The Master Gardener Course instructors are UVM faculty and Vermont horticulture professionals.
The course curriculum covers the fundamentals of home gardening focused on the plant and soil sciences, including soils and soil fertility, plant pests and disease management, fruit and vegetable production, healthy lawn management, annual and perennial culture, caring for shrubs and trees, introduction to landscape design, and invasive pest and plant control.
Content is specific to the Vermont environment and local needs so that you can put your classroom knowledge to work in your community. Busy students can choose to take the course live by following along with the deadline or complete it at their own pace if they do not want to receive either the Master Gardener certification or the Certificate of Home Horticulture. The materials remain available to students for two months after the live sessions have concluded.
We are now offering TWO TRACKS to the Extension Master Gardener course. What's the difference?
- Track 1 is the full certification course: it includes online coursework and a 40-hour volunteer requirement.
- Track 2 students complete the same online course, but do not need to do the volunteer hours, and cannot receive a certification. Read on to see which is right for you.
Vermont Master Gardener Certification (Track 1)
Certified Extension Master Gardener volunteers are trained in research-based home horticulture practices and they apply this knowledge in their communities through education based volunteer efforts. Over 3,000 Vermonters have taken the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) course since the program started in 1991 and there are currently more than 560 active volunteers.
Track 1 may be right for you if you are:
- Eager to improve your community and share your knowledge as a community educator
- Interested in Environmental Stewardship and willing to promote environmentally safe home horticulture practices.
- Willing to serve as Master Gardener volunteer year to year, and maintain your certification and membership dues.
- Able to complete the 40 hours of volunteer service within 2 years of taking the course to receive Master Gardener Volunteer Certification.
- Not interested in a professional qualification or title. You are not considered a "Master Gardener" upon course completion but rather a "Certified UVM Extension Master Gardener Volunteer," or EMG.
Track 1 Fee: $425 (i.e. $32 per module) Subject to change in 2020
Track 1 Requirements:
- Complete the online course: fourteen live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, and additional course materials.
- Students enrolled in this course must be self-motivated and able to spend at least 3 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, watching lectures and participating in Q&A sessions using a video conferencing system
- Participate in a 40-hour hands-on volunteer internship in your local area to earn certification as a Vermont Master Gardener volunteer. This could involve giving home gardening talks/demonstrations to local groups, writing newspaper columns on home gardening topics, staffing exhibits at fairs or farmers’ markets or participating in any number of Vermont Master Gardener service projects in your community.
Track 1 Benefits:
- Receive a course completion letter and intern badge upon completing all course requirements
- Receive a Certified Vermont Master Gardener badge and certificate upon completion and reporting of 40 volunteer internship hours by end of the annual term
- Receive the benefits of learning from other Master Gardeners and giving back to your community
- Receive the benefit of joining our Master Gardener membership network that includes over 500 volunteers, and give you access to a number of special offers and educational opportunities.
Vermont Certificate of Home Horticulture (Track 2)
Complete this track if you are interested in the course content and if you do not intend to become a Certified Master Gardener volunteer. For Track 2, no Master Gardener Volunteer Certification is awarded, there is no hands-on volunteer service required, and you are not able to use the title “Certified Master Gardener Volunteer”.
Track 2 may be right for you if you are:
- Not a Vermont resident
- Working full time and/or don't have time to volunteer
- Working in a field related to gardening and want to learn more about the science of gardening.
- Interested in gardening for your own knowledge that you plan to apply to your own gardening projects.
- You are not comfortable teaching others about gardening
- You are interested in a professional qualification. You can use the" Vermont Certificate of Home Horticulture" as a professional qualification on a resume.
Track 2 Fee: $475 (i.e. $36 per module) Subject to change in 2020
Track 2 Requirements:
- Complete the online course: thirteen live online Q&A sessions with instructors, an online course guide, and additional course materials.
- Students enrolled in this course must be self-motivated and able to spend at least 3 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, watching lectures and participating in Q&A sessions using a video conferencing system.
Track 2 Benefits:
- Receive a Vermont Certificate of Home Horticulture, which implies participation in the training only. You will not become a “UVM Extension Master Gardener Volunteer”
- Since the Certificate of Home Horticulture does not imply that the holder is representing the University of Vermont Extension system as a volunteer, it may be used for marketing purposes and on your resume.
Volunteer 40 Hours - Share your knowledge (for Track 1)
A volunteer internship is a way for you to apply your classroom knowledge to real needs in your community through hands-on experience. To complete your volunteer internship, you'll:
- Work under the direction of your local Extension Master Gardener Chapter and Certified EMG Volunteers on approved local projects
- The Member Support Coordinator in your region will coach and support your efforts, helping you to determine how to use your time most effectively
- Have 2 years to complete your initial 40 volunteer hours.
Examples of volunteer work include staffing educational exhibits at local events and libraries, conducting community workshops, writing a column for your local paper, working on established EMG garden projects, or serving on your local chapter's steering committee.
Is An Online Course Right for You?
Learn what taking an online course entails.
Learn about scholarship opportunities.
2020 Course Content & Syllabus
Note: Course content and syllabus subject to change in 2020.
Each of the online course modules will require students to read assigned chapters from the course manual, watch a pre-recorded 1-3 hour lecture, post 1 discussion question, and offer module feedback. Attendance in live Q&A sessions with the instructors on Thursday nights is optional. You may watch the recorded sessions, but whenever possible we do recommend you attend live in case there are any technical glitches with the recording software. We can not guarantee that all sessions will be posted.
The live Q&A sessions are held using Zoom video conferencing. These sessions will allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions, while course lectures are provided as video recordings. The Q&A sessions are also archived.
The online courses are offered statewide through the eXtenion campus website.
The text for this course is the "Sustainable Gardening Manual" from the University of Rhode Island. This training manual is currently used throughout New England Extension programs to train Master Gardener students. It reflects our northeast growing conditions and the national goals of the Master Gardener program. This text is provided as a pdf document. We do not print or mail the manual, but you may do this yourself at a local printing company.
The basic course outline is as follows:
- Course Introduction
- Basic Botany, Amy Ivy, Cornell University
- Soil Science and Composting, Wendy Sue Harper, Consultant and former UVM Lecturer
- Introduction to Plant Pathology, Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Lecturer & Extension Instructor
- Entomology, Victor Izzo, UVM Instructor
- Vegetable Gardening, Rebecca Madden, UVM Extension - Vegetable Nutrient Management
- Growing Berries in Vermont, Vern Grubinger, UVM Extension - Vegetable & Berry Specialist
- Fruit Trees and Pruning, Terry Bradshaw, UVM Research Associate
- Annuals and Perennials, Amy Ivy, Cornell University
- Healthy Lawn Care, Weed Biology and Management, Sid Bosworth, UVM Extension Professor
- Sustainable Landscape Design, Judith Irven, Private Landscape Designer, Outdoor Spaces
- Landscaping for Pollinators, Jane Sorensen, UVM Adjunct Faculty Lecturer
- Native and Invasive Plants in Vermont, Rose Paul, VT Dept. of Forests, Parks, and Recreation – Invasive Plants Coordinator
- Woody Trees and Shrubs, Elise Schadler, UVM Extension-VT Urban & Community Forestry – Technical Assistance Coordinator
- Volunteering and Outreach, Beret Halverson, UVM Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator (Track 1 only)
- Final Assignments (Exam and Survey)
Please download and read the course syllabus for more detailed information:
Refunds & Accommodations
We cannot offer refunds if you log into the website and access the course materials.
Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Beret Halverson @ firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-656-1777.