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Purdue Extension Master Gardener program to offer virtual basic training in spring

The spring 2022 Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) basic training program will begin Feb. 1 as a series of live virtual webinars.

Visit bit.ly/2022PurdueEMGTraining and contact a hosting Purdue Extension educator to obtain an application. The application deadline is Jan. 11. The training wraps up May 3. An individual registration costs $180 and includes a print version of the Purdue EMG manual. The fee for two people sharing a print version of the manual is $280.

Purdue Extension specialists and educators from across Indiana teach the course. Topics include soils, fertility, pest control, invasive species, pesticide safety and alternatives, trees, vegetables, flowers, lawns and fruit.

“The Purdue Extension Master Gardener program’s main purpose is to train volunteers to assist Purdue Extension with consumer horticulture education in Indiana communities,” says John Orick, Purdue EMG state coordinator (www.hort.purdue.edu/mg).

Extension Master Gardener volunteers are required to give a minimum of 40 hours back to the community after completing initial training and passing an exam. Volunteers completed 117,000 hours  in 2021, Orick says.

To strengthen connections to county Purdue EMG programs, each hosting Extension educator will hold a required one-hour weekly meeting with participants to dig deeper on how the topic of the week applies to local gardeners.

“Indiana is a long, north-south state,” says Jeff Burbrink, a Purdue Extension educator in Elkhart County who is on the team that planned the spring program. “Our climate and soils vary a great deal from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River. We want to be sure that our Extension Master Gardeners can see how these concepts work in their backyard.”

Most Master Gardeners stay involved in the program for years.

“Our local Master Gardeners created the Michiana Master Gardener Association in 1996,” Burbrink says, “in part because they enjoy learning, and in part because they can work on big projects together, like our annual Garden Tour and Garden Expo. They are an amazingly talented group of creative people.”