The Master Gardener program started in 1978; it strives to teach volunteers about technical horticulture, the Extension Service, and sources of information at Oregon State University. It provides Master Gardeners with tools to become better gardeners, a network of fellow gardeners, and a means of service to others. Extension Agents enjoy watching Master Gardeners become more confident, outgoing and aware of the need for their knowledge.
In spite of budget constraints and reduced staffing, the Master Gardener program continues to grow. These enthusiastic volunteers serve an increasingly larger home gardening audience.
Master Gardeners are volunteers who are experienced gardeners, who receive horticultural training from Oregon State University Extension Specialists, agents and other Master Gardeners, and who want to share their gardening skill and training with others.
Master Gardeners must be willing to spend one day each week for nine consecutive weeks during January, February and March for a total of 66 hours of classroom instruction. It is helpful if potential Master Gardeners have had some gardening experience. They must agree to return 66 hours in volunteering gardening information, public service, or remit $500 for the course.
Each new Master Gardener who is accepted for training must pay $110 to cover the cost of the Master Gardener reference notebook, class materials, and classroom expenses.
A minimum or 46 hours is spent at the Extension office answering gardening questions. Additional time can be returned in such activities as staffing information booths and/or giving demonstrations at the Benton County Fair, the Spring Garden Festival, and the farmers markets. One might volunteer hours working in the demonstration garden located at the Benton County Fair and Expo Center, or lead a 4-H horticulture club, present windowsill gardening to second and third graders, or lead a gardening class at the Gearing Up for Gardening series. Other ways to pay back volunteer hours might be to provide gardening programs for service clubs, write newspaper articles, or tape radio spots.
If you wish to be a Master Gardener, contact the Benton County Extension Office at 541-766-6750. Or, you can fill out this online interest form and we will send you an application when we start recruiting for the next class.
We encourage all interested participants to attend gardening workshops and events to increase their knowledge while waiting for the class to be offered each year. Check out our gardening classes & events!
You may be a Master Gardener as long as you wish. A few have remained active since the first class was held in 1978. Others have remained active since their training. Many become members of Benton County Master Gardener Association. This association holds monthly meetings to become better acquainted with each other, to have fun, to gain additional knowledge, and to plan community and educational gardening activities.
Master Gardener certification is only valid for one year. After that each year, MGs must attend at least six hours of an educational class. Example are OMGA Mini-College, Insights into Gardening, or PNW classes. Additionally MGs must volunteer for at least ten outreach hours. This might include staffing plant clinics, working in the demo garden at an event, or teaching a class.
Complete the Master Gardener Basic Training from the comfort of your own home. Click here for more information about the online program.
For more information, contact:
Benton County Extension
4077 SW Research Way
Corvallis, OR 97333
Contact Pami via email