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Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 -- 12:29 PM

Are your tomatoes getting eaten alive? Are mysterious insects feasting on your rosebushes? What is ?smut gall?? There?s finally a place to get your tough gardening questions answered.

UW-Extension is teaming up with Clark County Master Gardeners for a special hotline this summer.

It?s called the Ask the Master Gardener program. Beginning next Wednesday, two master gardeners will be at the UW-Extension Office at the Courthouse the second and fourth Wednesdays of June, July, August and September. They?ll be there from 1-3 p.m. and you either call them with your questions, or bring in your plants, insects, weeds, or other pests you have questions about.

Donna Streiff is a Master Gardener Volunteer. Well, she says, there might be no such thing as a Master Gardener.

"The training we have is twelve weeks of training three hours at a time. 36 hours of training on things like soil, plants, diseases, pests, pruning and all kinds of things," Streiff says.

After going through the training, volunteers must put in dozens of hours of community service to retain their certification.

But, it?s been worth-it for Streiff. She always liked growing things, but now she feels she knows how things grow, what causes problems and how to fix those problems.

"It was just kind of 'by gosh and by golly' before. Now, you have some more scientific research-based information to help you become a better gardener," she explains. "Why did my plant die? Now, I think know why."

And now that she has the knowledge, she?s excited to help other people get growing. In fact, before all the training, she had plenty of questions.

"Oh, why do my tomatoes get blight in the summer, why do things grow better in certain places," she recalls, "just ways to look at, if you have something wrong with your plant, what are some things to look for to give you clues on how to fix it."

For more info, you can call 743-5121.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.