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Space still open in Master Gardener course

Spring seemingly has come early to Alabama and folks are already getting anxious to get their hands in the dirt.

However, Old Man Winter is certain to stay around for a while, so until he makes his final farewell of 2009, what better way to spend one’s time than “boning” up on lawn and garden care, said Tammy Powell, Pike County extension coordinator.

“This is the perfect time to enroll in a Master Gardener course and one is being offered through the Pike County Extension Office and Auburn University beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

The 10-week class will meet from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Pike County Extension Office in Troy. The class will run over a 12-week period.

The fee for the course will be $100 and will include all materials and refreshments.

David Koon, regional Extension agent home grounds and home horticulture, will conduct the classes, which will also feature authorities in different areas of home horticulture.

Koon said the original intent of the Master Gardener program was to train volunteers to be knowledgeable about home horticulture to the extent of being able to answer questions from the community.

“The program actual began with an Extension agent in Chicago who trained volunteers to help him answer questions from the public during spring planting,” Koon said. “In exchange for their training, they gave time back to help with Extension efforts.”

Today’s Master Gardener course consists of 50 hours of in depth training in soils, entomology, plant physiology, plant propagation, vegetables, fruits, turf, pathology and landscape design.

“Some people want to learn to grow bedding plants,” Koon said. “Some what to grow good vegetables and lots of them. Others are interested in lawn and turf care. The Master Gardener program offers people the opportunity to be well rounded in everything from planning a landscape to growing fruits.”

Koon said those who complete the Master Gardner course are “schooled” so that they can answer basic questions about those areas of home horticulture.

For more information about the Master Gardener program or to register for the upcoming course, call the Pike County Extension office at 566-0985 or visit the Extension office on South Three Notch Street in Troy.