Okanogan County Master Gardener Program
The Master Gardener program began in 1973 as a Washington State University extension-based program focusing on training volunteers to diagnose horticultural problems in the community. Today, Master Gardeners are actively addressing plant and insect problems as well as presenting programs that address critical issues for Okanogan County citizens. These include: sustainable gardening practices, safe pest management practices, drought tolerant gardens and landscaping, urban forestry, planting for fire protection.
How Do I Become a Master Gardener?
The Master Gardener training program includes a comprehensive 60 hour course and was designed to supply volunteers with education in such topics as entomology, plant physiology, composting, weed management, tree fruit, pruning, integrated pest management and more. In return, trained Master Gardeners serve the community as home horticulture advisors by volunteering 40 hours of community service the first year, and 25 hours annually thereafter. WSU Master Gardeners educate local community members in the application of horticultural science to the sustainable management of landscapes and gardens. They provide public education in gardening and home horticulture centered on research based information approved by WSU. This popular program has over 3,100 Master Gardener volunteers, donating 182,184 hours of volunteer service. Master Gardener programs are offered all over the United States, as well as in Canada and Europe.
Training classes are held every two years. Contact the WSU Okanogan County Extension Office for more information (509) 422-7245.
WSU Master Gardeners hold an Annual Plant Sale every May at the park in Omak. They also volunteer in Local Farmers Markets in Okanogan, Oroville, Twisp, and Tonasket. Master Gardeners also hold Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinics weekly throughout the summer.
Goals of the Master Gardener Program:
- Promote gardening & agriculture land use
- Inform public about current best horticultural practices
- Enhance environmental conservation
- Broaden communities gardening expertise
- Build & maintain demonstration gardens
- Assist with school and youth programs
- Organize garden tours
- Conduct education seminars & clinics
- Staff plant question clinics at farmers markets, fairs & community events
- Answer questions & assist the public in the extension office
Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden
The Okanogan County Master Gardeners created, designed and currently maintain a Xeriscape (drought tolerant) demonstration garden located at the Okanogan County Fair Grounds, south of the Horticulture Building. The garden was tested in the summer of 2003 when the fairgrounds lost access to water for weeks, yet all of the plants survived.
Next time you are at the fairgrounds, check out our garden!
The Okanogan Master Gardeners also maintain the Alice Culp Memorial Rose Garden, at Triangle Park in front of Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak.