Elizabeth – Union County residents who have a passion for gardening can make it official by becoming a certified Master Gardener. The expert status comes through a training course offered by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, along with a commitment to community service.
“Our Master Gardeners are valued community treasures,” said Union County Freeholder
Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “They share a wealth of experience and expert knowledge freely
with all who ask.”
The Master Gardener training course runs from October through May on Tuesday mornings. It is held at the Union County Venieri Building, 300 North Avenue East, in Westfield. The instruction is free of charge. A modest fee of $150 is required to cover the cost of materials.
To apply to the training program, call the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County
Master Gardeners are trained in a wide variety of gardening topics including flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees. They also receive up-to-date information on eco-friendly garden strategies such as composting, conserving water, and safely managing garden pests.
Among the Master Gardener volunteer activities is a bountiful demonstration garden, located by Union County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation. Fresh produce from the garden is donated to community food banks, and cut flowers are donated to cancer patients and their families.
The Master Gardeners also host a free gardening helpline, conduct classroom visits, and organize community beautification projects. More information is available at www.mastergardeners-uc.org.
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County provides the community with science-based information on nutrition, food safety, home environmental health, family well-being, agriculture and 4-H youth development. It is supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Visit the Union County Green Connection, www.ucnj.org/greenconnect, for links to all Extension programs, the Master Gardeners website, and other environmental resources in Union County.