ROSELAND, NJ — For Essex County-area residents who love gardening and love sharing their gardening knowledge with others, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Essex County invites all interested individuals to apply to become a Rutgers Extension Master Gardener by joining its classes this fall.

Beginning on Sept. 13, professors and professionals will instruct individuals in the art and science of gardening through an in-depth training program. Classes, which will be held on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through June 2018 with some additional field trips, include everything from soil testing vegetable and fruit pests and diseases to native plants and the basics of landscaping design.

According to the Rutgers Master Gardner program, participants are not required to have prior gardening skills or knowledge; only a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others.

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Most classes will be held at Garibaldi Hall at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland (621A Eagle Rock Avenue) with at least one field trip within the county. The training is provided by Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, local horticultural professionals and Rutgers Certified Master Gardeners.

Although participants will receive approximately 100 hours of horticultural instruction during the training program, the objective of the Rutgers Master Gardener training is to develop and maintain a corps of volunteers to help Rutgers Cooperative Extension provide educational programs and science-based information to the residents of Essex County.

To become a Rutgers Certified Master Gardener, participants are required to complete 60 hours of volunteer service in a Rutgers approved program or project. The program provides many project options that fit all gardening tastes and abilities.

The program fee is $275, and checks, money orders or cash will be accepted on the first day of class. Checks should be made payable to “Rutgers University.” Should the program fee present a hardship, interested parties are encouraged to contact zientek@njaes.rutgers.edu.

For an application to the program, click HERE and mail to the Master Gardener Helpline Office, Garibaldi Hall, 621a Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ 07068.

Once certified, Master Gardener Volunteers provide educational services to the community, including: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing demonstration gardens; plus many other horticultural activities.

To learn more about the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Essex County, visit www.mgessex.org or the Rutgers Master Gardeners Facebook Page.

For other questions, contact the Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline of Essex County (973-228-2210). Space is limited.