You are probably wondering what right do I have to call myself a “Master Gardener”? Do I have lots of degrees in horticulture or environmental science…nope. Have I worked on a farm? Nope. Do I love plants?
When I was a kid in Indiana, my dad and I planted tomatoes and bachelor buttons in the back yard. That began a lifelong love of getting my hands muddy and watching seeds transform into beautiful plants. Of course, that is in a state where most of the soil is very plant friendly.
Then I moved to the high desert region of New Mexico.
After a really disappointing year or two I started looking around to find out what I was doing wrong and discovered a program supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – The Master Gardeners! Every state runs programs which focus on what folks need to know about gardening in their area. Every year there is a set of classes taught by university instructors and other experts in Botany, plant diseases, entomology, climate, and anything else relevant to the area.
Anyone can take the classes and get mentored. Part of the agreement to earn the title of Master Gardener is to turn around and assist the local county department of agriculture by helping residents of the area with their gardening challenges.
I became an Albuquerque Master Gardener over 10 years ago and have enjoyed the camaraderie of over a hundred others who love plants. Sometimes I come up with wacky solutions to problems or have unusual insights – so I started writing a series of articles and books. One of my specialties was inspired by by career – as a certified aviation weather forecaster I give lectures to the new MG candidates on how to deal with high desert climates.
Below are links to some of the articles published – enjoy!