Gardeners dig program

Spring is just around the corner and the Oregon State University Extension Service in Wasco County has lined up a variety of classes to help gardeners beautify their yards and grow healthy vegetables.

Among other things, people who participate in the Master’s Gardener program can learn how to attract “winged wonders,” pick the best plants and produce a good crop in a small space.

Visits have been arranged to some of the most interesting gardens in The Dalles where participants in the program will show what they are planning for the 2015 growing season.

In addition, there will be seven weeks of classroom instruction on garden soils, insects and diagnosis of plant problems.

Training begins Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1805 Minnesota Street in The Dalles. Classes continue during the same hours every Wednesday through March 25.

In order to be considered for the program, the local extension office must receive a completed application form by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28. Cost is $90 for tuition and another $15 for membership in the Wasco County Master Gardener’s Association.

Checks should be made payable to OSU Extension Service and can be mailed to: OSU Extension Service, Attn: Master Gardener Program, 400 East Scenic Dr., Suite 2.278, The Dalles, OR 97058.

Late applications will not be accepted for consideration due to a limitation on classroom space. The number of returning master gardener’s will directly affect the number of new trainees that can be taken onboard.

For this reason, Lynn Long, OSU extension horticulturist asks that people fill out applications carefully and completely, showing their interests, ability and availability to complete the program.

“Our main requirement is a love and enthusiasm for gardening and a desire to share that love with others,” stated Long in a recent publication about the program.

Once classes are completed, the training for new master gardeners continues when they are called upon to teach fourth graders around the county about seeds and soils.

Other projects that master gardeners will undertake this year include “The Dalles Imagination Garden,” a youth garden that provides educational opportunities, the spring fair and a plant clinic.

In return for their extensive training, master gardeners are required to contribute 42 hours of time over an eight month period to help others maintain healthy yards and gardens.

Long said most programs are group efforts and time can be volunteered in any number of fun and interesting activities.For more information about the master gardener program, or to obtain an application, call the local OSU office at 541-296-5494 or visit http://extension. oregonstate.edu/wasco/.

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