If you have a passion for horticulture, a willingness to serve your local community and a commitment to continuous learning, no green thumb is required to train as a Master Gardener certified by Penn State Extension in Potter County. We are now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 Master Gardener program year. This fee-paid program consists of a volunteer training course designed to provide home gardeners with information and skills necessary to share their horticultural experience and knowledge with others. The program year is divided into two parts: (1) 40 hours of basic training weekly classes between October 2023 through March 2024, and (2) 50 hours of practical volunteer projects to be completed by September 30, 2024.
Completion of basic training is the first step towards earning Master Gardener certification. Each trainee must finish 40 hours of instruction which may include onsite training focused on locally relevant topics and participate in weekly online classes conducted by Penn State University faculty and Master Gardeners from throughout Pennsylvania. Classes include a broad range of horticulture subjects such as botany, plant propagation, soil health and fertilizer management, composting, controlling pests safely, entomology, indoor plants and diseases, vegetables, tree and small fruits, lawn care, pruning, woody ornamentals, herbaceous and native plants, weeds and invasives, and landscape design. Trainees study corresponding topic chapters in the Master Gardener manual, watch webinars, and take quizzes to test their knowledge.
The second step of the program, the apprenticeship phase, requires a score of at least 80% on your mid-term and final exams and 50 hours of volunteer service. You will work alongside other Master Gardeners to develop your practical knowledge and gain valuable experience. This program year, apprentices participated in projects by supporting the Potter County Community and Pollinator Demonstrations Gardens, answered questions from the Garden Hotline or at the Potter County Fair’s Ask the Master Gardener table and assisted in several gardening workshops to residents about seed selection, garden design, container planting and plant diseases. Maintenance of Master Gardener certification requires 20 hours of volunteer service and 10 hours of continuing education training annually.
There is a program fee to cover the cost of training materials and expenses; financial aid may be available upon request. Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2023. For further information see: https://extension.psu.edu/programs/master-gardener/join. Or contact Leona Smith, Potter County Master Gardener Coordinator, 814-274-8540, ext 103; email: email@example.com.