Become a Linn County Master Gardener

We are still planning on having Master Gardener training this fall, but that may change. Please check this page for updates throughout the spring and summer. If you've already applied for the program, we'll be in touch if plans change.

Applications for Linn County close on May 31. You can still register with ISU, but you will be added to a waiting list after May 31.


Who are Master Gardeners?

Master Gardeners are community members from a wide variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. They have taken the Master Gardener training and share their time and expertise as volunteers in community gardens, city beautification projects, and farmers markets to name only a few areas. They love to share their knowledge and give back to the community as volunteers. Any resident of Linn County is invited to apply to become a Master Gardener and become a member of the 2020 Class.

What's the process?

  • Fill out an application form from ISU. 
  • Fill out an application form from Linn County. This will be sent to you after you fill out the ISU application form. All applications must be returned by the end of May for consideration.
  • Attend an Open House in June to get more details about being a Master Gardener.
  • Be selected by your local Extension office for the training.
  • Submit and pass the background check.
  • Once the background check clears, pay the class fee ($195 at most locations); training manuals are included in the fee. You may apply for a stipend for reimbursement of the fee after you complete the training and your initial year of volunteering.


What's involved in the training?

Classes begin in September with in-class days on Tuesdays or possibly Thursdays (if scheduling requires). You are also required to review webinars online as part of coursework.

Courses are taught by Iowa State University faculty, local horticulture experts & Extension educators. Topics include: Houseplants, flowers, turf grass, vegetables, landscape design, woody landscape plants, plant propagation, fruits, soils, wildlife management, integrated pest management, plant pathology and entomology.

Core training is offered in our county with a combination of webinars and face-to-face sessions. We are partnering with Benton County this year and we will have one entire Saturday in Vinton in September.

The core training also includes a full Saturday of hands-on workshops at Iowa State University in October.

You'll also complete a pre- and post-survey to assess how much knowledge has been acquired.


What happens after the training?

After you complete your training, you'll volunteer in the community at approved Master Gardener projects throughout the county. You'll need to complete 40 hours of volunteering by December 31 of the year following the completion of your training. Projects include working in community gardens with community volunteers, administrative work, answering questions from the public, assisting at our plant sale--there are many different opportunities available.

Thereafter, you'll remain active by attending ten or more hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours or more of volunteer community service.


Not interested in volunteering?

Register for the core course as a Pro-Hort trainee ($550 fee) and receive a certificate upon completion of the course.

If you have any questions, call the Extension Office at 319.377.9838.

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