Becoming a UC Master Gardener
Are you a Santa Clara County resident who wants to learn more about eco-friendly, sustainable gardening practices and would enjoy sharing that knowledge with the home gardening public? We train a new class of Master Gardeners every two years, and the next training will be January–May 2021. Here's how to apply.
Below are some answers to common questions about the program.
What are UC Master Gardeners?
- We are volunteers who have been trained to educate the general public on science-based sustainable horticulture practices.
- We are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension and provide a link between the University and the residents of Santa Clara County.
- We are committed to educating people on best practices in home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscaping.
What do we look for in Master Gardener candidates?
- An interest in learning scientifically-based horticultural practices
- Enthusiasm for passing that knowledge on to others
- A passion for volunteering
- Applicants must reside in Santa Clara County.
- There is a tuition fee of approximately $200 to cover training and resource materials due on acceptance. Scholarships are available.
- Trainees need to be fingerprinted and pass a background check.
What happens during training?
- Sessions have generally been on Thursdays. Each session is six hours long and includes both lectures and hands-on activities.
- Trainees are expected to attend every session. Planned absences (e.g. vacations) are not allowed.
- There will be weekly reading and home study assignments.
- Classes are taught by University of California instructors, outside experts, and Master Gardener volunteers.
- Topics include Soils, Botany, Irrigation, Edible Gardening, Landscape Trees, Plant Diseases, Integrated Pest Management, Extension Training, and much more.
What will new UC Master Gardeners do?
- Answer questions at the Help Desk or Ask a Master Gardener tables
- Join a team at a demonstration garden
- Assist with talks and classes
- Help put on large events like plant sales or garden tours
- Participate in committees that enable our program to thrive
- And many, many more!
First-year Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours during the first 12 months, then a minimum of 25 hours per year and 12 continuing education hours thereafter.