Native gravel gardening

Madison Area Master Gardener Program Completion

As I hoped, the first year at Sprout Landscape & Garden was very busy. But from the beginning, I wanted to work in time to learn more about the local gardening community. To do so, I chose to enter the Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteer training program through the UW Extension office. The program spanned an entire growing season, beginning in late February and wrapping up in early September. As of this past Thursday, I officially became a certified Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteer!

Elvehjem School Garden Summer 2014

The Elvehjem Elementary School education garden- Summer 2014

I really enjoyed integrating the program into my schedule. It exposed me to plenty of new great gardening knowledge, tips and resources. Every-other-week classes covered very useful topics, such as soils, composting, garden-based learning for kids, tree and shrub pruning, insects, plant disease, weeds and invasive plants, organic garden techniques, vegetables, houseplants and more.

Besides the classes, the other main component of the program is volunteering. The program promotes volunteering with many local school gardens and other community gardens. I spent my volunteer hours at Elvehjem Elementary, the UW Extension education gardens, and Olbrich Botanical Gardens, totally nearly 100 hours of volunteer hours!

Every Thursday morning at Olbrich, I helped a small crew perform a variety of gardening tasks throughout the grounds. These including weeding, plantings, pruning, mulching, and fruit harvesting. I valued the hands-on experience, watching how the gardens changed throughout the year, and working with the friendly, down-to-earth staff and other volunteers.

Grapes harvested by our volunteer group

Grapes harvested by our volunteer group

The community of Master Gardener’s is a close-knit group, and I appreciate becoming part of their movement for education and involvement in our community’s gardens.

Particular thanks to our instructor, Lisa Johnson, who’s personality and wealth of knowledge made for a fun, insightful program.

For more information on the Madison Area Master Gardener Association, please follow the link.