Texas County is blessed with a lot of wonderful people, and this includes the volunteers of the Texas County Master Gardeners.
The Master Gardener Extension Program was first created in 1972 by Washington State University to provide horticultural information to the public with the assistance of trained volunteers. Early success led other states to develop similar programs and the Missouri Master Gardener Program was started in 1984. Since that time, volunteer groups of Master Gardeners across Missouri have been involved in educational events and projects related to gardening and home horticulture. Statewide there have been over 28,000 hours of volunteer hours recorded by Master Gardeners just this year alone.
The Missouri Master Gardeners have a long and productive history in Texas County. The group has been active and involved in numerous educational and awareness raising activities related to home horticulture and vegetable gardening. This has included demonstrations and educational programs, and at one time managed a community garden in Houston used for hands-on training.
Master Gardener volunteers were instrumental in establishing the high tunnel “jail garden” at the Texas County Justice Center and have provided technical assistance and training there over the years. They have also worked with the Texas County Health Department in their Healthy Schools Healthy Communities initiative.
Other than the current group of Texas County Master Gardeners based in the Houston, there had once been the Tri-County Master Gardeners in Mountain Grove that included volunteers from Texas, Wright and Howell Counties.
The current group of Master Gardeners have continued to support the community by serving as a distribution coordinator for donations of garden supplies, seeds and plants that are made from area retailers. The seeds are made available to the public free of charge in the four public libraries and the Houston Visitors Center. Supplies are distributed to schools, as well as the Justice Center garden.
Future the plans of the Texas County Master Gardeners include hosting speakers on various topics related to gardening and food production. The public will be invited and anyone that is interested is welcome to participate.
The Master Gardeners are currently planning to host an on-line event following the theme of “After the Harvest” with the topic food preservation. This event will be held on at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 using the online Zoom platform. Using the online format will allow people to participate from the comfort of their home and not worry about gathering with a large group of people. For people interested in participating in this Master Gardener event but not familiar with Zoom, the Extension office will also hold a complementary, instructional event called “Do You Zoom?” that will introduce the online format to those who are just getting started.
For more information the Texas County Master Gardeners, the upcoming online program, or the training on Zoom, call me or email me.