Growing New Gardeners

This time of year is unique on the Master Gardener schedule. Now is the time we grow new gardeners. The first few months of the year we are typically either idle or in low gear in our gardens. What better time for learning? What better time for teaching?

The Master Gardener training is underway. The program has been redesigned this year, with less “seat time”, and several hands-on workshops added. Also new is a wide range of online learning opportunities for the budding garden educator. There are 160+ trainees in the metro area classes, and over the next month or two, they will be visiting our chapter meetings and joining our volunteer efforts. Perhaps we should give some thought to how we welcome them.

Do you remember? Your first chapter meeting - lots of people busily conversing with others? Maybe one or two people you recognize from your classes, but never talked to? What am I supposed to do, you thought, barge into a conversation with people who know way more than me?  Do you remember your first volunteer assignment? Maybe you helped with one of the vegie sales, again finding friends talking to friends, getting the sense that everyone knows what they’re doing except you.

If you’re still with us, you probably got lucky. One of the Master Gardener “veterans” sought you out, spent time with you, hooked you up with others, helped you see that being a veteran doesn’t mean you know everything. You got lucky, and discovered how much this group needs new people.

It’s payback time. Discover a new person. Help them find their way. Learn what they can do. Hook them up with others who need their talent. Its part of being a Master Gardener Educator. Growing a gardener is a job that needs doing, and like most of the jobs around here, it can be very satisfying!