Interest in gardening surged during the COVID-19 pandemic as Arkansans took to the outdoors, and that interest doesn’t seem to be fading.
The Arkansas Master Gardeners program, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, continues to be the state’s largest horticulture volunteer and education organization. Registration for its fall training, set to begin September 22, is now open.
This year’s training will be conducted via Zoom and will include five day-long sessions on September 22, September 29, October 6, October 20 and October 27. Training will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of those days.
The cost is $75 and includes 40 hours of training and the Master Gardener handbook.
Trainees will learn about basic botany, soils and fertilizer, pest control and pesticide use. In addition, there will be classes on landscape design, vegetable and fruit gardening, annuals and perennials and other topics of interest to homemakers.
Each new Master Gardener is also paired with a mentor in their county.
Volunteerism is crucial to many Cooperative Extension Service programs, including Master Gardeners. Members complete 40 hours of volunteer service after their training. To maintain membership, they complete 20 education hours and 20 hours of community service each year.
For a program application, contact the Columbia County Extension Office at (870) 235-3720.