Vermillion will be site of Master Gardener classes

Vermillion will be site of Master Gardener classes New Master Gardener classes will be offered at three South Dakota locations from May to August, according to David Graper, Extension horticulture specialist at South Dakota State University.

The training locations are Kadoka, Huron and Vermillion.

Participants of the program will receive over 60 hours of instruction, covering topics in lawn care, selection and care of ornamental trees and shrubs, safe use of pesticides, soils and plant nutrition, vegetable, fruit and flower gardening, plant propagation, herbaceous plants and insect, disease and weed control.

Master Gardener training in South Dakota includes classroom instruction along with outdoor learning experiences. Throughout the program, trainees are encouraged to bring in plant, insect and disease samples to share with the class.

Participants are also encouraged to relate their own gardening experiences, because many of the people involved in the Master Gardener training program are already avid gardeners.

In exchange for the training, participants are required to return 50 hours of volunteer time to their county Extension program over the next two years. Graper said how you choose to volunteer depends upon you.

"In the past some have answered telephone requests for information related to gardening, some host plant clinics or build displays," Graper said. "We've had some Master Gardeners speak to local groups, assist with the 4-H program or work on city beautification projects."

Master Gardeners have helped establish and maintain community garden plots, write local gardening news articles, or help with horticulture exhibits at local achievement days and the State Fair.

All classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with morning lunch and afternoon breaks. The Vermillion schedule is: May 21, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 2, 9, and Aug. 6, 13, 20. Regular training, which includes 50 hours of training and the South Dakota Master Gardener resource manual, costs $125 for single individual, and $175 for two individuals sharing a manual.

The cost of $375 provides the same training materials and resources, but removes the 50-hour payback requirement.

"We encourage people to sign-up early, so they know how many people may be attending their site, and to also ensure they can get a spot at the site they want," said Graper.

Master Gardener training applications are available at county Extension offices or can be downloaded from the web. Regular training applications can be found at http://www.abs.sdstate.edu/hort/mg/APPLFORM.htm. Buy-out training applications are available at http://www.abs.sdstate.edu/hort/mg/APPLFORMFEE.htm.

Completed applications should be turned into the county Extension offices.

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