Master Gardeners plan classes

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Suffolk Master Gardener Association plans a new fall crop this year — volunteers.

Sign-ups are going on now for training classes that last from September through November.

“I would hope by mid-August we would have our class together,” said Wanda Gerard.

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The classes will teach volunteers about basic botany, vegetables, flowers, trees, pruning, water quality, soil quality, pest control and organic gardening.

But Gerard said the best lessons Master Gardeners learn happen after the classes are through.

“The best lessons you learn are beyond the class,” she said. “It’s what you learn from Master Gardeners as you serve volunteer hours.”

Master Gardeners are required to give 50 volunteer hours during their first year, with an additional 20 volunteer hours each year thereafter. They also have to have eight hours of continuing education each additional year.

Volunteers conduct a fundraiser plant sale, work at the farmers’ markets, and tend gardens in three public parks in Suffolk.

Sleepy Hole Park hosts a children’s learning garden, which Gerard said is especially important.

“It’s important for children to learn where their food comes from and to learn the right way to care for the environment,” she said.

Bennett’s Creek and Lone Star Lakes parks have gardens that beautify the parks and attract pollinators.

“If you have an interest in gardening, it’s a niche where you can slide into,” Gerard said. “Being a Master Gardener is awesome. It’s a way to learn about gardening but also to share that love with others.”

“I love it, I really do,” she added. “You learn something new almost every day.”

The classes will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays from Sept. 13 to Nov. 15 at the extension office on Market Street.

Send an email to for more information.