Master gardener class may be offered

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2005

DEMOPOLIS – Some people were born with a green thumb, while others seem to be lacking the skills of the master gardener. A solution may soon be on its way for those whose plant-rearing skills leave something to be desired.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 a special informational meeting will be held at Demopolis City Hall in the Council Chambers at 10 a.m. to outline a class that will help residents improve their gardening skills. The meeting is to gauge interest in the Alabama Master Gardener Volunteer Program, which is an educational outreach program provided and administered by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in conjunction with Auburn University.

Demopolis City Horticulturist Linda Teaford said the meeting would help determine how much interest there is before they set a date.

“We are going to have a meeting to coordinate when we will have the class,” Teaford said. “We won’t be able to set up a time before then because we have to get together with Auburn University and find a time.”

Willie Datcher, of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service in Eutaw, said he would like to see a great deal of interest in the program.

“We would like to get as many people in the course as we can,” Datcher said. “Normally, we would like to have 15 to 20 people to make it worth their while to drive over from Auburn.”

Datcher said those who attend the class would leave well-rounded gardeners.

“Basically, people will learn all about gardening,” Datcher said. “They will learn about gardening, identifying plants, when to plant and things like that. They will also learn about soils and PH levels.”

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting and sign up for the course. The course will run on a 10-week program meeting once a week for four hours a session.

Teaford said when people complete the class they will have a wealth of helpful knowledge on gardening techniques.

“At the end people will be knowledgeable above the average gardener,” Teaford said. “They will be versed in gardening to the point they can help other people.”

The course is free of charge, however, those who participate will be asked to put their new knowledge to work by completing 40 hours of community service. Teaford said if people are willing to take the class they should be willing to give something back.

“I want to stress that people should only take this course if they are willing to pay back the service to the community,” Teaford said. “There is no cost for the course other than the textbook from Auburn. So the least we can do is pay back with service. A course like this would cost several hundred dollars anywhere else.”

Datcher said the help students of the course provide for the community can be positive for everyone.

“This helps people learn about gardening, but it also helps the community,” Datcher said. “After they take the course they can go out and do some community projects and help with the beautification of the city and neighborhoods.”

For additional information on the course contact Teaford at (334) 289-4204 or Datcher at (205) 372-3401.