A frigid, frosty day is a great time to stay indoors and enjoy a good book, a warm fire in the fireplace and a hot cup of cocoa. But for gardeners, winter it's also time to dream and plan next summer’s gardens. Many gardeners are already looking through seed catalogues, and making up their 2018 seed orders. But for Nebraska Extension Master Gardener volunteers, winter is also a time to gather new knowledge, reinforce knowledge from years past, and prepare to share their knowledge with others.

What is a Master Gardener?
They are people who love plants, and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.  At Nebraska Extension, we teach adults and youth in many different settings, from the county fair, to classrooms, and demonstration landscapes. So do our Extension Master Gardeners.
After training Master Gardeners assist Extension staff to provide clientele with information by teaching in demonstration landscapes, and assisting with other youth or adult programs. Master Gardeners also answer questions phoned-in to the Extension Office or at a "Ask a Master Gardener" table at a farmer's market, diagnose plant samples and help maintain community gardens.
Through the program, you will meet many great people who share your love of gardening and as a volunteer, you’ll be making a contribution to your community, creating beautiful, sustainable greenspaces.
The Extension Master Gardener program’s goal is to provide Nebraskans with the knowledge they need to create and maintain beautiful, healthy, sustainable landscapes, while conserving water, and protecting themselves and the natural environment from exposure to improperly applied or excessive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers.

How To Get Started
Complete and submit an application. Two Master Gardener programs are available for residents of Lancaster county and surrounding areas.
Evening training classes- 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Classes are held from early February through May, at Kiem Hall on UNL’s East Campus, 33rd & Holdrege. Complete an application on-line at http://MasterGardener.unl.edu, click on “Become a Master Gardener.” Or contact Teri James, email: tjames2@unl.edu, (402) 472-8973. Program cost is $190 per person. Application deadline - January 12th.
Weekday training classes- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Classes are held from mid-February through early April, at the Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Road. Complete an application on-line at http://go.unl.edu/mgapplication, or contact Mary Jane Frogge for more information. Email: mfrogge2@unl.edu, (402) 441-7180. Program cost is $190.00 per person.  Application deadline - Jan. 19th.

2017 Highlights
For several years, Master Gardeners have been instrumental in maintaining a teaching garden at the People's City Mission. They teach mission residents how to plant, care for and harvest garden crops encouraging them to grow some of their own food in the future when their living arrangements allow. Master Gardeners also maintain the Backyard Farmer garden on University of Nebraska - Lincoln's East Campus. Many viewers of the television show visit the garden each summer. Visitors are amazed at how ornamental and edible crops mixed and woven together can create such beauty! It gives many visitors great ideas to try in their home gardens.  Finally, Master Gardeners teach composting basics to home gardeners. Over the last four years at our composting demonstration site at Pioneer's Park, Master Gardeners have shown over 250 participants how easy it is to created and maintain a composting pile or bin at home.

Please join us!
Sarah Browning is an Educator with Nebraska Extension and can be contacted by phone at (402) 441-7180: by mail at 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE 68528: or by e-mail at sbrowning2@ unl.edu.