Colorado Master Gardener program returns to Eagle, Jan. 26 | VailDaily.com

Colorado Master Gardener program returns to Eagle, Jan. 26

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EAGLE — After a two-year hiatus, the Colorado State University Extension Colorado Master Gardener program is returning to Eagle for 2017. The program offers practical instruction and hands-on experience for gardeners who wish to advance their gardening knowhow and to strengthen their sense of community.

Applications are available at the Eagle County website, http://www.eaglecounty.us/csu, under the "Horticulture and Small Acreage" link, or contact Jeff Pieper at 970-328-8633 for details.

This year's Colorado Master Gardener class will be held at the Eagle County Building in Eagle. Classes start Jan. 26 and are held every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for 10 consecutive weeks. The program is 60 hours of classroom instruction with both live and webinar instruction. Typically half of the program's students are employed by the green industry, making it a good educational opportunity for both home gardeners and industry professionals.

The class is a combination of lectures, small-group discussions and hands-on activities. This year, local professionals with experience of working with plants in Eagle or the Roaring Fork valleys will teach roughly half of the curriculum. For this year's programming, CSU Extension will be teaming up with Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Audubon Rockies, Colorado Native Plant Society, Eagle River Watershed Council and several others to provide top-notch instruction.

Topics vary, but there is always an emphasis on local gardening and how to overcome some of the challenges of growing in plants Eagle County. This year's program topics will include soil science, beginner's botany, entomology, home yard maintenance, composting, landscape design, irrigation, introduction to plant pathology, mountain gardening, vegetable gardening and more.

The Colorado Master Gardener volunteer option is $200 per student and has a return service commitment of 50 volunteer hours. Volunteer activities through CSU Extension office vary season to season but can include writing articles, teaching classes or helping with horticulture questions at the Extension office. All hours need to be completed by Oct. 31, 2017.

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The non-volunteer Colorado Gardener Certificate option is used widely by green industry professionals. Other participants that do not wish to volunteer will find the certificate option a good fit. Registration is online and the cost is $550. Space is limited to 20 participants. Application deadline is Jan. 3.

If you go …

What: Colorado Master Gardener program.

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday starting Jan. 26 and running for 10 weeks.

Where: Eagle County Building, 500 Broadway St., Eagle.

Cost: Volunteer option is $200 and has a return service commitment of 50 volunteer hours; non-volunteer option is $550, and space is limited to 20 participants.

More information: Application deadline is Jan. 3. Visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/csu, and click on “Horticulture and Small Acreage,” or call Jeff Pieper, CSU Extension Horticulture and Small Acreage agent, at 970-328-8633.