Master Gardener program offers 2023 learning opportunity
Published 6:27 pm Friday, January 27, 2023
By Mark C. Carroll
This is the perfect time of year to think ahead and consider investing in ourselves and our community. Our time on the planet is increasingly limited, so why not make a change or try something new before goals turn to regret.
While not all goals can be achieved in the garden, if some of yours do, the Western Tidewater Master Gardeners can provide opportunities and resources to help. Master Gardeners are not the only source of information or the only place to learn and grow, but it’s a great place to start. In this article, I hope to get you underway on course for your next gardening educational journey.
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For information about the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program, start here, https://ext.vt.edu/lawn-garden/master-gardener.html. Almost every region, county or independent city in Virginia has a Master Gardener program, so if you are not local, you can seek out a group in your area. In addition to Master Gardener classes, the VCE publications and resources site at https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/ is a great place to locate information for self-study. The VCE facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaCooperativeExtension/ posts researched content, Webex classes or other events, and information for both commercial growers and home gardeners.
Finally, many larger Master Gardener groups like the Virginia Beach Master Gardeners vbmg.org and the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia mgnv.org have extensive resources on their websites and host recorded events on platforms like YouTube.
We are also privileged to have an Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Hampton Roads off Diamond Springs Road in Virginia Beach, their website (https://www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/arec/hampton-roads.html) has some great information but I encourage you to visit during one of their events for an opportunity to talk with the horticulturists and researchers.
These are just some local educational resources and opportunities, most states have a Master Gardener Program which may offer other courses relevant to your specific learning goals. There are also groups like the Virginia Camelia Society and a couple of my personal favorites — the Soil Food Web school founded by Dr. Elaine Ingham and Permies.com.
We are just scratching the surface of what is available, we haven’t even discussed actually taking a college course related to plant biology or horticulture. There is so much to learn and an unprecedented opportunity to access information and education, why not plan now for a productive new year? This is a lot of information and I typically try to avoid putting so many links and references in a short article. So, if necessary, save this page or article for reference later. We would love to see you in an upcoming class where we as a community of gardeners learn and garden together.
Mark C. Carroll is an agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service office located in Isle of Wight County.