Community News Master Gardeners host class for beginners and newcomers

Community News Master Gardeners host class for beginners and newcomers

February 24th, 2016 by Myron Madden in Community North Hamilton

If you go

What: Master Gardeners entry-level course

When: March 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Where: UT Extension office, 6183 Adamson Circle

Register: Call 855-6113

Cost: $50

Gardeners new to the South often approach its soil with hesitance, but an upcoming class is about to silence the rumor that the Chattanooga area is too hot, too dry and too rocky to grow a good garden.

This March, the UT Master Gardeners are hosting an entry-level course for beginners and newcomers, helping those who can't tell a pansy from a petunia enjoy gardening success within their first year, organizers say.

"We try to give them some of the tools and some of the seeds and some of the plants," said Master Gardener Mike Payne, who started the class in 1995. "It gives them a good way that they can start to grow and not feel like they're gonna fail when they go out there."

The class covers topics such as soil improvement, turf care, herb gardening, tree care and more. Each session will be taught by Master Gardeners, experts in horticulture who volunteer in the community, along with other local specialists.

While vegetable garden and flower bed management are the main lures, participants can also win prizes provided by local merchants ranging from birdhouses to compost. Attendees will also be treated to herbal teas and herbal snacks created from materials grown in the Master Gardeners' backyards, showing beginners how they can utilize their newfound skills.

Though the class is focused on gardening in the rocky Southern soil, Tom Stebbins, Master Gardener and UT Extension agent, said the overall goal of the course is to teach beginners where to find good information.

"If you look on the World Wide Web, you see a lot of false information," Stebbins said. "It's fun information, but it's not necessarily the wisest gardening advice."

Beginners in the class will learn to utilize the resources available at UTC and connect with several local experts, as well as fellow community members interested in gardening.

"[The class] would be probably your best way to get started," said Stebbins. "Even if you knew something about gardening, it would save you a lot of time."

The classes are being held on the last four Tuesdays in March at 6:30 p.m. in the UT Extension office located off Bonny Oaks. To register, call the office at 855-6113. The combined cost for all four classes is $50.

Email Myron Madden at