This is my third year gardening in the South. I am basically self-taught, mostly through research (online or books) and good old-fashioned trial and error. However, I thought it was time to take it a step further, so I just applied to Clemson University’s Master Gardener program!
WHAT IS A MASTER GARDENER?
A Master Gardener is a trained volunteer who not only applies what he’s been taught in his own garden, but shares his knowledge of gardening and horticulture with others in his community. The training is given by universities with a cooperative extension service and can be found in every state of the U.S. In South Carolina, Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension runs the Master Gardener program for the entire state.
MASTER GARDENER TRAINING:
In order to become a Master Gardener, I will spend 60 hours in classwork and hands-on training over the course of 12 weeks. I will learn things such as taxonomy, plant pathology, soil health, cultural growing practices, sustainable gardening, entomology, and integrated pest management.
Then, over the next nine months, I will have to participate in 40 hours of community service, which will include answering phones and emails with gardening questions, participating in local gardening events, teaching classes, writing articles (got that one covered, eh?), etc.
Once I become a Master Gardener, I will have to keep up my credentials every year by receiving a minimum of 10 hours of training and committing to a minimum of 20 hours of community service.
I just sent my application in a few days ago. (The application deadline is August 8.) I’ll have to go for a personal interview in the middle of August. If I’m accepted, I start classes September 18!
If you live in the Charleston, SC, area and would like to apply to the Master Gardening program, click here for the application. Classes for other areas of South Carolina will be held at a different time, so check with Clemson University.
If you live anywhere outside of South Carolina, check with your local university cooperative extension for their Master Gardener program.
I’m very excited about becoming a Master Gardener! I’ll let you all know if I get accepted and keep you posted on my progress.
Are any of you a Master Gardener?