FREEHOLD, NJ — The deadline is January 2 to apply to become a Monmouth County master gardener — a program offered through the Monmouth County Park System, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and Brookdale Community College.

Master gardener trainees receive in-depth, hands-on training in horticulture through a program that includes instruction in plant biology, propagation, soil science and pest control.

After completing classroom and hands-on training, master gardener graduates can share their knowledge by conducting garden lectures, demonstrations, school and community gardening projects, telephone diagnostic service for callers and research.

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The 10-week program is open to Monmouth County residents. Classroom sessions will be held from February through May on Tuesday and Thursday mornings beginning February 22. At the conclusion of the classes, all master gardener trainees give 60 hours of volunteer time in participating in horticultural projects and answering calls on the county’s “horticulture helpline.”

Those who complete the training program, which costs $250, become certified master gardeners.

The application can be downloaded from the county’s website at Be sure to click on the department link to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service. Applications also are available at the cooperative extension service office at 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold.

In Monmouth County, the program is sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with the Monmouth County Chosen Board of Chosen Freeholders and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  

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