DEFAULT Become a Master Gardener

Find out about the 2022 Master Gardener Training Course in the Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association (MMGA) newsletter, The Dirt. [Subscribe to The Dirt]

How Can I Become a Massachusetts Master Gardener?

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.

A hybrid model will be adopted with three in-person classes and 11 virtual classes; each is expected to be 3-hours long. Virtual classes will be conducted using the Zoom platform on Tuesdays beginning January 11 through April 19, 2022, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

  • Orientation

  • Botany and Nomenclature - 2 sessions

  • Soil Management - 2 sessions

  • Woody Ornamentals

  • Perennials and Natives

  • Vegetables

  • Weeds and Invasive Species

  • Plant Diseases

  • Pest Control and Entomology

  • Propagation

  • Pruning

  • Garden Ecology

Classes are taught by experts from the Arnold Arboretum; Trustees of Reservations; the Universities of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; and Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum.

Weekly readings and homework assignments precede each class session; A midterm and final take home exam determine successful course completion. The Pennsylvania State Extension Master Gardener manual is the text, which student purchase directly. Additional resources are provided by both the MMGA and individual instructors.

The internship, which occurs after the successful completion of the classroom course, requires student Master Gardeners to complete 60 hours of volunteer work under the supervision of Certified Master Gardeners in at least three of our 40 project gardens in central and eastern Massachusetts, such as Haskell Garden in New Bedford, Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters NHS in Cambridge, Long Hill in Beverly, and the Southwest Corridor Park in Boston.

Interns must also volunteer at either the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Helpline or Tower Hill Hortline and complete outreach activities such as Ask-a-Master-Gardener booths at farmers markets and autumn agricultural fairs. Interns are also required to complete at least six hours each in continuing education and MMGA-specific administrative work such as serving on a committee, attending Associates Meetings, or volunteering at our annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium.

Once certified, active MMGA members must complete 30 hours of approved volunteering in gardens, outreach activities, continuing education, and MMGA administrative tasks each year and pay annual dues.

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 communities by nominating public or nonprofit organizations to become official MMGA 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

If you would like to become part of this dedicated community of gardeners, the MMGA provides a comprehensive learning experience. The Master Gardener Training Course is open to Massachusetts residents 18 years old and older.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and be notified when registration opens for our next class, please sign up for our monthly newsletter The Dirt.