NC State Extension Publications


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We extend a huge thank you to the many contributors who made this book possible. To all the N.C. Cooperative Extension horticulture agents and Master GardenerSM volunteers who contributed countless hours providing content, editing, and technical support; obtaining photographs and graphics; proofreading, and more proofreading; and for their faith and grit in staying engaged throughout this multiyear project. To all the NC State Extension specialists who shared their expertise. To Dr. Tom Melton, Deputy Director, NC State Extension and Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Program Leader, whose vision and start-up funding made this project possible. To Dr. Richard Bonanno, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Director, NC State Extension, for helping us identify options for printing. To Dr. Wayne Buhler, Interim Department Head for the NC State Department of Horticultural Science, for his content contributions as well as financial support of the project. To Dr. Brian Whipker, Interim Assistant Department Head for NC State Department of Horticultural Science, for sharing his expertise in developing both Internet and print books. To Dr. Joe Neal, Department Extension Leader, NC State Department of Horticultural Science, for his editing expertise and guidance throughout the process. To Michelle Healy, Business Services Coordinator for the NC State Department of Horticultural Science, for managing the accounting and administrative tasks flawlessly. To Barbara Scott, Wordstone Editing, and Jill Steffey for catching every errant comma and quotation mark, and dutifully checking the spelling of every Latin name. To John Beuttner, Graphic Designer, for his artistic expertise and design skills in transforming the online content into a beautiful book. To Debra Ireland for ensuring conformance with NC State Extension brand requirements and for establishing and managing the partnership with UNC Press. To Justin Moore, Director of Marketing & Communications, NC State Extension, for guiding the process of preparing a printed version of this document. To Sean Munday, Director of Budgets and Planning, NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for his optimism and skill in finding a way. And, to John McLeod at UNC Press for easing the transition from manuscript to printed handbook.

NC State Extension

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NC State University is a land-grant institution charged with serving the people of North Carolina not only through traditional academic and research programs but also through extension, education, and outreach. NC State Extension builds capacity to create prosperity for all North Carolinians, helping our state’s citizens translate research into everyday solutions through educational programs and partnerships focused on agriculture, food and nutrition, and 4-H youth development. It is the largest nonformal educational outreach unit in the 17-campus UNC system. In addition to faculty and staff, more than 70,000 Extension volunteers and citizen advisors donate their time and resources to address local needs. Their involvement in programs like the NC State Extension Master GardenerSM program is vital to the success of our efforts across the state. NC State Extension works in tandem with The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T State University, as well as federal, state, and local governments, to form a strategic partnership called N.C. Cooperative Extension. Extension professionals in all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians translate research-based information and technology from NC State and N.C. A&T into practical applications that enrich the lives, land, and economy of North Carolinians. We’re honored to be your lifelong partner, helping all North Carolinians put knowledge to work in their communities. We are NC State Extension.

The Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Program in North Carolina

Skip to The Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteer Program in North Carolina

In 1973 the Extension Master Gardener Program was created in Washington State. The North Carolina program began in Wake County in 1979, and in New Hanover County shortly after. As of September 2021, there are over 3,300 Master Gardener volunteers in North Carolina, each of whom has completed at least 40 hours of training by N.C. Cooperative Extension specialists and Extension agents as well as a 40-hour internship. Master Gardener volunteers are educators who work on behalf of and under the supervision of NC State Extension. They share unbiased, research-based, environmentally sound information, extending the reach of North Carolina’s land-grant universities, NC State University and N.C. A&T University. Master Gardener volunteers focus on garden and landscaping issues important in their local communities, including environmental stewardship, water conservation, water quality preservation, energy conservation, green waste reduction, home food production, wildlife management, sustainable communities, and health and wellness for children and adults. After completing their first-year, Master Gardener volunteers continue to volunteer in their local communities a minimum of 20 hours a year and expand their gardening knowledge through at least 10 hours of continuing education each year. Volunteers identify opportunities for lifelong learning to make an important contribution and to work with Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers as key benefits of participating in the program. In 2019, NC State Extension Master Gardener volunteers made cash, in-kind, and service contributions valued at $7.3 million. They documented 229,687 hours of service (the equivalent of 110 full-time employees), recorded 229,687 contacts, and made significant contributions to protecting environmental quality, growing healthy children, and promoting local food security. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer in your community, you may contact the Extension horticulture agent in your county.

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Feb. 1, 2022

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