Become a UC Master Gardener

If you love to garden, have an interest in lifelong learning, enjoy sharing your knowledge and are committed to community service, the Master Gardener program is the place for you. Master Gardeners are community members who love gardening and are enthusiastic to share their knowledge with others. This program offers comprehensive training in the best home gardening practices and an opportunity to use your knowledge in service to your community. Master Gardeners are helping home and community gardeners reap the maximum benefits and enjoyment from gardening.

The mission of the San Joaquin UC Master Gardeners is to extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to the residents of San Joaquin County. UC Master Gardeners extend research-based information by conducting workshops and demonstrations, diagnosing plant and pest problems, speaking to community groups, utilizing social and print media,  educating teachers and parents at school gardens, and answering gardening questions at local fairs and farmers markets as well as on our email and phone helplines. Master Gardener volunteers help empower neighborhoods to foster healthier gardens, communities and a sustainable environment.

The Master Gardener program began in Washington State in 1972 and quickly expanded to other states. The first University of California programs were established in Riverside and Sacramento counties in 1980. San Joaquin re-launched its program in 2007 and since then, the San Joaquin Master Gardeners have volunteered over 53,000 hours and have earned over 14,700 continuing education hours. The program is funded by the cities and counties of San Joaquin and AB939. We are excited to announce the Stanislaus County will be starting a Master Gardener Program and San Joaquin County will be training those volunteers to help get their program up and running.

Our next training will begin in January 2019 and is open to residents of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.  Prospective Master Gardeners will attend an orientation meeting in October and are then interviewed to make sure that they are willing and able to complete the volunteer commitment. Those who enter the program must commit to donating a minimum of 50 volunteer hours the first year to Master Gardener public education projects and 25 hours every year after along with earning 12 hours of continuing education.

The training program will be an extensive 19-week course providing a practical overview of horticultural and sustainable landscape practices. Training sessions meet Wednesdays from January 30 to June 5. Classes are taught by experts from the UC faculty and staff, landscape and nursery professionals, local horticultural educators and certified Master Gardeners that are outstanding teachers, who inspire students. Trainees must pass the weekly quizzes and take home final exam with a 70% or better. Classes will be held on the Robert Cabal Agricultural Center in Stockton. Applications may be downloaded from our website or picked up at our office. The registration fee for this program is $180, which includes a copy of the UC Master Gardener manual as well as other UC home horticulture books and covers class supplies.

After completing this training, newly certified Master Gardeners possess not only increased knowledge but, most importantly, an understanding of how and where to find accurate information to share with the public on all kinds of gardening topics. As a bonus, you also have a group of new friends who share the same interest, enthusiasm and dedication to helping the public. You get to meet other like-minded people as well as learn how to have healthier plants, healthier gardeners, a healthier environment and a healthier community and you choose projects that fit your interests, abilities and skills.

If you want to get involved in your community and enjoy preserving food, the UC Master Food Preservers are also accepting applications for their 2018 training that begins in September of 2018. More information about their program can be found on their website, ucanr.edu/sjmfp2018.

More information about our program and the next training can be found on our website. http://ucanr.edu/sjmg. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Master Gardener Helpline at 209-953-6100.

 

 

 

 

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  • Blog Author

    Marcy Sousa

    Marcy Sousa is the San Joaquin County UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She is a Stockton native and enjoys teaching others about gardening. She has her bachelors from Stanislaus State in Permaculture. She has been with the program since 2007. Read Full
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