Who are Master Gardeners?

“So what’s the ‘big deal’ about being a Master Gardener? I’ve been gardening for years; I know all I need to know about gardening.” “Why would anyone want to spend time being taught by Iowa State University specialists about gardening plus doing volunteer work to help out folks in the community? I wouldn’t want to miss my favorite television show for that.”

Hmm, you may think “Those folks are really missing out, Master Gardener training sounds really interesting to me.” To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
  • Am I eager to participate in the training program and complete the volunteer service?

Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?

If you answered yes to these questions, the Master Gardener program could be for you. Being a Master Gardener volunteer is fun, interesting and rewarding. As a Master Gardener you can help to educate and advise home gardeners in your community. Many newcomers and inexperienced gardeners are in great need of gardening and landscaping advice.

The program offers a minimum of 40 hours of instruction that covers topics including lawn care; ornamental trees and shrubs; insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers; and home landscape design. In exchange for this training, Master Gardeners will offer 40 hours of volunteer time back to their communities, before becoming a certified Iowa Master Gardener.

Master Gardener training will give you the skills needed to diagnose plant problems and give you the confidence to share your expertise with others. Plus, as a Master Gardener you will be able to participate in monthly meetings, tours and events while meeting other Master Gardeners in the region.

Master Gardener training will be offered starting in September, on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 pm; registration deadline is Aug. 31. Check with your local County Extension office for an application form to register for the Master Gardener training.

Did you know? In 2013, Master Gardeners in Hamilton, Humboldt, Webster and Wright counties performed a combined total of over 2,400 volunteer community service hours. As the estimated average worth of a volunteer hour is $20.93, that is a contribution of over $50,230 of volunteer service by Master Gardeners back to local communities!

Gardening Questions? Contact Yvonne McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu with your questions or for additional information on the Iowa Master Gardener program.