Sunday, August 5, 2018 By: Ask A Master Gardener

What is a Master Gardener and How do I Become One?

Becoming a Master Gardener
Tom Ingram: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, August 05, 2018
Q: At the beginning of each of the classes we teach in elementary schools throughout Tulsa County, we typically ask the students a question: Who knows what a Master Gardener is?
A: We get all kinds of answers (as you might imagine) — “someone who is good at gardening” (we hope), “someone who likes insects” (most of the time) and “someone who likes plants” (always yes.)
Truth is, the question does not come with a simple answer because Master Gardeners do so many different things.
By definition, Master Gardeners are volunteer educators for the Oklahoma State University Extension service on a mission to provide research-based horticultural information to local home gardeners and the community. But, that mission can take many forms.
One of the ways we fulfill that mission is by staffing a horticultural Diagnostic Center at the OSU Extension office Monday through Friday. Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., you can find Master Gardeners on hand to answer your questions via phone, email or in person. Outside our Diagnostic Center, you will find our beautiful Master Gardener-maintained demonstration garden containing more than 200 annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.
We also teach a variety of classes, such as our spring and fall Lunch and Learn series at the Tulsa Central Library, or our yearly Urban Gardener classes. Topics include plant biology, soil chemistry, growing fruits and vegetables, lawn care, tress and shrubs, flowers, container gardening, etc.
We mentioned the public schools. Master Gardeners teach a variety of science-based classes to elementary school students throughout Tulsa County. Last year, we taught these classes to approximately 16,500 students.
In addition, each year we also host an Insect Adventure for more than 1,000 third-graders, which helps these students gain a respect for the wonderful variety of insects we share this planet with and the many benefits they provide.
You may also have seen Master Gardeners at an Herb Festival or perhaps at our beautiful exhibit at the Home & Garden Show. Or, you may have visited one of our homes in the Master Gardener Garden Tour we host each spring.
Some Master Gardeners visit nursing homes to spend time with seniors while engaging in a little horticultural therapy to brighten their day. Others landscape yards for Habitat for Humanity homes so these new homeowners don’t just get a house but a beautifully landscaped home. And other Master Gardeners spend hours planting and maintaining beautiful flowers in planters in the Brookside and Blue Dome districts to help keep Tulsa beautiful.
So, now that you know what a Master Gardener does, do you want to come join us? At 10 a.m. Aug. 8 and 1 p.m. Aug. 15, you can attend a presentation at the OSU Extension (4116 E. 15th St.), where you can find out the requirements to become a Master Gardener and fill out an application. This enrollment only happens once a year, so if you have an interest, be sure to attend one of these presentations.
Garden tips
  • Fertilization of warm-season grasses can continue if water is present for growth. Do not fertilize Bermuda or zoysia lawns after the end of August. Do not fertilize fescue lawns until it cools off in September.
  • Mowing heights for cool-season turf grasses should be at 3 inches during hot, dry summer months. Gradually raise mowing height of Bermuda lawns from 1½ to 2 inches.
  • Cucumbers may be bitter this time of year and vines quit producing. This is due to the heat. If you are able to get the vines through the summer, after it cools, they will be fertile again and the taste of the cucumbers will improve.


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