Master Gardeners grow for community

Published 6:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

By Martha Heffner

Master Gardener

martha hefner 3928One may find the finger and foot prints of Master Gardeners embedded in the soil of the Community Garden. As you drive on Bramlett Boulevard between the old armory pavilion and the Skate Park you may see a beautiful garden surrounded by a fence.   

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Every Tuesday morning before it gets too hot, Master Gardeners can be found picking produce, pulling weeds and other tasks that go along with a bountiful garden. One Saturday a month the real work of maintaining the garden takes place.

The vegetables that are harvested are immediately taken to the Community Pantry where they are distributed to needy families the next day.

The Master Gardener program is all about “Learning, sharing and growing together.” The Master Gardener program is a nationwide organization of volunteers led by the MSU Extension Service personnel. There are more than 100,000 volunteers who have put in more than $102 million worth of volunteer hours for projects that help our country grow.

The Oxford Community Garden has been in continuous cultivation and production since the Master Gardeners started it almost a decade ago. The Master Gardeners share the space with numerous families who want fresh vegetables for their tables.

Since 1991, the Master Gardener program has grown throughout Mississippi. New recruits to the program are expected to be involved with 40 hours of classroom training. The classes are taught by professionals in the field and professors from Mississippi State University.

Long time participants have to participate in at least 20 hours of education. Each year educational programs are offered for members and the community on topics such as sustainability, visiting local farms, gardens, and nurseries.

New members give at least 40 service hours and other members provide at least 20 hours each year.  All Master Gardeners are available to consult with gardeners in our community about issues they may be having. Master Gardeners provide assistance to green up our community.

A new class will start on Sept. 6 at the Extension Office on Highway 7 South and run through Oct. 11. Sessions will cover topics like fruits and vegetables, soils, basic botany, plant propagation, insects and plant diseases.

The $100 fee, which is due with a completed application no later than Aug. 31.

If you are interested in having your prints left for future gardeners and our community, contact the Extension Service at 662-234-4451.