Are you interested in gardening? Do you want access to information on research concerning all aspects of growing and caring for plants?

Are you interested in gardening? Do you want access to information on research concerning all aspects of growing and caring for plants? Here is the scoop!

The University of Minnesota will be offering 48+ hours of basic horticulture education, (offered annually), beginning in January. Online and in-person options are available. The on-line classes begin in January, and are self-paced through mid-May. The in-person sessions take place at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in winter months. All students must complete on-line quizzes for certification, so an active email address and reliable internet access is required — check with your local library for computer use if you do not have a personal computer. Classes are taught by Extension educators and faculty through the University of Minnesota.

Time is getting short for application to the program. The deadline to apply to your local or county program is Oct 1. The Brown County Master Gardeners are actively seeking new members. You do not have to live in our county to become a member. Please get an application form from the Master Gardener State Office, mgweb@umn.edu or 612-625-9864. Complete and submit the online application by Oct. 1. You may also give your application to a member of the Brown County Master Gardener group.

An informal visit (interview) will be set up with a small committee of Master Gardeners to share further information. A background check has to be completed online. Mid-November is the deadline to submit background check data and view the Safety of Minors online training. All Master Gardener volunteers must repeat a background check every three years. After receiving notification that your background check has cleared, then registration for the core course can be completed. Payment of $320 for materials and background check is due at that time. Registration is due by Dec. 1. The Brown County Master Gardeners have set up a partial reimbursement program for the core course expenses that can be given out in one year’s time if certain conditions are met.

The first year, you are considered an intern and must volunteer 50 hours on projects and events that deliver horticulture education and information to the public. This can include meetings, education days, writing newspaper articles, speaking, or answering questions, etc. These hours must be reported to the Master Gardener program online by Dec. 1. Individuals who drop out of the internship before fulfilling the educational and volunteering requirements will be required to pay an additional $300.

Following your internship, you’ll start the next calendar year as an active University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener. To maintain your active Extension Master Gardener volunteer status, you must complete at least 25 hours of volunteering and the required five hours of continuing education every year. These are reported on-line to the state office by Dec. 1 of each year.

Master Gardeners come from all walks of life. They share gardening best practices that promote healthy landscapes, healthy foods, and healthy lives. Excellent printed materials are provided during the core course and updated information is always available on the Extension website. Start your application process today!