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Gardeners' Knowledge Grows Through Classes

February 22, 1992

With just a little coaching, a novice can grow as pretty a flower or tasty a vegetable as a veteran can.

Plants happily oblige if light, soil, moisture and temperature are right. But thousands of us want more than basics and are willing to spend time, effort and money to become better gardeners.

Expert help abounds for people seeking to deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skills. Library shelves are rich in gardening books.

Just joining a garden club puts you in touch with expertise--from the old pros in the club to the horticulturists brought in for lectures. Or you can take courses--from one-day workshops to yearlong classes.

One of the best programs--combining training and volunteerism--is the Master Gardener course offered through the U.S. Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service and Land Grant institutions.

In return for 50 to 60 hours of intensive training, the Master Gardeners agree to contribute the same amount of time to volunteer projects. Some 50,000 people have qualified nationwide since the program originated in 1972. If interested, call (800) 726-4995.

Gardening authorities frequently offer their know-how on TV programs. Numerous video cassettes also are on the market. Another way to share gardening lore and technique is through computer bulletin boards offered by information services such as CompuServe and Prodigy.

Both have gardening "clubs" or "forums" in which participants ask questions or answer them. These are lively places with lots of quips and repartee.

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