Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wanna become a Sacramento Master Gardener?

Here's the skinny from UC Cooperative Extension, Sacramento County.

Applications are currently being accepted for UC Master Gardener Volunteers.

The UC Master Gardener Volunteer Program is seeking applicants for the 2007 training program. Do you want to learn more about gardening? Do you have time to share your knowledge with the community? Are you a resident of Sacramenot County? If yes, the Master Gardener training program could be for you.

When and how do I apply to the program?

Sacramento County UC Master Gardeners will be holding training beginning Wednesday, March 7, 2007.

Deadline to submit an application is Thursday, January 18, 2007.

Application forms and training details are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope (63¢) to Master Gardener Training, Cooperative Extension, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827-3898.

How long does the training last?

Four-hour classes will be conducted one afternoon each week from March 7, 2007 to June 27, 2007, plus one Saturday field trip. Attendance is mandatory at all classes and field trips. Classes are held in the UCCE Auditorium located at 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827. The day of the week that classes are conducted is the same through out the training and will be included in the application packet.

Who teaches the classes and what will I learn?

All classes are taught by University specialists, Horticulture Advisors, and community experts. Topics include: introduction to horticulture; soil; water and fertilizer management; ornamentals and drought tolerant plants; turf management; landscape trees: planting and maintenance; introduction to insects; integrated pest management; home vegetable gardening; plant disease diagnosis; weed identification and management; home orchards; fruit and nut trees; small fruits and grapevines; identification and control of household pests; understanding pesticides volunteerism; diagnosing garden and landscape problems.

How do I qualify to be a Sacramento County Master Gardener trainee?

Applicants must be residents of Sacramento County. This Master Gardener program is administered by the Sacramento County Cooperative Extension office. If you are not a Sacramento County resident, contact your local Cooperative Extension office for training information.

A past history of volunteering in the community is the main qualification we look for in applicants. The past volunteer activities do not need to be horticulture related. Prior horticulture training and/or experience is preferred but not required.

Is a fee charged for the training classes?

A fee to cover training and resource materials is charged for the training. The fee will be stated in the application packet.

What happens after I graduate and become a Master Gardener?

After attending all class sessions, and all the weekly quizzes and final exam are completed, trainees receive a graduation certificate. New Master Gardeners are required to contribute fifty hours of community volunteer work during the next twelve months. Every year thereafter, twenty-five hours of volunteer activity is required. UCCE approved volunteer opportunities are available for Master Gardeners to extend University research based information to the gardening community in Sacramento County. Each year twelve hours of continuing education is also required.

Where in the Sacramento area can I obtain horticulture education?

A variety of classes are offered at American River College, Cosumnes River College, Sierra College, Folsom Community College, UC Davis, numerous local garden and plant organizations such as Sacramento Tree Foundation, Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and garden clubs.


  1. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Speaking as a MG volunteer (from Monterey) anyone interested in the program will find that it is certainly informative. I learned a lot from the classes, which are not on an expert level, but certainly challenging. The speakers/trainers that came to the program in Monterey are usually leading researchers in the field.

    I have gained many friends through the program and other gardeners love to share cuttings and divisions so it's a good source of plants, too.

    But make sure you can shoulder the volunteer commitment. Monterey MG program has 20 annual hours of education and 30 annual hours of volunteer time required for re-certification. I see that Sacramento has the 50 hours in the first year, but only 37 thereafter. Many of those volunteer hours are working with the public in supplying gardening information, so a "people person" is usually a good fit.

    Are you planning on applying, Angela? You'd make a great MG, I think.

  2. Thanks for the info on who makes a good candidate. Master Gardeners definitely form a great network of some of the most passionate gardeners I've ever met.

    I think I would apply if the volunteer hours were truly "volunteer". I spent four years earning my two-year hort. degree from American River College when my son was small, followed by another two years at UC Davis earning my four-year degree. That's about all my brain can handle.

    I do enjoy promoting great programs like this and will continue to do so... at my leisure. ;-)