Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mastah... mastahhhhhhh.....

Today was the second day of master gardener class.

The Master Gardener program trains volunteers in horticulture, who then take those skills and assist in educational programs throughout the state. Run through the land-grant institutions, it works through extension to train people in every county of most states (at least, this is my understanding). Educational programs may include working with community gardens, with organizations such as botanical gardens or zoos, conducting plant informational sessions, working the plant hotline.. etc. etc.

In my case, classes run all day, once a week for nine weeks.

I've been eyeing this program for about 5 years when a former coworker joined the ranks of Master Gardener upon retirement. But I have a casual agreement with myself that I will not pursue more than one serious educational endevour at a time, and the whole doctorate thing won out.

But since I'm between gigs right now, this is a perfect time to get into this - I have the time to offer the 50 hours volunteer time required for your first year as a Master Gardener (after the first year it goes down to 10 or 20).

Today's topic - vegetables in the morning and soil in the afternoon. The veggie topic wasn't anything particularly new for me (Mr H: "What did you expect? You throw yourself into everything"), and I was slightly surprised that more people had not really explored the joys of growing veggies. I collect heirloom tomato varieties, although my collection has suffered due to the limited gardening of last year's move. I'm hoping maybe to get some people talking about their veggies in future meetings.

The soil topic was interesting but my chemistry was never good enough to hold my attention for the conversation on adhesion and cohesion and how it explained that water moves quickly through sand and slowly through clay. The speaker was engaging, but my eyes kept being drawn to the large quantities of snow that kept falling. I still can't believe what a difference 120 miles north makes in climate.

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