PORTLAND – The Cumberland County Cooperative Extension is offering a master gardener training course starting March 3.

A master gardener is a trained volunteer of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. They receive 45 hours of training in basic horticulture with sessions in soil science, botany, entomology, plant disease, garden problem-solving and pruning.

After the training, each master gardener agrees to “give back” 40 hours of volunteer time over a 12-month period as a participant in community-based projects around the county. The projects range from youth gardens and being a part of the school/master gardener network, to working with immigrants and/or low-income families to promote gardening interests, or as a garden angel to assist elderly or less-able individuals in gardening endeavors. Opportunities also exist for maintaining or establishing landscape beautification projects.

The training program will feature the production of vegetables, tree fruit, small fruit and herbs. The sessions will be led by Extension Educator Richard Brzozowski and include several University of Maine faculty and area gardening experts as instructors.

Participants must be residents of Cumberland County, and they are selected through an application process. Applications are available by calling the Cumberland County office of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at 1-800-287-1471 or by going to www.umaine.edu/umcecumberland/ccmg. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, Jan. 20.

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