Sampson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program (SCEMGV)

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

Article submitted by Mary Burke-Bass, President of the Sampson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

What is this? Who are they? What do they do?

Let me tell you something about the SCEMGV program. First, it is an extension of Sampson County Cooperative Extension that supports the horticulture program and agent.

Since 1979, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers have been guiding homeowners in making environmentally sound decisions in their gardens, lawns, and landscapes. Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGV) work with NCCE to provide gardeners with unbiased, research based information.

Under the guidance of extension agents, volunteers have 40 hours of training. They pass an exam and complete a 40-hour volunteer service internship. To remain an active volunteer, hours are required in service and continuing education each year.

You can find a EMGV learning how and taking care of ornamental and edible plants, vegetables, flower gardening, trees, pests, etc. As an EMGV, we work to improve our own gardens, help our neighbors and help with gardens in the community.

A EMGV is someone who learns everyday, shares the knowledge they have acquired, works side by side with other EMGVs, children and senior citizens.

Here in Sampson County the EMGVs maintain a welcoming garden on US 421N. The EMGVs cleaned the area for the garden and planted the garden. Through out the year we make sure it is free from weeds and has water when needed. We keep the plants and straw replenished. Next time you are traveling on US 421 North, take notice and enjoy the work of the SCEMGVs. If you visit the Sampson County History Museum, you can enjoy a herb garden as you pass through the back door of the main house onto the grounds of the museum. If you are with a group, you may hear comments about the different herbs on each side of the ramp. During the year EMGVs check on this garden, weeding, cutting and replacing plants when needed. Through out your visit you may see bouquets of dried yarrow gathered from the garden.

So far, in 2015 the SCEMGVs have presented a seminar on Herbs — which was free to the public. We visited a day lily farm and attended a class on hybridizing day lilies. We visited a lavender farm learning the correct method of harvesting lavender and the difference between culinary lavender and other types of lavender. It is in our plans to attend the “Dig It” Exhibit at the NC Museum of Science this month. Therefore, it is not all work; we sneak some fun in while all the time we are learning something new.

The SCEMGVs recently assisted with the raised garden beds at Kerr School. We were working side by side with students, cleaning out the beds, adding compost and planting vegetables and seeds for fall harvest when the children return to school. It is very rewarding to work beside a child and that child looks up at you and thanks you for sharing information with them about the different things planted. One young boy thanked me for making sure he did not plant the seeds too deeply, he said, “I need to learn how to feed my family.”  These children may remember something about that day the rest of their lives. We do make a difference as Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

If you would like to speak with a EMGV, call the local Extension office, 910-592-7161 and they can assist you.

Think you would enjoy the EMGV program? Call the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office, 910-592-7161 for information. Decide if the EMGV program is right for you. Remember you are required to attend classes, give volunteers hours and continue your education throughout your time as a EMGV. As a EMGV you gain knowledge, and make life-long friends while all the time helping others and your community.