The Colorado Master Gardener Program: Planting Gardens, Growing People
The Colorado Master Gardener Program
in Teller County
In Teller County, the CMG Program is small with thirteen highly energized CMG volunteers who help county residents find success with gardening activities in this high altitude community.
In the Spring of 2010, we held a High Altitude Gardening and Landscaping Class. Topics covered included soil preparation, trees/shrubs, wildlife, starting seeds, transplanting, watering and mulching, water law and rainwater harvesting, what grows at 7500+ feet, frost dates, microclimates, season extending ideas, and greenhouse gardening.
In the fall, we followed up with a Putting Your Beds to Rest and Planning for Spring Class. Topics covered included soil amending and mulching, what grows here, fall planting, spring preparation, transplanting to indoors, bulbs, indoor gardening and water regulations.
Sponsored a Junior Master Gardener Program, working with children in a greenhouse vegetable production. In the final "feast" we harvested various squah, peppers, tomatoes, and created vegetable kabobs. A 13 year-old told us "we better cook something else because his older brother (14 years) wouldn't eat them". He was informed that his brother was on his second helping to which the naysayer replied, "well this is different because we grew them".
Other outreach events included:
- We held our first distance education class for CMG apprentices.
- Answered questions and provide information at the Woodland Park Farmers’ Market, June 11 through September 24th.
- Wrote eight articles for the local paper including: growing vegetables, container gardening, high altitude flowers, keeping wildlife out, perennials for fall, ornamentals, bulbs and other fall plantings, and bringing herbs indoors.
- Partnered with the local Habitat for Humanity team to provide landscaping and plant suggestions.
- Mentored with the Gateway Elementary Junior Master Gardener program with education, plant selection, and design for a rehab site at the school.
- Maintained a demonstration flower garden with native species at a plot in Woodland Park.
- Staffed an information booth at Wal-Mart to provide education on what grows best, how to supplement, etc.
- Mentored a youth take gardening through 4-H and several CMGs set up appointments for the youth to visit their property and discuss what they grew, growing techniques, microclimates, etc.
Education for Volunteers
- Basic training for CMG volunteers is provided at the Teller County Extension Office via distance education technology. The interactive classes classes meet on Thursdays, January through April.
- Teller County Extension offers CMG volunteers a variety of continuing education opportunities..
- With the close proximity to Colorado Springs and Pueblo, CMG volunteers may attend continuing education opportunities sponsored by CSU Extension in these counties
- Partnering with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program provided continuing education on native plants.
- A local workshop provided education on noxious and poisonous weeds.
- CMG volunteers may also participate in distance education class offer by the Colorado Master Gardener Program.
- CMG volunteers: 12
- Annual volunteer hours: 500
- Annual value of volunteer time: $11,000
CSU Extension, Teller County Office
112 North A Street
PO Box 368
Cripple Creek, CO 80813-0368
- Mark Platten, County Extension Director