What Does It Take to Become a Master Gardener™ Volunteer?

Have you been told you have a “green thumb?” Do you love learning about plants and gardening and sharing that information with others? Then, maybe you have the makings of a Master Gardener?
What does it take to become a Master Gardener in Oregon?
Master Gardener Training is currently conducted out of Extension Service offices in 30 Counties. Although these counties offer courses on topics such as basic botany, entomology, and plant disease, programs are tailored to the different climates, soils and local needs of individual counties. Thus, the Master Gardener™ training in different areas will provide specific information to Master Gardener™ trainees about gardening in their own bioregion.
How long does the training take?
Master Gardener™ training typically takes place in the winter months (January-March), although the exact timing varies by county. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer, contact your local Extension Office. You will be asked to fill out a brief application, and to perhaps meet with your local Extension Agent and/or current Master Gardener volunteers.
At that time, your Extension Agent and/or the Master Gardeners will discuss with you the basic outline of the course, volunteer commitments and opportunities within your region, and any other aspect of Master Gardener training that you might have questions about.
Master Gardener Fast Facts:
All statistics are for the 2012 reporting year (November 2011 – October 2012).

  • In Oregon, there were 4,160 Active Master Gardener Volunteers
  • Of these, 3,341 were veterans of the Master Gardener Program
  • A total of 845 individuals joined the Master Gardener Program, as trainees/apprentices
  • Together, veteran Master Gardeners and trainees volunteered a total of 194,898 hours, in support of OSU Extension Master Gardener Program.
  • Master Gardeners had 186,494 public contacts, via Plant Clinics, public gardening classes, demonstration days and other activities.
  • The monetary value of this service is nearly $4.2 million dollars, and translates into an additional 95.5 FTE to OSU and OSU Extension.  FTE stands for full time equivalent, and is used as a measure of full time employees.
  • Master Gardeners donated over 135,770 documented pounds of fresh produce, harvested from Master Gardener-managed community and demonstration gardens, to local food banks and food pantries.

Do you want more information about the Master Gardener Program?
To learn more about being a Master Gardener volunteer, you can read Oregon State University Extension Service publication EM 8749, entitled ‘An Introduction to Being a Master Gardener Volunteer’. You can also access the Master Gardener Program Brochure, EM 8723, ‘The Oregon Master Gardener Program’, to learn more about the program.
To learn more about Master Gardener activities, specific to your county or region, please contact your local Extension office. Visit
Why are you interested in becoming an OSU Master Gardener?