MIDDLESEX COUNTY EARTH CENTER - A new season of Master Gardener classes will be starting soon at the Middlesex County EARTH Center in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, located at 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick.

The Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained in earth-friendly gardening and environmental principles. This is a year-long program that includes lectures and hands-on learning.

Lecture classes meet for three hours once per week from mid-September through mid-April and include some outdoor time in a County park. The “hands-on” garden portion of the class meets weekly from April through mid-September (every other week in summer). During these sessions, new students will create and care for demonstration vegetable and herb gardens.

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The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County is offering both daytime and evening sessions for the lecture portion of this program. Optional orientation is scheduled for6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 for the Thursday evening class and 9:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8. for the Friday morning class.

The program officially starts on Sept. 14 and 15. The class is open to all New Jersey residents.

Topics covered in the program include: sustainable gardening techniques; composting; creative methods of conserving resources and horticulture therapy. The program also requires participants to volunteer some hours of service toward Extension projects, activities and events throughout the year.

"Growing your own plants, vegetables and flowers can beautify your home, provide tasty produce and even reduce stress and improve health," said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios.  “To learn the newest techniques and get the best out of your garden, register now for one of these informative sessions.”

“Middlesex County has always been committed to preserving its environment and its natural beauty,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. “Joining the Master Gardener program is a great way for residents to live a healthier lifestyle and take part in that commitment.”

There is a $425 tuition fee, which covers books and materials. Those interested in joining the program can call the EARTH Center at 732-398-5262 for more information or visitwww.middlesexcountynj.gov and search Master Gardeners.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension educational programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.