Becoming a Master Gardener
Each year, we take around 35 trainees into the program. Previous horticultural training is not required, but a desire to serve the community is a prerequisite. We are especially looking for candidates with:
- Desire, passion, enthusiasm for learning, gardening and
- Previous volunteer work and track record
- Special talents
- Availability for volunteer hours and class requirements
- Diversity: experience, age, gender, ethnic
To start the process of becoming a Master Gardener, attend one information meeting. Complete and return the application form. Schedule and participate in a personal interview.
Once you are accepted into the training program, you must attend approximately 80 hours of class instruction in horticulture. Instructors include UCCE professionals and other experts in the community. Subject areas include basic botany, plant pathology, horticulture, soils, fertilizers, irrigation, plant propagation, plant pathology, insects, vegetables, pruning, sustainable landscapes, integrated pest management, plant diseases and gardening techniques.
Hands-on demonstrations are included, and there is a learn-by-doing emphasis in our training. There is a minor fee for materials, but the classroom instruction is free. Financial assistance is available for the materials fee.
Classes are held on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:30, beginning early January, concluding by the end of May. The classes will be conducted at the UCCE Office in Ventura, or at the Hansen Agricultural Center (HAC) in Santa Paula.
In exchange for this comprehensive training, trainees are required to spend 20 of the 80 required volunteer hours participating in hands-on garden learning activities in demonstration and theme gardens located at the UC Hansen Agricultural Center in Santa Paula.
To retain active status after the first year, the Master Gardener must volunteer the required minimum number of hours annually, keep active in volunteer activities, and attend supplemental training (continuing education) and monthly meetings.