Learn to grow with Colorado Master Gardener Program


Gardening is a popular hobby and leisure activity that provides outdoor physical activity, contact with nature and sharing with others. For many gardeners, digging in the soil, pulling weeds and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables is comforting to the soul and makes the taste buds happy. Nurturing the plants can help you unwind and turn a stressful day into one that can be quite rewarding. Spending quality time in the garden allows the gardener a chance to slow down, be creative and enjoy simple pleasures.

If you have a love of gardening and would enjoy sharing your passion with others, perhaps you should begin thinking about becoming a Colorado Master Gardener. Those that have transplanted to the San Juan Mountains from the Front Range or other states might find gardening at 7,000 feet a challenge. It tests our gardening skills and sometimes tests our patience. Do not despair — the Master Gardener Program will help you gain the knowledge, skills and ideas necessary to turn your yard into a fantastic home garden.

To become a Master Gardener, your only prerequisite is to have a passion for gardening. The term “Master Gardener” does not mean that you have expertise in all subject matters related to gardening. The hands-on expertise comes from the 50-plus hour apprenticeship. The apprentice program furthers your knowledge with ongoing continuing education opportunities, information provided by Colorado State University (CSU) Extension and from the knowledge shared by other Master Gardeners. If you are interested in learning without the volunteer commitment, you can complete the program with a Colorado Gardener Certificate.

The Colorado Master Gardener program is specifically designed to use the services of trained volunteers who have horticultural knowledge gained through the program, and a willingness to share that knowledge with other county residents.

Many newcomers and inexperienced gardeners in Colorado are in great need of gardening advice. The Master Gardener training will give you the skills needed to diagnose and solve gardening problems and give you the confidence to share your expertise with others.

Master Gardeners provide the following types of services to Archuleta County:

• Answer gardening questions that come into the Extension office.

• Design programs related to gardening.

• Participate at the Archuleta County Fair and plant clinics.

• Demonstrate new gardening techniques.

• Help educate children about gardening.

• Participate in many other exciting community gardening projects.

There are plenty of opportunities to develop public speaking skills, interact with the public and develop areas of expertise. All of these activities are very rewarding and the feeling of accomplishment Master Gardener volunteers receive through the service they are providing is very gratifying.

The Master Gardener program and training is conducted by CSU Extension via distance technology and face-to-face. The Master Gardener training courses are taught by CSU Extension professionals and local experts. The program covers the challenges specific to gardening in southwestern Colorado. A sample of topics covered includes:

• Soils, fertilizers and soil amendments.

• How plants grow.

• Mountain gardening.

• Vegetables.

• The science of planting trees.

• Lawn care.

• Weed management.

Classes typically meet once a week on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 11 consecutive weeks. Cost of the Master Gardener apprentice training is $170 and the Colorado Gardener Certificate is $530. Partial scholarships are available for the Apprentice Program.

If you would like to learn more about successful gardening in the Archuleta, be sure to call the CSU Extension office in Archuleta County today at 264-5931. To register for the 2020 Colorado Master Gardener Program, which tentatively begins Jan. 23, please go to www.cmg.extension.colostate.edu. Hard copies are accepted at the local office, too. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15.

The Master Gardener program is innovative and flexible in its outreach and works to match volunteer skills and schedules. Each year, Colorado Master Gardeners all over the state help people make the right choices for their garden care. Anyone who would like to play an active role in the education of gardeners of all ages is invited to join our Colorado Master Gardener team. Apply today.

Shred Day

On Oct. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m., you can bring a maximum of three boxes to the old Hometown Market parking lot and support your local 4-H program. The cost is $5 per box. Protect your identity.

4-H open house

There will be a 4-H open house at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the fairgrounds. Come see what 4-H is all about. Call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information.

Healthy Lands Workshop

There has been a date change for the Healthy Lands Workshop to Nov. 12. It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Extension office. Please call the San Juan Conservation District office at 731-3615 to register. There will be a free lunch.