Helping others learn to grow
The mission of the Missouri Master Gardener extension program is “helping others learn to grow.” The Master Gardener Program provides in-depth horticultural training to individuals throughout Missouri who then volunteer their time applying what they have learned to help others in their communities to learn about gardening and environmental education. The Master Gardener Program throughout Missouri promotes and raises public awareness of the University of Missouri Extension as a source of unbiased, research-based gardening information.
Through activities such as extension hotlines or answer services, workshops, speaker’s bureaus, garden show booths and demonstration projects, Master Gardeners provide gardening information to thousands of Missourians each year.
To become trained as a Master Gardener, an individual must attend a 30-hour classroom core course training. Then the Master Gardener trainee is required to give 30 hours of volunteer service back to their community in approved University of Missouri Extension activities.
For more information visit the Master Gardener website.
How can I become a Master Gardener?
If you have the desire, commitment and time to learn and want to put your knowledge and skills to work through volunteer service, then apply for admission to the Master Gardener program. The Master Gardener classes are held every year in early spring.
Enrollment and training
Like all other MU Extension services, the Master Gardener program is open to all ages, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, marital or family status. If accepted, you will be required to attend a Master Gardener training course taught by University of Missouri Extension specialists, local experts and local colleges. The training program offers a minimum of 36 hours of instruction on soils and plant nutrition; insects, disease, and weed management; plant problem solving; vegetable and organic gardening; annuals; perennials; basic landscape design; and turf management, worm farming, beekeeping, rain gardening and other topics.
What is expected of Master Gardeners?
After completing the course, Master Gardeners are required to volunteer at least 30 hours of service in the community. The volunteer activities are coordinated through the local county extension office.
Master Gardeners share their knowledge and skills in a number of ways: speaking to garden and civic clubs; working with youth or senior groups; and assisting communities with beautification projects.
Many Master Gardeners far exceed the expected 20 hours of service after receiving their Master Gardener certificate. Many continue in the program beyond the first year, motivated by their willingness to help others and the personal satisfaction derived from participating in this community service program
Each student will be distinguished as a "Certified Master Gardener" after completing the training course and fulfilling the 30-hour volunteer commitment.
Long-term membership in the program is encouraged. It is hoped that program participants will choose to volunteer well beyond the number of hours required for certification, continuing to develop new skills, increase their knowledge, exchange ideas and forge new friendships.
The services undertaken by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs, as well as the abilities and interests of the individuals. Some current Master Gardener projects include events, presentation of programs to garden clubs and other groups, basic gardening lecture series, and plant sales. Volunteers also lend their expertise at various community gardens.
Watch the video below to learn more about becoming a Master Gardener: