By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

As Master Gardeners we are asked all the time “How can I become a Master Gardener?”  Permian Basin Master Gardeners did not have a trainee class in 2018 so we are expecting a large turnout in January.  The class size will be limited and applications are being filled out now.

The Master Gardener program operates under the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and provides horticultural training to local residents.   Our area has unique needs due to the climate and we train volunteers about horticulture under adverse conditions.   Subjects include water conservation through plants requiring less water, irrigation practices, rainwater harvesting, composting, xeriscaping, vegetable gardening and even chicken keeping, worm composting, and food preservation.

The requirement is 60 classroom hours of education and 60 volunteer hours the first year.  You will need a dedication, willingness and availability to take extensive training.  All the classes and the other projects not only teach you, but prepare you to teach others.  Don’t worry, if you have a fear of speaking in public, your talents can and will be used elsewhere.

After you have completed the required hours, you will become a Certified Master Gardener.  In the following years, you will be required to have 30 volunteer hours and 12 continuing education hours annually.

As a MG you will attend monthly meetings, committee meetings, accept volunteer assignments, keep a record of your education and volunteer hours on a provided system, all the while representing AgriLife in a professional manner.

The orientation for the 2019 class is January 12 at 9 a.m. at the Midland AgriLife Extension office.  Hopefully, by the end of that session, all your questions will be answered and you will know if the program is for you.  The application is available on our website at westtexasgardening.org or at either the Midland (2445 East Highway 80) or Odessa (1010 East 8th Street) AgriLife offices.   We look forward to seeing you there!

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