Ocean County Rutgers Master Gardeners meet at the Agricultural Experiment Station building on Whitesville Road in Toms River (Known as the Ag. Building). Trained Master Gardener volunteers assist the staff there in dispensing horticultural information to the public. Maybe you have walked through our Display Garden on the way to the front door.  There are many perennials, shrubs, and native plants amongst the trees.

 

Our Master Gardeners have many committees that aid in carrying out this mission. The Helpline is open daily from 9-3 to answer phone calls regarding indoor or outdoor plants of any kind or other garden topics.  Our Diagnostics team will help with the identification of a specimen or provide the latest research information on managing a pest or disease problem. A tick brought into the Ag. Center can be identified by our Tick Lab volunteers. Soil testing for pH is another service we provide at $3 and kits are available for $20 for a complete soil analysis by Rutgers that gives nutrients in the soil and recommendations for enhancing its productivity.

 

The Master Gardeners also have “Outreach” committees that educate the public.  Volunteers assist schools and non-profits with garden design projects. They will evaluate the site, test the soil pH, help plan, and make suggestions to get the garden started. We also work with many schools through our Education Outreach. Another “Outreach” is the Speakers Bureau where a volunteer responds to a request made by a club, library, or other community group for a horticultural presentation. There are many topics from which to choose. A popular one in spring is “Container Gardens” and in autumn, “Preparing your Garden in Fall”.  Community Tables is an “Outreach” where OCMG volunteers participate in Festivals and other events in the county answering horticultural questions and often displaying a topic-of-the-day board. Our yearly Calendar, written and edited by MG volunteers, has won an International Award. It discusses a different horticultural subject each month as well as presenting monthly gardening tips. It is free to Ocean County gardeners.

 

Fall Garden Day is another successful annual event the last Friday of September (the 29th this year). It is a three-hour program at the Ag. Center, run by the Intern class, with talks and demonstrations that educate the public on how to improve their gardening skills. In 2013 this program won an International Search for Excellence Award in the “Workshop/Presentation” category. There is no charge for this program.

 

The first Plant Sale with ten volunteers came into existence in 1990 and now we have 186 active member volunteers. Our greenhouse volunteers start in February planting seeds that will grow into strong plants for our annual plant sale the first Saturday in May. At the sale, they educate plant lovers and vegetable growers by offering 500 different, unique varieties of annuals, perennials, vegetables/herbs and shrubs for purchase. More recently, we use daily temperature listings to insure good plant growth.

We manage two community-type vegetable gardens and donate the produce to OC food banks/pantries.

 

Come join us and make your garden GROW using successful planting techniques.

 

Publicity Committee, Mary Ann Stickney   Edited by Suzanne Keane