks said.
Topics taught through the program also focus specifically on high-altitude gardening, Banks said.
"When people move to Summit County from the Wasatch Front or even out of state, they have no clue what to expect in gardening. Then they realize we have a short growing season," Banks said.
Banks added he needs a minimum of 10 people to enroll in the class to ensure that it can operate. Those who complete the class also receive a three-binder manual of gardening information as well as fact sheets based on what the presenters speak about.
Registration for the 2014 Summit/Wasatch Master Gardener Program closes Jan. 24. For a complete schedule and to access an application, visit the USU Summit County website at extension.usu.edu/summit. For more information, contact Sterling Banks at 435-615-3217.