Junior Master Gardener’s Program

Now Enrolling!
2017 Junior Master Gardener Program

Classes start March 7, 2017
Tuesday mornings 10:00 to 11:30 in Winchester

Learn about horticulture, gardening and vegetables and soil and bugs and so much more.  You will be a student gardener from March 7 to June 3 and then you will get to plant in the garden at our vegetable garden on N. Kent St and Sharp St. You will garden throughout the summer. All the produce is donated to the C-CAP program in Winchester. If you are interested, call Tammy Epperson at the Extension Office at 540-665-5699 or email at tepperso@vt.edu

To see the class schedule, click here.

The Junior Master Gardener Program

The Junior Master Gardener program planning started in the fall of 2009. The Master Gardeners and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service were interested in teaching children the basics of gardening as well as giving back to the community. Our goal was to do classroom training over the winter months and then get the students into the garden to plant and care for it through the summer. The program teaches throughout the garden season and the vegetables they grow are donated to the C-CAP program of Winchester. This is a non-denominational group that provides support to the homeless and underprivileged of Winchester.

The students and the parents agree to garden throughout the summer and preform the tasks to keep the garden alive. Once a week the children harvest the vegetables and bring it to C-CAP.

The children attend classes once a week from 10:00 to 11:30 and learn about gardening, ecology, water resources, pollution, herbs, nutrition, bugs and jobs in the hort industry, etc. We try to give them an over view of how gardening is important to everyday life and how it effects their community.

We want them to learn, put their learning into practice and give the community the results of their labor.

We planted the garden in the spring of 2010. The use of the land was donated. We had a volunteer come in and rototill the ground. It was an old lot. The kids came and shifted through the dirt and found pieces of pottery and items probably left over from an old livery stable or farm. This lot is in the middle of Winchester, and hadn’t been used for many years. We are still improving the soil and the site.

That first year we got plants donated by our volunteers. We used old fence wire for trellis. We got some seeds left over from a store and seeds from volunteers.

The children got water from the town run through a bucket system. Luckily, we had a volunteer who bought us a hand pump.  After that we didn’t have to lug the water bucket by bucket from the stream.

We partner with the VCE 4-H Extension staff.  They provide the “paperwork” and back up to the program. The Master Gardeners volunteer to teach the children and they volunteer to help in the garden over the summer months. We make a ‘contract’ with the children and the parents that they will maintain the garden and continue the program throughout the growing season.

We have started to buy long term items that are needed. We have some garden tools. Rotary of Winchester helped us buy a tool shed.  Southern States donated a small water tank. We have are continuing to improve our garden with borrowed and donated equipment.