Master gardeners: Who are they and how do I become one?

Are you interested in learning more about gardening and horticulture? Are you passionate about topics such as sustainable gardening or plant pathology? Do you love volunteering your time to local food efforts? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it’s time you take on the role of a master gardener.

Don’t be intimated by the name. Master gardeners are simply people who’ve completed the Master Gardener program, a group of courses designed for those who don’t require a degree in horticulture, but wish to learn more on the subject and educate others. After completing the non-credited courses, you can become qualified to teach classes in your community, provide advice to local gardeners, hold workshops for beginners, raise awareness at events like farmers’ markets and much more. No prerequisites are required, and common classes include taxonomy, pest management, sustainable gardening, soil health and entomology.  

The number of hours you’ll dedicate to the Master Gardener program might depend on the university and your prior knowledge of the subject. To become officially certified, most programs require you to take a test at the end; after being certified, you’ll remain an active master gardener by continuing to volunteer your time each year.

Master Gardener programs are offered through many land-grant universities, often by one of the college’s extension service offices. To learn more about the Master Gardener programs offered in Maryland, visit the University of Maryland Extension today. 

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