Gardening has always been a popular activity for many, and recent statistics show an increased interest in gardening with a possible ten-fold growth in the number of home gardens.

Whatever your gardening interest or reasons, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (UK CAFE) through the Scott County Cooperative Extension Horticulture Program is designed to provide useful, up to date, research-based information to assist you with your gardening or operational needs. 

The Scott County Extension Horticulture Program offers a multitude of resources for home gardeners and commercial horticultural operations. Diagnostic services are provided for problems relating to plants, fruits, vegetables, lawn, shrubs, trees, etc., in addition to insect/ garden pest identification and soil pH and nutrient level testing. Our free of charge soil testing also includes fertilizer recommendations for optimal plant growth. All these services are provided by me, your local Horticulture Agent, Sharon Flynt, with the assistance of UKCAFE Extension Specialists and resources. 

Education is important to the Scott County Cooperative Extension Horticulture Program and because of that we offer a wide variety of learning opportunities. The Growing Gardeners series of courses, pre COVID-19, offered classes on butterfly gardening, herbs, asparagus, spring bulbs, vegetable gardening, live wreath making, floral arranging, and unusual gardening methods, such as Kokedama gardening.

In the current pandemic situation, we still strive to have as many learning opportunities as possible, only socially distanced through virtual productions such Horticulture Webinar Wednesday, The Everyday Gardener Fall Classes, and “pick up and plant packets” in the extension office foyer. 

Our program also supports the Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner’s Victory Garden initiative, with the giveaway of Victory Garden kits. This fall we are offering the first State-wide Virtual Master Gardener Volunteer Certification Program. This program is for any adult with a gardening interest and who wishes to volunteer their knowledge in helping the Cooperative Extension Horticulture Program serve the local community.

 The program is an intensive training that covers a wide range of horticulture topics. It is divided into two sections: The weekly classroom instruction consists of 40 or more hours of classroom and laboratory training. Classes cover basic botany, soils, fertilizers, vegetables, fruits, entomology, pathology, turf grasses, tree, shrubs, ornamental flowers, pesticide safety, pest management, and interior plants. In addition to the training, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer time in one year before being certified as a Master Gardener. The Scott County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, already has dedicated volunteers who volunteer their time in local programs you may recognize such the Garden Expo in March, the Ward Hall Kitchen Garden, and the Georgetown/Scott County Community Garden, to name a few, but more volunteers are always needed and welcomed. 

I and my Extension Master Gardener Volunteers look forward to offering horticulture knowledge in the coming months. In fact, be sure to check out this spot, ‘The Garden Spot’ in November for advice on Houseplants by Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Steve Becklehimer.

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