FAIRBANKS - Gardeners who want to improve their skills may sign up for a new session of master gardener training that begins Feb. 9 in Fairbanks.

Classes will meet from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 6 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension district office at 724 27th Ave.

Longtime Extension horticulture agent Julie Riley, who taught master gardening in Anchorage for 30 years, will lead the class, which will also feature other agents and guest instructors. Riley is based in Fairbanks now.

Participants will receive 40 hours of instruction on horticultural topics, including botany, soils, vegetable and fruit production, growing organically, flowers, trees, shrubs, plant diseases, integrated pest management, weed control, and greenhouse construction and heating. After completing the course, master gardeners contribute 40 hours of volunteer service to their communities.

A $300 fee includes materials and an Alaska gardening manual. A limited number of tuition waivers are available for those with financial need. Individuals may register online or at the district office, in the Fairbanks Community Food Bank Building.

See class and registration information at http://bit.ly/mgfairbanks. For more information, contact the office at 474-1530 or Julie Riley at 907-474-2423 or jariley@alaska.edu.