“Gardening for All”: Learn to garden like a master gardener in an annual series of courses

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By Matthew Zylstra / matthew@chronline.com

The WSU Master Gardener Program with the Lewis County Extension Office will host its biannual “Gardening for All” event, and everyone is indeed welcome, regardless of experience level.

The free event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on April 9 at Centralia Christian School. No registration is required.

The event will take place in three different classrooms at Centralia Christian, each hosting a class during each of the three 1.5-hour class periods for a total of nine classes. The three lesson periods will take place from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., from 10:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The nine courses will run as follows:

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

•“Protecting Groundwater Resources”: Bob Taylor will present how contamination moves through the ground.

• “The Great Divide”: Jeanette Lawson will explain when and why you should divide your plants and how to divide different types of bulbs.

• “Basic Gardening 101”: Don Enstrom will present on selecting gardening sites and what and when to plant.

10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

• “Container Gardening”: MaryAnn Albenesius will present the keys to success when working with container plants.

• “Growing Bearded Irises”: Laveta Arnold will present issues related to the cultivation of bearded irises.

• “Growing Tomatoes 101”: Barbara Eastman will present on the variety of tomato plants and issues related to tomato gardening.

12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

• “Simply Organic Permaculture Conservation”: Sandra Smith will present information on gardening throughout the year.

• “No Dig, No Till Garden”: Chermaine Gill will present on topics related to “No Dig” gardens.

• “Planting the Seeds of a Zero Waste Garden”: Melanie Case will give a presentation on reusing containers and ways to prevent weeds using natural methods.

The event is hosted by the Lewis County Master Gardeners. The Master Gardeners is a group supported by Washington State University (WSU) through its outreach program. The WSU Extension Program acts as the public arm of research conducted at WSU. The main objective of the program is education. As part of the Extension Program’s educational mission, WSU educates the public about new research on a variety of topics, from gardening to wine. The program supports around 50 groups as part of its mission, including the Master Gardeners and 4-H. WSU’s extension program is managed from extension offices at the county level. Most counties have their own extension programs, although some counties share programs due to small population sizes. WSU sets the standards for these programs and talks to the various coordinators in each county.

The statewide Master Gardener program is run out of Wenatchee and there are approximately 4,000 certified Master Gardeners statewide. The goal of the Master Gardeners program is to promote education in gardening and conservation based on WSU research.

The master gardeners were described by WSU Lewis County’s local extension program coordinator Jason Adams as “community educators” who act as unpaid volunteers. According to Adams, there are about 50 certified master gardeners in Lewis County with about 14 trainees seeking to become certified.

According to Adams, the process to become a Certified Master Gardener includes an 11-month training program that begins in January each year and ends in November. Classes are held every third Tuesday. The training program also includes an online component which includes online lessons, assignments and tests. You can register for the Master Gardener training by collecting an application file from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the WSU Lewis County Extension Office, which is located at 17 SW Cascade Ave. in Chehalis, down the street from the Lewis County Courthouse and the Lewis County Law and Justice Center.

Application materials can also be requested by email at jason.adams@lewiscountywa.gov or by phone at 360-740-1216. The training fee for the Master Gardener certification course is $214.

To get to Centralia Christian School, take Interstate 5 to Exit 81 and take Mellen Street east toward downtown Centralia. At the end of Mellen Street turn left onto Alder Street and continue to West Cherry Street. At West Cherry Street, turn right and follow the road east to Pearl Street by Fuller’s Market. Turn right on Pearl Street before turning left on the overpass heading south. Once you reach the end of the overpass, continue south on South Gold Street until you reach East Floral Street. Once you reach East Floral Street, turn right and head west across the train tracks. At the end of East Floral Street is Centralia Christian School. Turn right onto South Tower Avenue before turning left into the Centralia Christian School parking lot.

To learn more about the Lewis County Master Gardeners, visit https://lewis-mg-mrc.org/.

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