Master Gardener Class coming in January

Are you a gardener new to the Southside and want to learn about our soils and what plants thrive here? Maybe new to gardening and want to learn the right way to approach it? Then the Master Gardener class may be just the ticket. The Halifax Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Southside Master Gardener Association generally holds a Master Gardener course beginning on the second Tuesday of January and running through the end of April. Life in the time of a pandemic is making planning more difficult, as you well know. However, we are hopeful that we can have a class in 2021. Topics covered in the Master Gardener class include soils and nutrients, botany, entomology, pruning, landscape design, water quality and everything in between. The course normally includes classroom sessions with some hands on activities and field trips. You will learn lots and make new friends. You will find that not only do Master Gardeners grow plants but the food is really good as well. Now for the downside. There are tests but they are take home and open book so don’t freak or fret over them. No one has failed yet. There is a fee for the course that covers all the course materials you receive including the Master Gardener Manual and the Pest Management Guide. Once you’ve completed the technical portion of the training and move from trainee to intern, you need to volunteer in any of our projects for 50 hours to achieve Master Gardener status. Volunteer opportunities are normally vast. If you enjoy working with children, there are opportunities at the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens and working with our VCE 4-H. If you prefer seniors, there are opportunities with the Therapy Gardens and independent living/nursing homes. Working the Help Desk at the South Boston Farmers Market or in the office are good for some people. Second Saturdays at the Halifax Farmers Market are a fun way to help the public by tool sharpening, make and take Fairy Garden for kids, make and take hypertufa and dividing perennials. If none of those suit your fancy, you can create a project for something important to you. Applications for the course will be accepted through December 31, 2020. Due to all Halifax County buildings being closed to the general public, if you are interested in taking the Master Gardener course you can send an email to or call and leave a message at the Extension Master Gardener Help Desk at 434-830-3383. You will be contacted by Bill McCaleb, the Master Gardener Coordinator to discuss your interest in the class and have an application sent to you. We hope you will consider joining the 2021 Master Gardener course. You’ll make new friends and learn more about gardening to help others garden effectively Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.