OSU Master Gardener volunteers provide a valuable public service by answering home gardening questions, hosting educational classes & workshops, and partnering with local organizations to empower & grow new gardeners.
The program offers a way for community members to expand their local gardening knowledge, meet fellow gardeners, and learn while doing in a fun and supportive environment. First year participants complete the Master Gardener training and their initial 40-hour volunteer commitment. In their second year and beyond, Master Gardeners retain their certification by logging a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer work and 10 hours of continuing education, annually.
The best reason to join the Master Gardener training is because it's the only way to become a Master Gardener volunteer! Master Gardener trainees learn quite a bit about caring for their own yards and gardens from their training, but the real magic of the program is in the volunteer experience. Volunteering not only gives Master Gardeners the opportunity to give back to their community, it enriches their understanding of garden concepts and gives them an outlet to meet, collaborate with, and be inspired by other local gardeners.
The most important thing to know is that you don't need to be a garden expert to be an excellent Master Gardener!
Find out more about becoming a Union County Master Gardener Volunteer here.
Learn About Gardening
Each year, the Union County Master Gardener program provides an in-depth training in home horticulture and practical gardening skills.
Classes are held annually from late January through early May at the Union County Extension Office, 10507 N McAlister Rd, La Grande. Master Gardener training classes are taught by OSU extension staff and horticultural experts.
There are three ways to participate in the Master Gardener Training:
as an enrolled Master Gardener Trainee
with a Community Pass
individual class registration
Master Gardener Trainees get an in-depth education in home horticulture. They have access to all scheduled classes as well as a rich online course curriculum; get a copy of Sustainable Gardening, the Master Gardener Handbook; are invited to join field trips and supplemental trainings, join a community of fellow gardeners, and enrich their understanding of gardening through collaborative problem-solving and hands-on experience. And: completing the Master Gardener Training is the only way to become a Master Gardener Volunteer! Find out more about becoming a Master Gardener and apply now for our 2024 training.
The Master Gardener training combines several instructional methods: online modules, printed reading materials, and in-person meetings that include group discussions, instruction from the program coordinator, and guest speakers. Participants should expect a time commitment of 4-6 hours total each week of the scheduled training. That includes: 2-3 hours of work at home (reading + online modules), and our weekly Tuesday evening gathering at the Extension Office that will last 2-3 hours, depending on the unit. There is one Saturday workshop and some weekend field trips for topics best suited to off-site learning - all weekend classes are optional.
Community Pass holders can attend all classes that are open to the public. These classes - taught by local experts and OSU faculty & staff - will enrich your understanding of specific gardening topics. They are a great way to broaden your gardening knowledge, improve your skills, and learn about the many resources available to local gardeners. The full community class schedule is listed below. The Community Pass costs $75 for 8 classes, due on or before February 5, 2024. Registration can be done in person at the Extension building (10507 N McAlister Rd, La Grande) (cash, check, or credit card) or over the phone (541) 963-1010 (credit card).
Community classes are also available for individual registration. Pick and choose the classes you would like to attend at the rate of $10 per Tuesday evening class and $20 for the Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop on March 2. Registration can be done in person at the Extension building (10507 N McAlister Rd, La Grande) (cash, check, or credit card) or over the phone (541) 963-1010 (credit card). Pre-registration is recommended as some classes will fill before the class day. Plan ahead to save your spot!
As gardeners, we know that biodiversity makes our gardens more resilient, more delicious, and more beautiful.
We believe the same is true of our program.
Oregon State University Extension Service and the Union County Master Gardener program prohibit discrimination in all its programs, services, activities and materials on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, familial/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, genetic information, veteran’s status, reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
The Union County Master Gardener program will make every effort to accommodate the individual schedules, needs, and preferences of each volunteer. What you are able to bring to the program is what makes it valuable and special. Our goal is to provide the support you need to get the most out of this experience and to help deliver this important service to our community.
Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made to Sarah West, 541-963-1010, [email protected] for all Union County Master Gardener programing.