Walton County Master Gardener program starts Feb. 25

January 12, 2021

The Walton County Extension Service is taking applications for the 2021 Master Gardener Volunteer Program.  The Master Gardener Programming in Florida is a joint endeavor of the University of Florida/IFAS Extension, individual counties and gardening volunteers in participating counties.  The program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the growing demands placed on County Extension personnel by home gardeners.

The primary requirements for participation in the Master Gardener Volunteer program are:

‚a sincere interest in gardening and continuing education

‚a willingness to work with and help other people, and

‚the time and flexibility to complete all the requirements of the program.  Those who work a regular Monday-Friday, 8-5 job, won’t be able to complete the course requirements, unless arrangements can be made with employer to get Thursday mornings off.

The Master Gardener Volunteer training classes will be held each Thursday (8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) beginning February 25, 2021 and ending May 13, 2021.  These classes will be at the UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Office, located at 732 N 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs FL or via ZOOM, if necessary.  Instruction will include classroom training and hands-on clinics conducted by County Extension agents, University of Florida Extension specialists and local experts.  Training will include sessions on plant physiology, insects, plant diseases, care of landscape plants, vegetable gardening, fruit gardening, lawn management, landscape design, irrigation and communications.

After successfully completing the program, certified Master Gardener Volunteers will then be ready to begin the 75 hours service agreed to in return for training.  75 volunteer hours and 10 CEUs must be completed within one year after completing Master Gardener training.  After the 1st year, Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 40 hours yearly to remain active.  Master Gardeners will be required to volunteer 10 hours at the Walton County Extension Office fielding gardening questions from the public.  This is an excellent way to sharpening your garden problem-solving skills and is a tremendous public service.  Master Gardeners may also return some of their volunteer time by working in plant clinics, assisting with the 4-H youth program, giving a brief talk to a garden club, civic group, or other activity if approved by coordinator.

Because the Master Gardener Volunteer Program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help with the Extension Service horticulture program, space is limited.  Up to 15 participants will be trained for the 2021 program.  There is a charge of $150.00 for the program, which covers books and other supplies.

Call the office 850-892-8172 or email haneyc@ufl.edu to request an Application Kit.