Become a Master Gardener
Applications for the Master Gardener Program are no longer being accepted at this time; the training class for the fall of 2013 has been filled.
Put your email address in the form below to receive information about the Master Gardener program.
Master Gardener Volunteer Basic Training
The process of becoming a Master Gardener begins with gathering information and attending training classes. Typically, training is held once per year. All potential volunteers will: (1) complete an application and return it to the county Extension office; (2) have references collected by Extension professionals; (3) complete an interview; (4) submit to a criminal history fingerprint record check; and (5) agree to and sign the Volunteer Standards of Behavior form. In addition, each potential MGV receives a copy of the (6) Master Gardener Volunteer Program Policy Statement and (7) agree to and sign the Master Gardener Volunteer Pest Management Information Policy.
Attend the Information Session
An information session will be held for all applicants. You will be notified of this session when application acceptance is closed.
At this session there will be the opportunity to meet with Ohio State University Extension faculty and Master Gardeners for an in-depth look at the Master Gardener program. The answers to any questions you might have regarding training, volunteer opportunities, and special events will be handled.
Complete an Application
Applications for the next Master Gardener class are not yet available.
Meet with the program’s selection committee for a personal interview. Discuss your primary interests, skills and talents and ask any questions you may have about the Master Gardener Program. Applicants are chosen on a competitive basis.
Because enrollment in the Master Gardener Program is limited, not all applicants will be able to enter the upcoming training session. Mail notification will either indicate acceptance or notification that your application will be kept on file. You will be notified when the next class is scheduled. Also, if you have applied but are unable to participate in the current year’s program, your application will be kept on file.
Pay Course Fee and Background Check
A fee to cover training and materials is due upon acceptance into the program and must be paid prior to the first class. For the Class of 2011, that fee is $250. Financial assistance may be available upon the demonstration of need. Due to Master Gardener work with children and other vulnerable populations, fingerprinting and a criminal background check are also required to be conducted and processed prior to the first class. Fingerprinting and criminal background check information will be provided upon acceptance into the program. Prior fingerprint checks are not accepted by OSU.
Classes meet from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. one day a week for 14 weeks. Attendance is mandatory. Should illness or emergency force an absence, arrangements can be made to get that particular day’s lecture information.
Classroom training centers around the Master Gardener Training Manual and lectures presented by Ohio State University Extension faculty and staff. Quizzes on the training manual will be administered. Also required will be a plant, weed & disease portfolio and an insect collection. Details on these projects will be discussed at the first class session.
The Master Gardener Training manual, provided by OSU Extension, provides the framework for classroom instruction. Extension faculty members,
all experts in the specific areas of horticulture, build on the manual’s basic information to give trainees greater breadth and depth of horticultural
Topics covered in training include:
■ soils and fertilizers
■ entomology, pesticides and integrated pest management
■ plant pathology
■ plant propagation
■ herbaceous and woody ornamentals
Focus is on selecting, growing and maintaining healthy and attractive plants in the residential landscape. Volunteer opportunities are presented throughout the course. All information and techniques presented in the training program reflect results of the latest research conducted by the Ohio State University and other leading educational institutions.
Complete the Final Exam
Work alone or team up with fellow trainees to complete this comprehensive take-home test. Completion requires reference to the Master Gardener Training Manual, lecture notes, OSU Extension Fact Sheets and Bulletins, and various publications available in the Extension Resource Center.
Fulfill Your Volunteer Commitment
Volunteer opportunities abound! Share your horticultural knowledge with the community through established Master Gardener programs: devote some time to educating others (adult and child-oriented programs); represent the Master Gardener Program at home and garden shows, and other community events; answer questions phoned to the Horticultural Hotline; write for the Master Gardener newsletter; help physically or emotionally challenged people with horticultural therapy; and provide clerical or administrative support. Volunteering at approved Master Gardener activities my begin after you have completed the course. At this time, 65 volunteer hours are required to fulfill your commitment.
Receive Your Designation of Master Gardener
New Master Gardeners are recognized at our fall Harvest Fest. Now “official,” new Master Gardeners can look forward to advanced training, fun and interesting social events, and expanded volunteer opportunities.
To keep Master Gardener designation active, participants must fulfill yearly continuing education and volunteer requirements. The annual commitment includes 15 Volunteer Hours and 10 Continuing Education Hours, plus MG dues of $20.00, all due in November.