May 5, 2014

Helping your gardening skills grow

Each week in this space you see a column written by someone connected with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Sometimes our readers don’t realize that our office at 6064 State Route 22 in Plattsburgh is home to a staff available to help you with agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and 4-H questions and concerns.

Among my duties is coordinating the Master Gardener program in Clinton County.

The mission statement of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program is “to train volunteers to teach others how to protect the environment and grow plants more effectively.”

We are fortunate to have an active and enthusiastic group of Master Gardener volunteers serving Clinton County. Linda Gilliland has the pleasure of working with the dedicated Master Gardener volunteers in Essex County.

Master Gardener volunteers have gone through 50 hours of training, with monthly updates and continuing education presented at each monthly meeting. 

We all have something in common — the love of gardening. We are dedicated to reaching and teaching the residents of our respective counties.

We do hands-on presentations and workshops in schools to teach youngsters how things grow, and to instill in them the love of nature and respect for the environment. 

You will see us at Farmers Markets with information about what is currently happening in our gardening community, answering questions and identifying insects and plant diseases that you’ve brought a sample of.

We have a Growline — an information system that gives us the opportunity to work with you when you have a question or concern or need suggestions and options for dealing with a situation in your garden that may be frustrating you. 

We identify and diagnose samples.

We work with senior citizen organizations and retirement homes so those seniors can continue to enjoy gardening in new and accessible ways. 

We are a phone call or email away and always willing to help you find solutions that work for you, or to put together a program for your group or organization.

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Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

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