Every Tuesday this fall, I'll be joining 25 or so other passionate gardeners who are gathering in the Elks Lodge in Keeseville to sharpen gardening skills and get an overview of horticultural science.
The Master Gardener Volunteer training, led by by Amy Ivy, Emily Selleck and Jolene Wallace from the Clinton and Essex County Cooperative Extension Offices, covers everything from botany and composting, to tree, shrubs and lawn care. For an amateur like me who has picked up gardening knowledge in bits and pieces, this is a chance to get answers to nagging questions like how to maintain a perennial flower bed (hint: it's more work than you think!), or which kind of insect is damaging the tomatoes. I'm especially looking forward to next week's class on soils and microbes - to my mind the most mysterious aspect of growing plants.
At the end of these training sessions, our group of newly minted volunteers will be turned loose in the community to assist friends and neighbors in their gardening efforts. Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) are not expected to provide expert advice on every topic; rather, we'll act more as go-betweens, passing along the basics that we've learned and letting people know about the latest research from Cornell Cooperative Extension. And I'm pleased to see that this class includes a number of fellow residents of southern Franklin County, so gardeners in the Tri-Lake area will soon have more places to turn to get their questions answered!