What is the Master Gardener program?
Lincoln County office of OSU Extension Service receives more than 5,000 requests for home gardening information annually. To provide information and answer residents’ questions, Extension enlists the assistance of Master Gardener volunteers. Begun in 1982, the Master Gardener program teaches and trains volunteers to answer questions in person, by phone or by email. Many new residents to Lincoln County experienced and inexperienced gardeners are interested in receiving local gardening advice. The Master Gardener program is designed for volunteers to help home gardeners in diagnosing plant and insect related problems, soil preparation, plant maintenance and propagation, correct pruning methods, identifying plants, and selecting appropriate plant materials for coastal gardening. Volunteers do not need to know all the answers, but where to find them! The program teaches volunteers how to answer questions using sources of gardening information available through state and local publications, education programs and workshops, research conducted at Oregon State University, and the Extension Service. It provides Master Gardeners with tools to become better gardeners, an awareness of sustainable gardening practices, an opportunity to give service to others, and to become part of a network of fellow, like minded gardeners.
In spite of budget constraints and reduced staffing, the Master Gardener program continues to grow. Enthusiastic volunteers serve an increasingly larger audience of home gardeners as more residents enjoy the benefits of home gardening.
Master Gardener Program
Are you interested in becoming a Master Gardener™? Master Gardeners are people like you, interested in learning more about the art and science of growing and caring for plants in the garden, the landscape, and the home. In exchange for classroom instruction, Master Gardeners agree to help local Extension agents extend horticultural information to people in their communities.
Master Gardeners Help People
Your commitment after training is to be a volunteer staff person for the OSU Extension Service. The program coordinator will help you to schedule your volunteer time. Some Master Gardeners answer telephone requests for gardening information; others staff plant clinics at garden shows or local events. Master Gardeners might also work on projects with local schools, give talks to area garden clubs or complete an approved project of their own design.
The Training of Master Gardeners
Master Gardener™ training classes are taught by OSU extension agents and horticultural experts. The program offers basic, practical courses in plant science and home horticulture. Classes include basic botany, methods for growing vegetables, lawns, fruit trees and landscape plants, pest identification and control methods, soil management and plant nutrition, and diagnosis of plant problems. The actual courses offered vary depending on local needs and interests. Classes are held during the winter months from January - March.