Becoming a Master Gardener
The UC Master Gardener Training Class is offered every other year in Ventura County. The next opportunity to apply will be in fall 2023. For each class, around 35 applicants are invited to become Master Gardener Trainees.
Previous horticultural training is not required, but a desire to serve the community is a prerequisite.
We are looking for candidates with:
- Desire, passion, and enthusiasm for learning, gardening and
- Previous volunteer work
- Special talents
- Availability for volunteer hours and class requirements
- Diversity: experience, age, gender, ethnicity
Once you are accepted into the training program, you must attend approximately 80 hours of class instruction in horticulture. Instructors include UCCE professionals and other experts in the community. Subject areas include basic botany, plant pathology, horticulture, soils, fertilizers, irrigation, plant propagation, plant pathology, insects, vegetables, pruning, sustainable landscapes, integrated pest management, and gardening techniques.
Hands-on demonstrations are included, and there is a learn-by-doing emphasis in our training. There is a fee to participate. Financial assistance is available.
Classes are held on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:30, beginning in early November and concluding in April of the following year. The classes will be conducted primarily at the UCCE Office in Ventura, and also at the Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) in Santa Paula and online.
In addition to the Wednesday afternoon classes, trainees are required to spend twenty (20) volunteer hours participating in hands-on experiential gardening projects located at one of our approved sites throughout Ventura County. Thirty (30) additional volunteer hours are required during a volunteer's first year in the program (to be completed within 12-months of graduating).
To retain active status after the first year, Master Gardeners must completed an annual required minimum of twenty-five (25) volunteer service hours and twelve (12) hours of continuing education.
"The Master Gardener program has fundamentally changed my definition of the word 'gardener'. I now understand that a gardener is not just someone who prunes, trims plants or mows lawns, etc. But a true gardener is the one who understands the soil, the trees, pollinators, and the whole dynamics between all the natural elements that help turn a garden into a paradise. A true gardener doesn't try to control nature, but works with Mother Nature to balance all elements."
-Anjali D., Class of 2022