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Gardening: Master Gardeners are in on Saturdays

The Master Gardener Plant Clinic is adding Saturday hours.

Through September, the clinic will be open 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through the end of September at the Washington State University Spokane County Extension Office, 222 N. Havana St., just south of the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.

“We know people who work have a hard time making it down to the clinic when we were only open during the work week,” said Tim Kohlhauff, the clinic coordinator. “By being open on Saturday, they will be able to bring in their plant, bug or garden questions and get answers.”

The Master Gardeners are making other changes, as well. Starting next winter, they will be offering Master Gardener training and certification on an annual basis instead of the biannual classes they have traditionally had.

“A lot of people are interested in becoming Master Gardeners,” Kohlhauff said. “Asking them to wait two years to apply for the program didn’t seem fair.”

To become a Master Gardener you must apply to the program and if accepted, go through 16 weeks of training and then serve 40 hours of volunteer time each year. The course is a combination of online study and in-person classwork that gets you ready to answer garden questions from the public.

“The best kind of person to become a Master Gardener is someone who loves to garden and share what they know with people,” said Kohlhauff. Applications will be available in late August on the Master Gardener website: www.spokane-county. eastside/.

Speaking of the Master Gardener website; there are a number of fact sheets on the site you can download for free. Want to know about beneficial insects? Check out the list of fact sheets under Basic Gardening Skills. How about getting rid of aphids? Check out the Home and Garden Pest section. Want to research drip irrigation; check out Vegetables and Herbs. The website also has a list of any upcoming workshops and gardening events.

Home gardeners can bring in samples to get help with plant or bug problems. For a solid diagnosis, bring in samples that show the problem clearly. It helps to bring in both damaged and healthy plant parts and pictures so that volunteers can have enough material to work with. You can also email questions and pictures to mastergardener@

In 2012, the Master Gardener Foundation of Spokane County was established to enhance and supplement the programming of the WSU Spokane County Master Gardener program and its volunteers through membership, fundraising activities, donations and grants. Community members are welcome to join. Membership benefits include reduced class fees, participation in garden tours and participation in the Member Reward Program, including discounts at local nurseries. Business members receive special recognitions. Membership information and events are available at Master_Gardeners.html.