Sign up now for Master Gardener training

SDSU Extension is offering Master Gardener training in Rapid City, Aberdeen, Brookings and Sioux Falls.

The SDSU Extension Master Gardener program trains volunteers to serve in providing horticultural information to the residents of South Dakota. The training consists of more than 60 hours of class work provided by SDSU Extension specialists.

Topics include basic botany, insects and diseases, plant propagation, pruning, fertilizing, plant selection and other aspects of growing fruit, vegetables, lawns and landscape plants, says Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist and Master Gardener Coordinator.

To earn the designation of SDSU Extension Master Gardener, graduates of the classroom training are required to complete 50 hours of volunteer service as an intern with SDSU Extension Service. They are then presented official badges and are designated certified Master Gardeners.

"Volunteer service can vary, depending on individual's skills and the needs of the local community. Some volunteers answer telephone or online requests for information, host plant clinics or speak to groups. Others assist with demonstration gardens, farmers markets, youth gardens, 4-H activities or write articles for local newspapers. Still others help with research projects, or serve as a volunteer coordinator," Burrows said.

The training schedule is as follows: Aberdeen Regional Extension Center, Tuesdays, May 15-July 10; Rapid City West River Agricultural Center, Thursdays, May 31-July 26; and Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center, Fridays, May 4-July 6. Classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will also be training in Brookings on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from May 1-June 28.

The cost of regular training, which includes a larger binder and other materials, is $160 per individual (or $210 for two individuals sharing materials). If an individual desires, for $500, they may pay to take the classroom training only without the 50 hours obligated service, but they will not receive Master Gardener status. Classes fill rapidly, so those interested should fill out applications soon.

Information and application materials are available online at the South Dakota Master Gardener Web site, http://hortmg.sdstate.edu.

Applications with $50 deposits may be submitted to: West River Agricultural Center, 1905 Plaza Drive, Rapid City, SD 57702; Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center, 2001 E. 8th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57103; c/o Lisa Ulvestad, Plant Science Dept., SDSU, Box 2207A, Brookings, SD 57007; or Regional Extension Center, 13 – 2nd Ave. S.E., Aberdeen, SD 57401.

For more information, contact Dr. Rhoda Burrows at (605) 394-2236 or rhoda.burrrows@sdstate.edu.

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