Become a Master Gardener

The 2022 Master Gardener Training Course Application Information

How Can I Become a Massachusetts Master Gardener?

Applications for the 2022 Master Gardener Course are full at this time. Click the button below to be Wait Listed in the event slots open up.

A Certified Massachusetts Master Gardener is a member of a large, like-minded community dedicated to volunteering in horticulture and gardening. Master Gardeners share their knowledge, experience, and expertise with each other and the public. Becoming a Massachusetts Master Gardener requires the successful completion of a 14-session horticultural course followed by a 60-hour supervised internship.

The 2022 hybrid model will include up to three in-person classes and at least 11 virtual classes. Regardless of format, each class will be 3-hours long held on Tuesdays beginning January 11 through April 19, 2022, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Virtual classes will be conducted using the Zoom platform. Please note: The MMGA follows Massachusetts pandemic guidelines. Should the Commonwealth determine that in-person, indoor meetings are not recommended, those sessions will be held virtually.


What Are the Benefits to Becoming a Massachusetts Master Gardener?

Benefits of Massachusetts Master Gardener membership include the following:

  • Networking with other Master Gardeners

  • Participating annually in dozens of MMGA-sponsored no-cost/low-cost continuing education classes, workshops, field trips, and visits to members’ and project gardens

  • Supporting local communities by learning from and working in MMGA-approved public and non-profit organizations' gardening sites, where Master Gardener volunteers provide free hands-on support

  • Recommending community fairs, plant sales, and other events for a free Ask-a-Master-Gardener or Soil pH Testing table staffed by Master Gardeners

  • Learning how to be a compelling, informative speaker by joining our Speakers Bureau and presenting lectures on favorite topics to garden clubs and other organizations

  • Attending bi-monthly Associates Meetings which include horticulture presentations, organizational and member news, and time to socialize with fellow Master Gardeners

  • Receiving monthly member-written newsletters that cover a wide variety of topics


HOW TO APPLY

Applications for the 2022 Master Gardener Course are full at this time. Click on the "Wait List Me" button above to be contacted in the event slots open up.

For questions or further information, please email to mgtraining@massmastergardeners.org

Download a PDF of the training program details.

CLASS TOPICS, VIRTUAL UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

Orientation *

Botany - Part 1

Botany - Part 2, includes nomenclature

Soil Science - Part 1

Soil Science - Part 2, includes soil testing, composting, turf

Woody Ornamentals

Perennials and Natives

Vegetables

Mid-term exam – due on March 15; no class on March 8

Weeds and Invasive Species

Propagation **

Pruning **

Entomology and Pests

Plant Diseases

Garden Ecology/Landscaping *

Final exam – given out at last class, due by May 3

* In person class. Sites to be determined

** May be in-person, to be determined


INTERNSHIP

Following the successful completion of the classroom course, which includes passing both the midterm and final exams, student will begin their six-month internship from May 1 through November 30, 2022.

Student-interns must complete 60 hours of volunteer work, with at least the minimum number of hours in each category below:

    • Gardening: Working in at least three of our 40 project gardens in central and eastern Massachusetts under the supervision of a Certified Master Gardener – 12-24 hours.

    • Helpline: Volunteering at either the Elm Bank Helpline or Tower Hill Hortline – 8-24 hours.

    • Outreach: Completing outreach activities such as Ask-a-Master-Gardener booths at farmers markets and autumn agricultural fairs – 12-24 hours.

    • Continuing Education: Attending continuing education programs – 6-12 hours.

    • MMGA Administration: Participating in MMGA administrative work such as serving on a committee, attending Associates Meetings, or volunteering at our annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium – 6-8 hours.


DETAILED INFORMATION

Dates: January 11 to April 19, 2022 (Tuesdays). Final exam is due on May 3.

Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Cost: $600, plus students purchase the Penn State Extension Master Gardener Manual on their own, available at https://extension.psu.edu/master-gardener-manual

Enrollment: 45 students

Hybrid Model: At least two in-person sessions and at least 11 virtual sessions. Each class is taught by an expert from such institutions and organizations as the Arnold Arboretum, Broken Arrow Nursery, Trustees of Reservations, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, and Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum.

Work Load: In addition to the 3-hour classes, there are weekly reading and homework assignments and midterm and final exams. Based on survey data from previous classes, students should anticipate spending 4-6 hours per week on the required reading and homework assignments.

Class Assistants: A small group of students will work with a designated Certified Master Gardener class assistant.

Mentors: Each student will be assigned a Certified Master Gardener as a mentor who will provide guidance through to the end of the internship.


REQUIREMENTS: STUDENTS MUST

  • Be a Massachusetts resident.

  • Attend all classes.

  • Have a desktop or laptop computer; tablets and smartphones will be insufficient for class participation.

  • Have a Gmail account to facilitate access to the MMGA portal and Google shared drive.

  • Complete assigned reading and homework assignments.

  • Pass the take-home, open-book midterm and final exams.

  • Pass a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) check as master gardeners often provide programs that may include children.

  • Feel comfortable using email, searching internet websites for information, and sending electronic documents. Homework and handouts are distributed electronically.

Prior to the first session, a tutorial is provided on Zoom protocols, shared Google drives, and conducting online horticultural research.