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What’s Growing On: What it takes to become a master gardener

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - 58 out of the 67 counties in Florida have their own master gardener extension office, chock full of resources and information on plants, gardening, and more.

The master gardener classes offered to become a master gardener include a variety of topics pertaining to the climate and growing conditions in North Central Florida

Wendy Wilber, the statewide master gardener coordinator, said it’s not a walk in the park and includes a variety of topics.

“They’re gonna learn about soil types, fertilizer, perennials, native plants, vegetable and fruit gardening, as well as diagnose and troubleshoot problems,” Wilber explained.

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More than 70 hours of volunteer work, interviews, applications, and taking classes are required to become a master gardener. If you don’t want to go the lengths of becoming one, the volunteers at the extension offices are there to help in person or over the phone with anything garden-related.

“Master gardener volunteers are there to help provide information about horticulture and to provide solutions for your gardening problems,” Wilber said.

Master gardener coordinator Barbara Edmonds said the biggest misconception with new gardeners in Florida is finding a good time to start planting seeds.

“Coming in from the north or the midwest, they typically think they’re going to plant after March 20th, or the end of March. Whereas what’s true here is that we actually start thinking about some of those seasonal plants in January and February,” stated Edmonds.

Events and other classes are being hosted both online and in-person at most of the extension offices around the state.

To find more information on upcoming classes, events, and more, their website can be found here.

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