Become a Master Gardener

Who are Master Gardeners?

Master Gardeners come from a variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about serving their communities and sharing gardening best practices. Master Gardeners are individuals who 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 a few. It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.

Important Dates

Before September 1, 2018 - Apply online for the core training

Steps to Become a Master Gardener

  1. Apply online by September 1, 2018 to attend the training in a location near you
  2. Be selected by your local Extension office for the Master Gardener training
  3. Pay class fee ($195 at most locations); training manuals are included in the fee. Payment is made to the ISU Extension and Outreach county office.
  4. Submit and pass the background check
  5. Complete the Extension Master Gardener core training
    • 40 hours of horticulture education offered in the fall: August through December
    • Complete pre- and post-assessment to gage how much knowledge has been acquired
    • Courses are taught by Iowa State University faculty, local horticulture experts & ISU Extension and Outreach educators
    • Topics include: Vegetables, houseplants, compost, flowers, fruits, turf grass, landscape design, woody landscape plants, plant propagation, soils, wildlife management, integrated pest management, plant pathology and entomology.
    • The core training also includes a full Saturday of hands-on workshops at Iowa State University on November 3, 2018.
  6. Volunteer in your community
    • Complete the 40 hour internship by December 31, 2019 as approved by the county coordinator. Volunteer on projects and at events to deliver horticulture education in the community.
    • Not interested in volunteering? Register for the core course as a Pro-Hort trainee ($550 fee) and receive a certificate upon completion of the training.
  7. Stay involved
    • Master Gardeners can remain active members in following years by attending ten or more hours of continuing education and contributing 20 hours or more of volunteer community service.
    • Report your volunteer and continuing education hours online by December 31st of each year.