Editors note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Offices Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Stephanie Huss
Colorado State University Extension in La Plata County is now taking applications for the 2011 Colorado Master Gardener Course that will start Jan. 27. Applications can be found at the Durango Farmers Market, the Extension Office or online (www.laplataex tension.org).
A Colorado Master Gardener, or CMG, has earned certification through classroom time and volunteer experience. A few things I picked up:
b Gardening in the Four Corners is complicated.
Even if you were a Master Gardener elsewhere, it pays to take the course in La Plata County. Were different here. Soil, sun, moisture, altitude and a range of hardiness zones present unique challenges.
b Eighty percent of all landscape plant problems relate to soil conditions.
Know your soil it often varies in the landscape. Local soils can sometimes be improved with the application of organic matter and management of nutrients. What you learn in class will pay off in spades.
b Right plant, right place.
Dont pick and plunk do some research before planting. Consider the mature size of the plant, its soil and irrigation requirements, exposure to sunlight, wind, drought, heat tolerance and resistance to insects and disease. There are various reasons why a plant thrives or dies.
b Water-wise gardening consists of many elements.
Southwest Colorado has beautiful xeric plants to incorporate in landscape design. Local industry professionals are dialed in to flora that conserve water and thrive in our environment.
b Information is good.
CMGers stay up-to-date with 12 hours of continuing education and 24 hours of volunteer work each year to keep our certification. We staff a booth at the Durango Farmers Market every Saturday.
Ask us a question and well find an answer.
b Volunteering is rewarding and unique.
In 2009, CMGers volunteered over 2,400 hours in La Plata County, working with schools, community gardens, events and much more.
Stephanie Huss became certified as a Colorado Master Gardener in 2008. She lives in La Plata County.