This is less a rant than a whine. I went to a county fair this past weekend, and I was looking forward to learning which vegetable varieties the three master gardeners there had had success with. So I arrived on time for their "talk," which turned out to be a talk among themselves. When I finally got their (very grudging) attention, I asked for advice about which tomatoes would best tolerate a less sunny yard. "None of them," said master gardener #1, "you can't grow tomatoes without eight hours of sun." I said I did, so obviously you can - I was just looking to increase my yield. "Yeah, well, you need eight hours of sun for everything," said master gardener #2, "except maybe lettuce." I told her that I did very well with beans and peas, despite my insufficiently sunny yard. She shrugged and went back to gossiping with master gardener #1. Eventually master gardener #3 allowed that she liked Roma tomatoes, and I should add magnesium to the soil. All well and good, but I came away with the distinct impression that these ladies didn't know much, and what they did know, they were loath to share.
So what are the qualifications for becoming a master gardener, anyway? This was my first encounter with master gardeners, and I was, to say the least, unimpressed. Is my experience typical?