Enrollment deadline for 2016 sessions is Jan. 4

FREEHOLD, NJ – If you are already dreaming about spring time gardening, you may want to consider becoming a certified Master Gardener in 2016.

The Monmouth County Master Gardener Program is the way for you to become a certified expert in all things related to home gardening. The deadline to apply is Monday, Jan. 4.

“As a Master Gardener trainee you can get in-depth, hands-on training in horticulture from the best in the field – Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service professional staff and their associates at Brookdale Community College and the County Park System,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “The program includes plant biology, propagation, soil science and pest control.”

After completing your classroom and hands-on training, as a Master Gardener graduate you can share your knowledge by conducting garden lectures, demonstrations, school and community gardening projects, telephone diagnostic service for callers and research.

To enroll in this Master Gardener program, you must live in Monmouth County, be available to attend 10 weeks of classes and make a commitment to providing gardening information and services to the community.

Classroom sessions will be held from February through May on Tuesday and Thursday mornings beginning Feb. 18. At the conclusion of the classes, all Master Gardener trainees give 60 hours of volunteer time in horticultural projects and answering calls on the County’s “horticulture helpline.” Those who complete the training become certified Master Gardeners.

The application can be downloaded from the County’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com. Be sure to click on the Department link to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service. You can also pick up a copy at the Cooperative Extension Service office at 4000 Kozloski Rd., Freehold, or call 732-431-7260 to request an application be mailed to you. There is a $250 fee to cover material and program costs.

The Master Gardener Program, conducted throughout the United States and Canada, is a two-part educational effort in which avid gardeners are provided many hours of intense home horticulture training. In return, they “pay back” local university extension agents through volunteerism.

In Monmouth County, the program is sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the Monmouth County Chosen Board of Chosen Freeholders, Brookdale Community College and Monmouth County Park System.