Are you enthusiastic about gardening and landscaping in the desert? Were you adequately knowledgeable about gardening elsewhere, but now feel lost understanding such things as: multiple growing seasons; built-in watering systems; which plants can grow in these lean rocky soils; what is the real meaning of full sun; and how do I identify the many look-alike plants?
Perhaps it is time to answer these questions by considering a local learning opportunity to become a Pima County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer. This fee-based course is taught by University of Arizona professors and expert Master Gardeners here in Green Valley. Classes will be held each Tuesday from Jan. 21 through March 24, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m, with an hour for lunch.
Those enrolled in this program will receive training in botany, soils, water use, plant propagation, insects, weeds, integrated pest management, desert plant identification, vegetables, fruit trees, roses, container gardening, landscape plant care, and disease diagnosis techniques. First you learn; then you share your new-found expertise with others who want to know.
Upon completion of the 50-hour course and internship period, Master Gardeners contribute time to provide research-based educational leadership in home gardening and landscaping. Experience is truly the best teacher, and you gain even more learning by taking horticultural questions over the Extension Office phone, through the website, in the plant clinic, at gardening seminars, and home consultations.
Besides the opportunities to increase your gardening knowledge and skills, available are monthly education programs, Master Gardener newsletter, and access to many professionals in gardening, landscaping, irrigation, pest control, and plant disease research.
Upon completion of a one-year internship period, Master Gardeners receive a certificate of completion and name badge designating them as a University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener.
Many new residents from other climates are seeking desert gardening advice. As a Master Gardener, you can help others solve their plant problems as well as promote environmentally responsible solutions by selection of appropriate plants, good water management, and least-toxic pest control. This informative training course can give you the skills and confidence to share your expertise with others.
2020 Master Gardener Applications are now available at the local Extension Office, 530 E. Whitehouse Canyon Road, Green Valley. The deadline for receipt of winter class applications is Dec. 20, 2019. For more information, call 520-648-0808.
Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area. Her articles are featured weekly.