While most backyard gardeners have put their tools away for the winter, some are thinking ahead to next spring and how they can improve on 2014.  For those seeking the knowledge to take their gardening to the next level, the University of Illinois offers a Master Gardener program.  The training consists of weekly sessions that run from January through April.

The Master Gardener training will be held on Tuesdays, January through April, and rotates between Madison and Monroe, and St. Clair Counties.  Master Gardener Sarah Ruth says there are a couple of ways to get certified.

Click here for Ruth's comments

Participants get more than 60 hours of in-depth instruction on such topics as soils, insect and disease control, flowers, trees, shrubs and other ornamentals, fruit and vegetable production, and basic landscaping.  At all locations, classes run from 9am-3:30pm.  Registration for the program is $225 which includes a copy of the Illinois Master Gardener manual and attendance to the training classes.   For more information, call 618-939-3434.

(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com )