PANHANDLE PERSPECTIVES: It’s time -- Panhandle Master Gardener Training Program to begin

      Spring is still a couple months away, but it’s not too early to talk about gardening, landscapes, turf, trees, shrubs, and other horticulture topics.

      The 2018 Nebraska Extension Master Gardener training will begin in late January, with weekly training classes running into mid-March for volunteers who want to add to their own knowledge and share what they know with others in their communities.

      Anybody with an interest in lawns, landscape, or gardening, as well as sharing their knowledge, is invited to be a Master Gardener. In exchange for the research-based education in horticulture, Master Gardeners are asked to volunteer to their communities, working with local Extension educators, solving problems or giving information. Some give talks or workshops to the public or write news articles about topics such as house plants, flowers, vegetable gardening or other horticulture-related subjects.

      To sign up for the program, call your local Nebraska Extension County Office, or pick up a brochure from Extension offices in Scottsbluff, Alliance or Sidney. The brochure has a registration form that needs to be completed and returned by Jan. 29.

      The brochure also can be downloaded from the Panhandle Center website,

      Participation in the Master Gardener training is $40 for either the daytime or evening classes or $55 for both.  Individual sessions are $15.


The Fundamentals

      For new Master Gardeners, a series of six fundamental classes will be take place Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, and March 6 and 13. Through the use of Zoom distance conferencing technology, they will be available at three sites: the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Cheyenne County Extension office and the Box Butte County Extension office. Local Nebraska Extension Educators at each of the sites to help answer questions.

      Topics include:

      Feb. 6: CHOW: SNAP-ED and EMG Programs – Teaming up with Community Gardens, Morgan Hartline, Extension Educator

      Feb. 13: Rots and Spots, Kyle Broderick, Extension Educator, Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic

      Feb. 20: Vegetable Gardening, John Porter, Extension Educator Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator

      Feb. 27: Wildlife Management, Dennis Ferraro, UNL Herpetologist

      March 6: Extending Your Garden Season, Tim Dungan, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student

      March 13: Landscape Management, Kim Todd, Extension Landscape Specialist, and Terri James, Extension Educator, State Master Gardener Program Coordinator


Proficient classes

      For proficient (as well as beginner) gardeners, the daytime classes run from 10 am to 3 pm. on Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, and 19, and March 16. They will take place at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff. (The March 16 session runs from 9 a.m. – noon).

      The topics are designed for advanced Master Gardeners; however, they are open to everyone. Topics include:

      Jan. 29: Thirty Years of Nebraska Master Gardener Training, Jim Schild, Extension Educator; Container Gardening, Terri James, Extension Educator/Master Gardener Program Coordinator

      Feb. 5: Review of Nebraska Master Gardener Website, Forms, Time Keeping, Karen DeBoer, Extension Educator; How to Write PSAs, David Ostdiek, UNL Communication/Technology Associate; What Happened in 2017; a Review, and Garden Seed and Nursery Sources, Gary Stone, Extension Educator; Garden Insects, John Thomas, Extension Educator

      Feb. 12: Designing the Layered Landscape, Amy Seiler, Community Forestry Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service; Pruning Shrubs & Hands-On (Weather Permitting), Amy Seiler

      Feb. 19: Vines and Groundcovers for Western Nebraska, David Lott, Horticulture Extension Educator; Weather Events and Impacts on Landscapes, David Lott

      March 16: TBD, presented by Amy Seiler, Kim Todd, Terri James, UNL