Gardening help available from OSU Extension

Staff Reports

“The home gardener is part scientist, part artist, part philosopher, part ploughman,” said sociologist John Whiting. No doubt every home gardener has agreed with this sentiment at one time or another. What starts out as hope in the spring can sometimes lead to disaster or less than ideal results by the middle of summer. Sometimes things are out of our control, other times prevention and intervention are necessary.

To help address gardening questions and more, the Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) Helpline will be available through the Ohio State University Extension — Miami County office. Residents of the county can call, email or stop in with a sample plant, weed or bug for volunteers to examine and identify. And best of all, the service is free.

New this year, the helpline will operate every Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through August with the exception of Memorial Day and the week of the Miami County Fair (Aug. 12-18), during which, they will be onsite in the Horticulture building to answer your questions.

The helpline is staffed by trained Master Gardener volunteers who have completed a rigorous program and are highly knowledgeable about a variety of topics and issues related to horticulture and gardening. These volunteers have collectively logged thousands of hours through their work with local community gardens, Head Start preschools, Habitat for Humanity and many more. The helpline is part of their mission to provide education services to their community through a variety of different forms which also include clinics, presentations and other horticulture activities.

Working in tandem with county extension personnel, the Master Gardeners are backed by the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Science research faculty, which allows our helpline volunteers to answer your questions using the latest, unbiased information.

The helpline is designed to connect community members with MGVs to answer questions on trees, gardening, insects, herbs, flowers, wildlife, landscaping and fruit. You may call the helpline at (937) 440-3945 or you may stop by the office any day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or on Mondays to meet a Master Gardener face-to-face.

If you are bringing a sample to the office at 201 W Main St, Troy, please note, in most cases, more is better. A 1-2 foot branch, sod samples about dinner plate size, plants that are just beginning to show symptoms rather than dead specimens, etc. In order to assist you in the most efficient way, provide as much information as possible so that is easier for the trained volunteer to assist. If you choose to email your question to volunteers at, include a picture. Remember, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Master Gardener volunteers come from all backgrounds, but have a common passion for gardening and sharing information. The Miami County Extension program currently has more than 60 volunteers. If you are interested in the program, contact the office for more information.