Have you ever had a problem in your garden or landscape that you couldn’t solve? Do you like gardening and want to learn more about it? Are looking to participate in a University of Florida training program and would like to share your knowledge with others? Do you want to meet new people with similar interests? If you answered yes to these questions, then the Osceola County Master Gardener volunteer program may be for you.
The rapid urban growth in many areas of the Osceola County coupled with increased interest in the environment and home gardening have prompted ever-increasing numbers of homeowner questions to County Extension Service agents. And that is where the Master Gardener volunteers come in. They assist county residents with gardening questions and other educational efforts.
The program was established in Osceola County Master Gardener in 1981. Since then over 300 Osceola County Master Gardeners have been certified providing many hours of service to local residents. A few of the Master Gardeners from the original class are still active, providing the county with 37 years of volunteer work. Master Gardener volunteers have been involved in a variety of activities helping youth and adults learn about horticulture in our county. They also put a lot of work into creating our two demonstration gardens, landscape and edible gardens, located in the Osceola Heritage Park complex. These gardens show county residents actual gardening techniques that can be used at home. In addition, Master Gardeners can be found at the Osceola County Extension Office to help answer plant care questions county residents every weekday.
Gardening in Central Florida is like nowhere else, it can be a very frustrating task for even the veteran gardener who learned gardening from somewhere else. Understanding our growing seasons and knowing what plants grow here can be very difficult. The Osceola County Master Gardener program is designed to help with these tribulations and train individuals interested in gardening the proper horticultural practices for Florida. Extension agents and specialists from UF/IFAS provide the training for the Master Gardener volunteers. Master Gardeners receive over 80 hours of training during a 4-month period. Classes are held on a variety of gardening topics, including citrus, pest management, and lawn care. Through field trips, demonstrations, and activities, class participants learn about soils, insects, plant diseases, weeds, efficient irrigation, attracting wildlife, natural ecosystems and native plants.
After the training program, completing a comprehensive exam, and a number of “in-training” hours the volunteers are certified as Master Gardeners for one year. They have to agree to provide at least 75 hours of service each year to the county by helping local citizens reduce their impact on the environment while having attractive and functional landscapes. The Osceola County Master Gardeners serve as volunteers for the University of Florida/IFAS Osceola County Extension Service. Many volunteers have renewed their contracts and continue to be active beyond their original commitment. Classes for the new crop of Master Gardeners will begin in Fall 2018.
If you will like to receive more information about the program register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/interested-in-becoming-a-master-gardener-volunteer-registration-37654622991
We are going to have an information section later in the spring.