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Learn more about gardening, or even become a Master Gardener

If you are finding extra time on your hands due to the current health crisis, it is a great time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.

This is the perfect time to get your gardens and landscape in shape, learn more about gardening, and take on that new gardening project you have always wanted to start.

The Oklahoma State University Extension website, https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/, has fact sheets available on many topics related to gardening, lawn care, fruit growing, landscaping and pest problems. Although our offices at the Oklahoma County Extension Center are open but without public indoor access, our “on-call” Master Gardeners are taking gardening, landscaping, and lawn questions at 713-1125, or you can email them to okmganswers@gmail.com.

We are still offering our soil testing service, as well.

To collect a soil sample, collect soil from 12 to 15 different places, at a depth of 6 inches, from the lawn, garden or the beds you wish to test. Mix these samples together in a clean bucket or pail and collect 2 cups from the mixture to bring to the Extension Center, at 2500 NE 63, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Write your full name and contact number on the sample and leave it on a table in our foyer. You can then call us, or we can call you, for more information on what you are gardening and to make a credit card payment of $10 over the phone. You should get your results in about two to three weeks.

If you are home with your kids, the OSU Extension program “Oklahoma Gardening,” which airs on OETA on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, is providing a special daily youth gardening activity on its Facebook page. It also will be posting adult gardening resources, and you can watch full episodes of the show or search the segments by category at oklahomagardening.okstate.edu

If you love to garden and are willing to share that love with others, you may be interested in becoming a Master Gardener. In Oklahoma County, we are taking applications for the 2020 Master Gardener training until May 8. You must be able to attend a series of classes that begins in early September and continues through November. The classes meet every Tuesday and offer instruction in vegetable gardening, lawn care, fruit production, landscaping, tree planting and care, pruning, insect and disease control, composting, soil improvement and a long list of other horticulture subjects.

After training, Master Gardeners donate back volunteer hours with hands-on projects at our partner sites like the Oklahoma City Zoo and Will Rogers Gardens. They also assist others by helping answer gardening and landscaping questions from people who contact the Extension Service office. Most Master Gardeners find that answering these questions becomes one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives because they learn so much and can help other gardeners, too.

In addition to volunteering their time to beautifying our community, Master Gardeners also meet once a month to extend their knowledge of gardening subjects and travel together to see gardens and gardening projects throughout our state and also in other states.

Becoming a Master Gardener is one of the most positive things you can do for your community. It is also one of the best ways to help increase your own knowledge of gardening. If you would like more information about the Oklahoma County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program, give us a call at 713-1125 or download the application at http://oces.okstate.edu/oklahoma.

Email Julia Laughlin, Oklahoma County extension horticulture educator, at julia.laughlin@okstate.edu.

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