What is the Master Gardener Program?

Do you have a strong interest in gardening, a desire to sharpen your gardening skills, and a willingness to share your knowledge with others?  Have you thought that you would like to become a Master Gardener Volunteer through the Ohio State University Extension?  Master Gardener Volunteer training will be offered for residents of Madison County and surrounding areas. The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a program which provides an extensive course in horticulture in exchange for a donation of volunteer hours to share your gardening knowledge with the community through OSU Extension-sponsored activities. Instruction provided by OSU Educators, industry professionals and Master Gardener Volunteers.

The OSU Extension Master Gardener Program is a premier statewide network of volunteer education and leadership development; as well as a consumer horticulture education delivery system that maximizes human, material, and natural resources, and values teamwork and excellence in educational programming.

There are many exciting opportunities for continuing education and camaraderie and this has helped OSU Extension to develop a corps of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are an important component of the OSU Extension system. The Master Gardeners' knowledge, experience and enthusiasm have become essential to Extension education of consumer horticulture in the state of Ohio.  

People interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer follow a volunteer selection process. 

  1. Fill out an online application found here.
  2. Pay your $200 program fee. Check, credit and cash are accepted.
    • Make checks payable to: OSU Extension, 217 Elm St., London, OH 43140.
  3.  You will be contacted to schedule a meeting with your county coordinator. After completing a background check, you will begin the coursework and may begin volunteering with the program. 

This course will be completed in a hybrid format. Part of the training will be online, at your own pace, and the other part of your required 50 hours of horticulture education will be obtained through attendance at seven laboratory sessions offered monthly throughout the year. 

While you may start at anytime throughout the year, we are beginning a new cohort in October 2022. Below is what the lab offerings will look like for that cohort:

October: Orientation
November: Soils 
January: Pesticide Safety 
February: Plant Propagation
March: Fruit care and Pruning at Champaign Berry Farm (Mutual, Ohio)
April: Entomology 
May: Tree ID 
June: Raised Bed Gardening 
July: Houseplants
August: Diagnostic Training 
(Must attend 7 of 9)

A minimum of 50 hours of volunteer time on Master Gardener county projects is required within 18 months of beginning the course unless otherwise arranged with your coordinator. Having acquired the necessary education hours and the required volunteer hours, interns achieve official Master Gardener Volunteer status and are eligible for a $50 refund.

Master Gardener Volunteers become leaders and educators in the community tasked with sharing their new knowledge and gardening experience with the public through presentations, informational booths, offering workshops and fun events, and always providing research based, unbiased reliable information.

Our Mission:  Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers are Ohio State University trained volunteers empowered to educate others with timely, research-based gardening information.

Our Vision:  The OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a premier statewide network of volunteer education and leadership development: as well as a consumer horticulture education delivery system that maximizes human, material, and natural resources, and values teamwork and excellence in educational programming

The training program provides a balanced, integrated practical course in plant science. Core topics that are to be part of the training in every county are oriented to Extension and the Master Gardener Program:

    Basic Botany
    Plant Physiology
    Soils and Soil Fertility
    Basic Entomology
    Basic Plant Pathology
    Plant Disease Diagnosis
    Pesticide Use and Safety
    Plant Identification
    Home Lawn Care
    Annuals
    Perennials
    Trees and Shrubs
    Home Vegetable Production
    Home Fruit Production
    Backyard Wildlife Management
    Herbs 

Special topics, based on local needs, may be part of the curriculum.

Volunteer Commitment

The Master Gardener training course consists of a minimum of 50 hours of instruction. An equivalent number (50) of horticultural significant volunteer hours is required to become a certified Master Gardener. Master Gardeners may re certify by completing 20 additional hours of public service and 10 hours of advanced educational training yearly.  Only unpaid public service in Ohio State University Extension-sponsored activities count toward the requirement.

Please read:
MGV Position Description
MGV Program Policy Statement

MGV Updated Standards of Behavior
       Review here

MGV Pest Management Policy
       Review here