27 August 2014

Master Gardener Classes - Muskogee County

Master Gardener Certification Classes Cost $100
Start Sept 25 at 1, Muskogee County Extension Office, Muskogee Fairgrounds
Information: Mandy Blocker, Extension Educator ag/4-H, 918-686-7200, mandy.blocker@okstate.edu
Facebook: Muskogee County Master Gardeners

If you like to work with garden plants and help people, becoming a master gardener might be just
the thing for you. Master gardeners are trained volunteers who help the public with their gardening
questions, work on community gardening projects, assist with hosting public classes and volunteer in
the Muskogee County Extension Office.

From the first class in September to the last class in December, participants receive in-depth training
in gardening from Oklahoma State University Extension specialists.

All classes will meet from 1 to 5 on Thursdays. The schedule of classes includes
September - 25 Basic Botany taught by Mandy Blocker
October 2 – Woody Ornamentals taught by Dr. Mike Schnelle
October 9 – Plant Diseases taught by Jen Olson
October 16 – Soil Fertility taught by Regents Professor Dr. Hailin Zhang
October 23 – Pesticide Safety taught by Charles Luper
October 30 – Herbaceous Ornamental Plants taught by David Hillock
November 13 – Vegetable Gardening taught by Ray Ridlen
November 20 – Fruit and Nut Production taught by Becky Carroll
December 4 – Entomology (Insects) taught by Dr. Eric Rebek
December 11 – Turfgrass – lawns, meadows and fields

So far, Mandy Blocker has facilitated two master gardener series in Muskogee with 19
graduates out of 33 participants. The upcoming series could add another 25 to the collective
wisdom available to serve as a resource for beautifying our community and teaching citizens to
grow their own food while getting valuable family time.

Participants learn the basics: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, perennial and annual flowers, trees and
shrubs. In addition they learn which are the good bugs and which are the bad bugs, how to
control plant diseases with minimal chemicals, building soil and efficient irrigation methods.

When the training classes end, the fun begins for graduates. The volunteer hours you put in
after course completion are required to earn the title of master gardener. The hours can be
anything from sitting at the master gardener table at the Farmer’s Market, to maintaining beds
at Honor Heights Park, helping at the Extension Office, volunteering at one of the community
Mandy Blocker
gardens, attending continuing education classes and helping at workshops.

The first year required volunteer workload is 50 hours. In subsequent years, in order to keep
the certificate up to date, master gardeners put in 20 hours of volunteer work and participate
in 20-hours of continuing education through meetings and conferences.

Mandy Blocker said, “We have almost 30-recent and experienced master gardeners in
Muskogee now who contribute to a wide variety of projects around town.”

One of the many benefits of becoming a certified master gardener is being able to participate
in master gardener conferences in OK and other states. For example, the TX master gardener
conference requires a copy of your certificate for registration.

One of the proposed upcoming projects for master gardeners is introducing children to gardening
through extension, school, and Parks Department Programs.

“I am excited for the expansion into our school system of a fun, multiple-intelligence (http://hort.li/
1wpC ) activity that can be blended with physical exercise, science, math and other topics,” said
Blocker.

Upcoming events for master gardeners include continuing to maintain the flower beds at Papilion at
Honor Heights Park, community gardens, Muskogee Farmer’s Market, and monthly meetings and seed-
plant swaps with other master gardeners.

Next year on March 28 during Daffodil Day at the Thomas Foreman Home the master gardeners are
selling the plants they grew over the winter in order to raise money for a bus tour to a local garden
such as the Tulsa Garden Center.

Blocker said that she is ready to talk to anyone who thinks they might be interested in taking the classes that begin in Sept. Please call Blocker at 918-686-7200 or send an email to mandy.blocker@okstate.edu.

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