Becoming a UC Master Gardener
We are actively recruiting for the Class of 2023!
Are you a Santa Clara County resident who
- wants to learn more about science-based, sustainable gardening practices
- would enjoy sharing that knowledge with the home gardening public?
Here are answers to frequent questions about the program.
What are UC Master Gardeners?
- We are volunteers who have been trained to educate the 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?
- Interest in learning science-based gardening practices
- Enthusiasm for passing that knowledge on to others
- Passion for volunteering
- Organizational and leadership skills to support and grow the program
Applicants do not need to be accomplished gardeners already, but simply have the desire and willingness to learn more and share the information.
What happens during training?
- There are weekly classes, which include reading and home study assignments.
- Trainees are expected to attend every session. Planned absences (such as vacations) are not allowed.
- Classes are taught by University of California instructors, outside experts, and Master Gardener volunteers.
- Topics include Soils, Botany, Irrigation, Edible Gardening, Fruit and Landscape Trees, Plant Diseases, Integrated Pest Management, Extension Training, and much more.
What do UC Master Gardeners do?
- Create and maintain demonstration and education gardens throughout the county to showcase best practices and provide hands-on opportunities for the public
- Give free or low-cost gardening classes and workshops on seasonal topics
- Offer free problem-solving assistance through our Help Desk and information tables at events
- Keep our website up-to-date and publish a monthly Tips and Events newsletter
- Offer advice and assistance to school gardens
- Mentor low-income families through their first year of vegetable gardening
In exchange for education and certification, first-year Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours during the first 12 months. After that, yearly recertification requires a minimum of 25 volunteer hours and 12 continuing education hours.