Calling All Gardeners
Get ready to sign up for the 2009 fall Master Gardener training class

July 05, 2009

by Donna Sahualla, Victoria County Master Gardener Intern,
VCMGA  Training Class Coordinator

Edited by Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener
Master Gardeners traveled to Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg on a previous field trip to see testing plots and growing fields firsthand. This year's field trip will be to the Botanical Gardens in San Antonio.
Gardening. That's a word with a very broad meaning.

For many people, gardening is used with much intention of producing fruits and vegetables as a source of food or income, and for some people, like me, gardening means working out in my yard to create a beautiful landscape.

In the past, gardening meant buying plants at the garden centers, planting them haphazardly in the yard and watering to see if they lived or not. I realized differently, however, after taking the Master Gardening course last year I would benefit from learning more about how plants grow, what encourages plant growth and what plants grow best in our hot Texas sun.

Gardening on a Whole New Level

Last year a friend of mine who is a Master Gardener gave me an application for the Master Gardener program. Humm..maybe I could use a little education about gardening and all the aspects associated with it. I was one of the few selected to take the Master Gardener course in 2008 - and I learned a wealth of information, made many new friends and now enjoy gardening on a whole new level.

Have you ever wondered what those three numbers on the plant food packaging at the garden centers mean? Ever wonder how to calculate how much fertilizer you should spread on your lawn? What's that bug on your tomato plants? How can I "go green" in the garden and not use so many insecticides and pesticides? How to fertilize your pecan and fruit trees?

If any of these questions perk your interest, then the Master Gardener class is for you. You will learn all this and so much more.

Victoria County Master Gardener Program

The Master Gardener program was initiated in Victoria County in 1997. Classes have been held annually and presently there are about 160 members.

To be a certified Master Gardener, one must obtain 50 hours of horticultural education training (science or art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants) from Texas AgriLife Extension Service - Victoria County and volunteer back to extension 50 hours of service educating others.

To remain certified, Master Gardeners are required yearly to obtain continuing education and contribute back to the community volunteer service hours.

Volunteer service for Master Gardeners varies according to educational program needs, and the individual abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners.

Victoria County Master Gardeners have received numerous awards (over 30 statewide) because of extremely committed and devoted members.

Fall Classes Begin Aug. 6

Victoria County Master Gardener Association will kick off the 2009 classes running for 16 weeks, beginning Aug. 6 and ending on Nov. 19. The classes are held at the Victoria County 4 -H Activity Center from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday afternoon.

The fee for the class is $135 plus field trip expenses. The fee covers the large Master Gardener training handbook, speaker transportation costs, as well as additional handouts, and your own home soil sample results.

In addition to all of this we will go on a field trip to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens this year.

Class Training Topics

The classes are taught by Texas AgriLife extension specialists, county extension agents, Texas A&M professors and local experts including our own Master Gardeners.

The planned Master Gardener class curriculum for this fall includes:

Tour of Victoria Educational Gardens

Understanding Plants and Plant Growth

Working with Victoria Soils and your personal soil analysis

Landscape Horticulture

Turfgrass Varieties and Management

Perennials and Roses

Vegetables and Herbs

Home Fruit and Nut Management

Identifying and Understanding Insects

Pesticide Safety/Application Techniques

Diagnosing and Understanding Plant Disease

Plant Propagation

Rainwater Harvesting


So if you have a desire to learn more about gardening and you are ready to have fun and meet new friends and spread that word on to others, then the 2009 Master Gardener program is for you. It's a commitment to learn and loads of fun. While it may not be of interest to everyone, it is for anyone who is interested in gardening or helping others garden.
Horticulture class instructor John Fossati shares information with Master Gardener trainees in his personal garden in Victoria.

HOW TO APPLY: Obtain an application at click on "Members," then "
2009 Master Gardener Training Application" or call Victoria County AgriLife Extension office at 361-575-4581 for information.

DEADLINE: Registration deadline is July 17.

COST: $135.00 plus field trip expense.


Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center
2805 N. Navarro St.
Monday ~ Noon - 1 p.m.
Victoria County Master Gardener Pat Plowman will speak on water gardening.
Presented by Victoria County Master Gardener Association
Bring your lunch and drink
Free to the public

NOTE: Door prizes will be offered at the conclusion of the session.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at