Take the Guesswork out of Gardening, Enroll in the Master Gardeners’ Class
by Patty Cressman
Grayson County Master Gardener
Have you ever wondered why the seed you planted did not germinate, or why the plant you spent too much money on never thrived, or why your vegetables never measure up in size to the produce at the grocery store? Here is your opportunity to dive in deep and learn about horticultural topics and become a Grayson County Master Gardener.
A master gardener is someone who has an interest in growing plants. Members come from many different backgrounds: education, social work, computer science, accounting, engineering, health care, real estate, law enforcement, to name a few. All share a common interest in plants. It’s a great organization that grows new friendships through volunteer work at gardens throughout Grayson County. The Grayson County Master Gardener Association is an educational and volunteer program affiliated with the Texas Master Gardener Association and the Texas Cooperative Extension within Texas A&M University. The Grayson County Master Gardeners 2022 Intern Class begins Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Classes will meet on Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for eight weeks. The application packet is available at their website: https://txmg.org/grayson/. Tuition is $225 and covers the eight weeks of instruction, the Texas Master Gardener Handbook, a soil test, and the annual membership dues. The topics covered are Soil and Composting; Plant Propagation; Viticulture, Fruit Trees, Berries; Vegetables and Herbs; Landscape Design; Plant Diseases; Integrated Pest Management; Lawn Care and Weeds, Water Harvesting and Conservation;
and Ornamental and Native Plants. The following is a brief synopsis of the classes. The Soil and Composting class teach that soil is the primary source of water and nutrients for plants. Texas has 1,411 types of soils, ranging from sugar sands to heavy clays. The soil test conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Soil, Water and Forage Testing Laboratory will provide information on soil pH, salt content, and available nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and sulfur.
As an intern in the Master Gardener program, you will provide a sample of your soil and receive the results. Plant propagation is the process by which new plants grow from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, and other plant parts. It is amazing how many plants can be propagated from cuttings. I attended the 2018 Master Gardener class and obtained a cutting from a Weeping Willow tree. The cutting has grown into a tall tree that stands over nine feet tall. Viticulture is the cultivation and harvesting of grapes. Successful fruit requires that you understand planting methods, site, soil, and variety selection; and pruning, training and related practices. Successful herb and vegetable gardens require planning, preparing the soil, selecting gardening equipment, choosing, and handling seeds and transplants appropriately, irrigating, fertilizing, and controlling weeds.
Designing landscapes is an art. Landscape design is the organization and enrichment of outdoor space through the placement of plants and structures in an agreeable and useful relationship with the natural environment. Preventing and controlling plant diseases is key to growing healthy plants. This class will teach on how to prevent, recognize, and treat plant diseases. Integrated pest management (IPM) is a cost-effective strategy to avoid, prevent, and manage pest damage with minimum harm to human health, the environment, and nontarget organisms. Lawn care and weeds, teaches the types of lawn grass, how to establish a lawn, mowing, irrigation, how to control weeds. Insects and diseases will be covered. Water harvesting techniques teach on ways to gather water from an area termed the ‘catchment area’ and channel it to the cropping area or wherever it is required. Conservation techniques conserve water within the biomass and the soil by reducing run-off and keeping the water where it falls, as much as possible. Ornamental and Native Plants teach on the over 5,000 native plants in Texas. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits to growing native plants. The classes are only the beginning of the learning process. Through volunteer work at various gardens throughout the county, the knowledge of horticulture grows. Joining the Texas Master Gardeners provides an opportunity to gain horticulture knowledge, to apply the knowledge, and gain lifetime friends who grow to become part of your extended family.
Grayson County Master Gardeners Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsored by the Texas A&M
AgriLife Extension Service. Reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone 903-813-4204, our
web page https://txmg.org/grayson/, or our Facebook group.