Each fall Master Gardener Vanderburgh County Horticulture Extension Educator Larry Caplan conducts Master Gardener training at Ivy Tech.  Cost of the 15-week class is $125 per person. A limited number of scholarships are available for people who live or work with low-income neighborhoods.

The course covers basic plant and soil science, pest diagnosis and control, plant nutrition, and how to grow and maintain vegetable and flower gardens, fruit plantings, lawns, and woody plants.

The classes start off with plant science: parts of the plant, how they work, and how the environment affects plants.  Next is soil science: the reasons for adding organic matter to soil, proper irrigation techniques, plant nutrition and fertilization, and how to deal with yard waste and create compost.

The succeeding set of classes teaches how to identify plant pests (including insects, weeds, and diseases), as well as the broad categories that make up pest control, concentrating mostly on non-chemical methods. 

Most of the classes cover specific gardening categories: home fruit production, (tree fruit and berry crops), vegetable gardening, trees and shrubs (the proper way to plant, prune, and maintain woody landscape plants), lawn care, and landscaping with flowering annuals and perennials.

Everyone who signs up receives a 600-page manual, full of colorful illustrations, that covers in-depth explanations of the topics. Those who complete the semester and pass the final exam will be invited to join SWIMGA and partake of their continuing education as well as volunteer on a wide variety of gardening activities.

For more information on the Master Gardener classes, or to get a registration packet, please contact the Purdue Extension Service at (812) 867-4935, or visit http://tinyurl.com/2017MGclass.