Volunteers go virtual

Master Gardeners sprout online viewers

Megan Pleasanton

Once Delaware Governor John Carney issued a state of emergency March 13, 2020, Delaware State University responded with a mandate limiting interpersonal meetings to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus. This policy prompted Megan Pleasanton, Extension educator and program coordinator, and the Kent County Master Gardeners to begin planning ways to adapt to this new normal. The Virtual Master Gardener Workshops were developed to provide virtual, sustainable gardening education via ZOOM to the community. Master Gardener Volunteers prepare and deliver the presentations on a variety of gardening topics.

Since last May, Megan and the volunteer Master Gardeners have planned and filmed 12 sessions, each at least one hour long. These Zoom sessions are then packaged by the information coordinator for the College of Agriculture, Science and Technology, and posted to the college's YouTube account and the Extension web page.  Topics range from growing tomatoes in Delaware, to fall lawn care, to creating a kitchen herb garden.  

All videos can be found here: 

Kent County Master Gardener Virtual Workshop videos

    "Our virtual workshops have been super beneficial to the community during this difficult time" Megan said. "People are spending much more time at home and that allows them to enjoy the many benefits of gardening."  

    Megan said that victory vegetable gardens are making a comeback because people are choosing to live more sustainably and they want to know where their fresh vegetables are coming from. This renewed interest has prompted the Master Gardeners to develop a mini module vegetable series, which is set to launch Spring 2021. Through their virtual programming efforts, the Master Gardeners have realized a two-fold increase of participants over in-person classes. As such, Megan promises that virtually accessible classes will continue to be offered even once in-person classes resume. 

    "We have had many people tell us that they enjoy this virtual learning because they are in wheelchairs or have compromised immune systems and would not be able to participate otherwise," said Megan. "Over the last few months, we have also noticed that our clientele is changing and many of the participants are viewing from states other than Delaware."  In 2020, the Kent County Master Gardener Virtual Workshop Series engaged more than 480 participants through workshop outreach. Overall, the success of this virtual learning program can be attributed to Master Gardener volunteers and their determination to continue educating Delawareans while adapting to an ever-changing, technical world.

    Selected workshop recordings



    Ask a
    Master Gardener



    Garden Monsters



    The Kitchen
    Herb Garden