Locals talk master gardener program

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Four local residents involved with The Ohio State University’s Master Gardener program impressed Morrow County Chamber of Commerce members with their knowledge during the May 16 chamber meeting.

Tonya Plough, an intern in the 2022-23 programs, gave some background on the classes, which are a commitment of about 50 hours.

“We’re people with an interest in gardening,” said Plough. “Some have an interest in vegetables, some in flowers, and some in house plants.”

Soil and horticulture expert Mary Tapp spoke about some of the topics covered from backyard and local foods to invasive species and pest management, drawing a laugh after saying, “We focus on pest disease prevention for the pest management class. You can’t always just nuke the darn things.”

The PowerPoint presentation with Tapp and Plough also showed the expertise and scientific knowledge available through OSU and Morrow County OSU extension educator Carri Jagger.

Plough said the Morrow County Master Gardener program began in 2016. Trainees have 40-60 hours of classes, and interns continue with 50 hours of volunteer service in the community.

Sharilyn Wuertz, a member of the 2018 class, described some of the 50 projects in the county throughout the year where volunteers gave 682 hours of service. Some projects Wuertz talked about included partnering with Headwaters, public libraries, the Morrow County Fair, and plantings at the fairgrounds. They have also been facilitators of projects at Tomorrow Center, Bunker Hill Winery and Candlewood.

Special projects she described were crafts like making holiday wreaths, succulent pumpkins, and miniature fairy gardens. All master gardeners have background checks since they work with public events.

Program volunteers also organize and lead the Greenhouse Garden Center and Nursery tours in the county.

“We’re leaders, not just weeders, and it’s fun,” Wuertz said as she emphasized the program not only brings learning and knowledge to those who participate but also to the entire community.

For more information about the Master Gardener program in Morrow County, contact Jagger at 419-947-1070 or by email at [email protected]. For the Morrow County OSU extension website, visit www.osu.edu and access the program via the menu dropdown.

Alberta Stojkovic is a correspondent for the Morrow County Sentinel.

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