The spring 2023 Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) basic training program will begin Feb. 7 as a weekly series of live virtual webinars.
Visit tinyurl.com/4mjy5w3z and contact a hosting Purdue Extension educator to obtain an application. The application deadline is Jan. 16, and the training wraps up May 9. An individual registration is $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,” said John Orick, Purdue EMG state coordinator.
Purdue 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 contributed more than 125,000 hours in 2022, Orick said.
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 into how the topic of the week applies to local gardeners.
“Indiana is a long, north-south state,” said Jeff Burbrink, Purdue Extension educator in Elkhart County and Purdue EMG spring program team member. “Our climate and soils vary greatly 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, in part because they enjoy learning and because they can work on big projects together, like our annual Garden Tour and Garden Expo,” Burbrink said. “They are an amazingly talented group of creative people.”