How to become a County Master Gardener

By Carol Bray
Isanti County Master Gardener

Consider this is an open invitation for you to consider becoming a Master Gardener. What does it mean to be a Master Gardener? Master Gardeners do more than pull weeds. Here is a listing of what a Master Gardener may get involved in:

The Master Gardeners work with several community groups in the community. Photo by U of MN, Extension Office

• Assist University of Minnesota faculty with research projects and varietal trials

• Advise city officials on how to create community gardens

• Partner with schools to teach students about composting

• Empower people to grow their own food

• Work with foresters to help limit the spread of emerald ash borer

• Teach homeowners sustainable ways to manage yard waste

• Improve the state’s water quality with shoreline plantings and rain gardens

• Be involved in a county horticultural day event

• Answer hort questions and educate the community on hort topics via a variety of venues

How to Become a Master Gardener

1. Be accepted by your County Program. See contact information at end of article and request an application packet. You’ll need to complete the application, have an interview and pass a background check. Sometimes a short test is given.

2. Complete the Core Course training – The Master Gardener Core Course, designated HORT 1003 through the University of Minnesota, gives you 48 class hours horticulture training. It’s taught by Extension educators and faculty, and is available in the Twin Cities area, at several greater Minnesota locations, and online. Topics include soils, entomology, gardening resources, diagnostics, trees, herbaceous plants, lawn care, plant pathology, and more.

3. Complete your internship – After completing HORT 1003, your internship will continue with 50 hours of volunteer time to be completed within the first year of participation.

4. Celebrate! – When your internship is done, you’ll start the next calendar year as an active Master Gardener in your community.

5. Stay involved – To maintain your active Master Gardener status, you will complete at least 25 hours of volunteer time and required continuing education per year.

Did you know that In 2010, U of MN Ext Master Gardeners gave more than 127,000 hours to their communities—a public value worth more than $2.6 million. Master Gardener volunteers make Minnesota communities more sustainable, more beautiful, more knowledgeable, and more fun.

For more information, visit the U of M Ext. website at or call the Isanti County Master Gardeners at 763-689-1810. You can also visit us at Isanti County Master Gardeners.

Source: U of MN