Are there any master gardeners out here? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

In your state what's involved in getting master certification? What are the benefits?

-- john (, March 10, 2002


John, I just finished the master gardener course here in NE Arkansas. The 40 hour course (five, 8 hour days) was very informative. We had several different Professors from the University give lengthy classes on many areas of gardening, i.e., fruit trees, ornamentals, vegetables, herbs, lawns, etc. However, in return for this education, we are required to give back 40 hours in community service. The county in which I live has a structured Master Gardener program with several sanctioned projects to work on in order to obtain those hours. I am volunteering at our local Children's Home, working in the greenhouse under the supervision of a retired professor of horticulture from Kansas State University. I'm learning a lot about gardening, to say the least. Most of the information we were exposed to during the course could be found by doing a little research, however, I don't think there is a much better teacher than "experience". Hope this helps......... Dave

-- Dave (, March 10, 2002.

One of the things that prompted this question is just a coupla weeks ago the master gardeners were hosting a one day affair locally. There were to be two workshops, each 1 1/2 hrs long and the fee for the day was $75/person. I thot that was really steep.

Are the requirements for certification the same all over the country?

-- john (, March 10, 2002.

IM taking the course now,,ILl let you know what the benifits are after Im done

-- Stan (, March 10, 2002.

Hey John, How are ya? Around here (Washington State), the certification is free. I think it's something like 80 hours of class, and in return, you do 80 hours of volunteer work as a Master Gardener for the County Extension running the program. Have you checked with your extension service? I've heard of paying for workshops put on by Master Gardeners, but I've never heard of paying for the certification.

-- Laura Jensen (, March 10, 2002.

I think the requirements are the same all over. Me and the wife both took the course here in Alabama about five years ago. 40 hours class time and then 40 hours vol time. Don't remember how much the class cost books and all around $60 each I think. Well worth it.

-- David in North Al (, March 10, 2002.

Same requirement here in Florida, as far as hours, but I don't know if there is a fee for materials. I took the Master Composter class a few years ago and there was no fee for that.

-- Elizabeth (, March 10, 2002.

Where do you people live? Here in Phoenix, AZ area the class is over $100. Seems a little steep to me.

-- Hank (, March 10, 2002.

Laura: Sorry for the confusion. The seminar I referred to was being sponsored by the certified master gardeners for the general public, not as a requirement for certification. It seemed kinda pricey to me and I was wondering if they had some need to do fund raising.

-- john (, March 10, 2002.

I am both a Master Gardener and Master Forest Owner in New York State. The MFO course was 5 days long with classes starting at 7:30 and going until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Master Gardener course was one 8 hour class per week for 12 weeks. Master gardeners here have to donate 50 hours per year to volunteer projects. The advantages in my openion is the adventure you find in dealing with people who love gardening, as well as watching the faces of children when they learn about gardening and how things grow. Master Gardeners is sponsored by the extension service and in this state they are funded by a combination of State, Federal,& County money. They are also responsible for raising a substancial part of their operating funds themselves, thus the charges for some of the classes they offer.

-- Paul (, March 11, 2002.

Here in Vermont, they are trying to make the Master Gardener program self-sustainable.....that means they charge a lot ;-) It's $215 for the class, book and print-outs. The course lasts for 14 weeks and is held at 15 interactive TV sites around Vermont.....making us all in class together.

As soon as I took the class, I shattered my ankle...ended up full of screws and metal plates, plus was in a cast for 3 years. Bummer! As soon as I was able to move around better, I became even more disabled with congestive heart failure. I have not kept up with my hours due.

I think I'll ask if they need someone who could answer questions by computer. I miss being useful and could handle that ;-)

-- Peace and Carrots Farm (, March 11, 2002.

I had been planning to get my certification this year, if I had the money in the budget, (yes, it costs money here in NC, too), but due to budget constraints on the state level, they are CANCELLING the Master Gardener program. Can you believe it??? I may go up to VA and get certified in a few years if they don't start the program back up here.

-- gilly (, March 11, 2002.

We have a program through Purdue University. Don't know the benes though...

-- Gailann Schrader (, March 11, 2002.

I became a Master Gardener in Georgia ten years ago, and I don't recall there being any fee. But many of the projects that MGs do require materials like soil, plants, lumber for raised beds. Since local and state governments have cut back their funding, MGs have to raise their own money, hence the workshop fees. They also might be paying a speaker or facilitator.

-- Katherine in KY (KyKatherine @, March 11, 2002.

My wife and I are both master gardeners through the Purdue U program. Here in Indiana it is $50 for one and $60 for 2 and they use the same books. It is 40 hrs class and 40 hrs service. It is a great plan if you are interested in gardening and meeting people that are interested in gardening. We raised 2 acre garden and gave the produce to the aged and needy. We have a Flower and Patio Show every March for the community. We keep learning and have a lot of fun. GO FOR IT.

-- Mel Kelly (, March 11, 2002.

I think part of the reason that some areas charge might be that people who complete the course do not always fulfill their requirement for volunteer hours. I think I remember that at one time our county required a deposit to take the course which was then refunded upon completion of the volunteer commitment.

-- Elizabeth (, March 11, 2002.

Hi John....I'm a Master Gardener from Meigs County, Ohio. I've been one for about four years. I remember the course taking about 8 weeks of classes, every Tuesday. It was kind of a drive for me, but it was worth it. The local Cooperaive extension agent needed one more person to fill up the class and told me I could take it for free if I would fill up his class. I did pay for a $35.00 text book (That I adore!). We had a potluck lunch at the end of every class. I don't go to as many meetings as I would like, but I volunteer at the plants swaps and seminars, where I set up an exhibit of what going on our homestead as far as "flora and fauna" go. Our class became more of a "club" with Pres., V.P. Treas. and all, and I didn't have time to go to meetings. Just too much going on a the farm. It was a very rewarding experience...I learned alot and met some great people.

-- Harmony (, March 11, 2002.

No certification. I'll have to look into that, I didn't know you could get one for taking a class, thought it was an apprentice thing. I learned gardening from hanging out with 'Da' (my Mothers father) when I was a kid, he was an estate gardener, the Iris beds he planted in the 60's are so lush they are featured in magazines, they go on for what seem like miles, (the estate is pretty cool too, and the reason why the garden is featured!) My father-in-law, he was a "full time gardener" Retired. I know more about 'raising', not growing mind you, a fig tree in NY then anyone would need to know.

-- Kathy (, March 11, 2002.

When we first moved back here from Seattle (King Co. has an absolutely wonderful Master Gardener program!), our county agent didn't even know what the program was. Evidently, it's administered on a county-by-county basis, and the agents can design the program however they want. Missoula has a first-rate program, as does Billings; I don't know about the rest of the state. So check with your county agent first.

-- Marcia in MT (, March 11, 2002.

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