Become a Master Gardener with OSU Extension Service

Application deadline extended to Jan. 11

Would you like to learn more about gardening, plants and insects? Do you like to work with people? Do you want to improve your gardening skills? Do you like to share your gardening experiences? Then the Oregon State University Extension Service Master Gardener program might be right for you.

The training is open to everyone in the Mid-Columbia area with an interest in gardening. OSU Master Gardener training is offered one time each year from mid-January to the end of March in Hood River County.

The cost of the 11-week Master Gardener training in Hood River County is $150 and includes the cost of Sustainable Gardening Reference Handbook (a 500-page resource manual) and all classroom materials.

Classes are held on consecutive Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday beginning Jan. 23 and ending on April 3. Evening classes are from 6-9 p.m.; Saturday classes begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. with an hour lunch break.

The program consists of two parts: Part one is classroom training; part two is continuing education volunteering in plant clinics and extending home gardening information to others in the community. Both parts must be completed to become a certified OSU Master Gardener.

Becoming a Master Gardener requires a time commitment to attend training and to volunteer extending home gardening information to others in the community.

Part One: Classroom training consists of 63 hours of training. A sample of gardening topics to be covered during the training are: basic botany, entomology, pruning, vegetable gardening, plant pathology, plant problem diagnosis, integrated pest management and pesticide safety, as well as other gardening topics.

Part two: Learning and volunteer hours. As with any other learning process, hands-on experience is always beneficial and quite fun.

In addition to the 63 hours of training, 55 hours of volunteer time extending home gardening information to others in the community is required. This involves volunteering to work in plant clinics at the Extension Office in Hood River, Gorge Grown and Saturday Market or other plant clinic locations during the summer. Gardening questions from the local community are researched and answered at plant clinics.

You can volunteer at other projects such as the Learning Garden demonstration area at the OSU Extension Office in Hood River, the Naturescape garden at Hood River Care Center, the Xeriscape Garden at Hood River Library, La Clinica Community Garden, the annual garden tour and teaching gardening workshops and classes to the community.

As a Master Gardener, you will work and play with some of the most talented and interesting gardeners in the community.

If you would like to apply to take the OSU Master Gardener training program in Hood River County, call 541-386-3343 or stop by the OSU Extension Office at 2990 Experiment Station Road. You can also download application forms at: Applications are available until Jan. 11.

For more information contact Elizabeth Daniel, Master Gardener program assistant, at 541-386-3343, ext. 257, or

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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