What Is the Master Gardener Program?
The University of California Master Gardener Program provides the public with UC research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscape and pest management practices. The program is administered by local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) county offices that are the principal outreach and public service arms of the University’s division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The UC Master Gardener program supports sustainable gardening practices that protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and take into consideration each gardener's lifestyle and goals.
- There are programs in 44 counties with more than 5000 Certified Master Gardeners as of January 2011
- An average of 650 Master Gardeners are trained each year for a total of more than 20,000 trained since 1980
- Master Gardeners have volunteered 258,016 hours in fiscal year 2009/2010
How does someone become a UC Master Gardener?
To become a UC Master Gardener, a person must participate in a 40- to 50-hour intensive training program consisting of lectures and demonstrations conducted by experts in their fields. To retain their certification Master Gardeners must complete at least 25 hours of service to the community every year and participate in at least 12 hours of continuing education annually.
Who are UC Master Gardener candidates?
UC Master Gardeners candidates are all ages and come from all walks of life. They have:
- A basic knowledge of landscape and food gardening
- An interest in increasing their horticultural knowledge and skills
- A desire to volunteer in their community to share what they have learned and teach gardening skills
What do UC Master Gardeners do?
UC Master Gardeners are trained to help residents of California become better gardeners. Using a variety of activities such as workshops, lectures, and garden hotlines these volunteers answer questions about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and integrated pest management using University of California research-based information.
After their training UC Master Gardeners are qualified to help the public with problems in areas such as:
- Weed Control
- Plant Problem Diagnosis
- Integrated Pest Management (insect and pest control)
- Soils, fertilizers and irrigation
- Selecting and caring for fruit and landscape trees
- Growing annuals, perennials and food crops
- Lawn care
- Vegetable Gardening
- Plant Pathology
Each county develops programs to address local needs. Some typical activities are:
- Designing, planting and maintaining demonstration gardens
- Using mass media to disseminate gardening information
- Teaching workshops, or lecturing on gardening practices
- Participating in research activities with academics within UC
- Answering gardeners’ questions via email or helplines
- Speaking to the public on horticultural and gardening topics
- Manning county fair information booths
- Consulting with gardeners to improve their landscape practices
- Educating and guiding parents and teachers in gardening practices in support of school gardens
For more information about the Shasta College Master Gardener program, please contact: Leimone Waite, firstname.lastname@example.org