What is a Master Gardener?
Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in gardening. They are trained volunteers who work in partnership with Texas AgriLife to educate the public and enhance the quality of life in the community by promoting sustainable gardening practices. This includes soil testing and improvement, efficient watering systems and practices, integrated pest management, and choosing plants appropriate for the area.
What really sets Master Gardeners apart is their special training in horticulture and their enthusiasm. In exchange for their training, Master Gardeners contribute time as volunteers, working through their Extension office to supply horticultural-related information to their communities.
Is the Master Gardener Program right for me?
- Am I eager to take part in a practical and in-depth training program?
- Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
- Do I have enough time to attend training and to complete the volunteer service?
If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardener program may be for you.
When accepted into the Master Gardener program, you will attend a Master Gardener training course. It is taught by Texas AgriLife Extension specialists, agents, and local experts.
The program offers a minimum of 50 hours of instruction that covers topics including plant development, soil characteristics and plant nutrition, water conservation, Earth-Kind practices and landscaping, pest, weed and disease management, vegetable gardening, home fruit production, as well as ornamental trees and shrubs, and garden flowers.
In exchange for training, participants are asked to volunteer time to their County Extension program. At least 50 hours of volunteer service within one year following the training is required to earn the title of “Certified Texas Master Gardener.”
The type of service done by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs, and the talents and interests of the Master Gardeners. Some Master Gardeners answer telephone requests for information related to gardening. Others may speak to local groups and conduct workshops. They may help establish community garden projects or assist their agent with news releases related to gardening.
Master Gardeners are representatives of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas A&M System. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Volunteers can use the title “Certified Texas Master Gardener” only when engaged in Extension-sponsored activities.
Following their training and first year of service, participants become certified Master Gardeners. Each following year, re-certification includes a 12 hours of volunteer service and 6 hours of continuing education.