Become a Master Gardener
More than pulling weeds
Master Gardeners do love digging in the soil. But you may not realize the scope of their involvement in the community.
Minnesota Master Gardeners:
- assist University of Minnesota faculty with research projects and varietal trials
- advise city officials on how to create community gardens
- process samples at diagnostic clinics
- partner with schools to teach students about composting
- lead horticultural therapy sessions for hospital patients
- empower people to grow their own food
- work with foresters to help limit the spread of emerald ash borer
- teach homeowners sustainable ways to manage yard waste
- improve the state's water quality with shoreline plantings and rain gardens
- and much more
Master Gardeners are paraprofessionals that are vital to Extension's goal of getting research-based information to Minnesotans. If you'd like to give back to your community through projects like these, contact your local Extension office or the Master Gardener state program office and ask them to send you an application.
And don't worry — you'll probably get to pull some weeds, too.
The steps to becoming a Master Gardener
1. Be accepted by your local program
Find your county contact and request an application packet. You'll need to complete the application, have an interview and pass a background check. Sometimes a short test is given.
2. Complete the Core Course training
The Master Gardener Core Course, designated HORT 1003 through the University of Minnesota, gives you 48 class hours horticulture training. It's taught by Extension educators and faculty, and is available in the Twin Cities area, at several greater Minnesota locations, and online. Topics include soils, entomology, gardening resources, diagnostics, trees, herbaceous plants, lawn care, plant pathology, and more.
3. Complete your internship
After completing HORT 1003, your internship will continue with 50 hours of volunteer time to be completed within the first year of participation.
When your internship is done, you'll start the next calendar year as an active Master Gardener in your community.
5. Stay involved
To maintain your active Master Gardener status, you will complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and required continuing education per year.