Become a Master Gardener

The spring 2021 Master Gardener
Virtual Training Course is full.
Information about virtual and in-person courses for 2022 will be publicized through the Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association (MMGA) newsletter, The Dirt.
[Subscribe to The Dirt]

How Can I Become a
Massachusetts Master Gardener?

A Certified Massachusetts Master Gardener is a member of a large, like-minded community dedicated to horticulture and gardening. Master Gardeners share their knowledge, experience, and expertise with each other and the public.

Becoming a Massachusetts Master Gardener requires the completion of a horticultural learning program and a 60-hour internship.

The 2021 virtual program consists of twelve class sessions, each 3-hours long, using the Zoom platform. The topics are:

  • Orientation
  • Botany and Nomenclature
  • Soil Management
  • Woody Ornamentals
  • Perennials and Natives
  • Vegetables
  • Weeds and Invasive Species
  • Plant Diseases
  • Pest Control and Entomology
  • Propagation
  • Pruning
  • Garden Ecology

Each class is taught by an expert from such institutions and organizations as the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Trustees of Reservations, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, University of Rhode Island, and Mary May Binney Wakefield Arboretum. There are weekly reading and homework assignments and mid-course and final exams. The class uses the Pennsylvania State University Extension Master Gardener manual. Additional resources are provided by both the MMGA and individual instructors.

The internship, which occurs after the successful completion of the classroom course, requires student Master Gardeners to complete 60 hours of volunteer work under the supervision of a Certified Master Gardener in at least one of our 40 project gardens in central and eastern Massachusetts (such as Tower Hill Botanic Garden, the Gardens at Elm Bank, Haskell Garden, Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters NHS, Long Hill, The Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) at Concord, and the Southwest Corridor Park).

Interns must also volunteer at either the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Helpline or Tower Hill Hortline and complete outreach activities such as Ask-a-Master-Gardener booths at farmers markets and autumn agricultural fairs. Interns are also required to complete at least six hours each in continuing education and MMGA-specific administrative work such as serving on a committee, attending Associates Meetings, or volunteering at our annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium.

Once certified, active MMGA members must complete 30 hours of approved volunteering in gardens, outreach activities, continuing education, and MMGA administrative tasks each year and pay annual dues. 

What are the Benefits to Becoming a Massachusetts Master Gardener? 

Benefits of Massachusetts Master Gardener membership include the following:

  • Networking with other Master Gardeners
  • Participating annually in dozens of MMGA-sponsored no-cost/low-cost continuing education classes, workshops, field trips, and visits to members’ and project gardens
  • Supporting communities by nominating public or non-profit organizations to become official MMGA gardening sites, where MG volunteers provide free hands-on support
  • Recommending community fairs, plant sales, and other events for a free Ask-a-Master-Gardener or Soil pH Testing table staffed by MGs
  • Learning how to be a compelling, informative speaker by joining our Speakers Bureau and presenting lectures on favorite topics to garden clubs and other organizations
  • Attending bi-monthly Associates Meetings which include horticulture presentations, organizational and member news, and time to socialize with fellow MGs
  • Receiving monthly member-written newsletters that cover a wide variety of topics

If you would like to become part of this dedicated community of gardeners, the MMGA provides a comprehensive learning experience. The MG Training Course is open to Massachusetts residents 18 years old and older.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and be notified when registration opens for our next class, please sign up for our monthly newsletter The Dirt.


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