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Becoming a Master Gardener

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The application window for the 2024 Master Gardener Training is now open! Applications are due September 22.

Have you always wanted to learn more about gardening? Would you like to have more of a science-based knowledge of gardening? Are you interested in meeting new people that have a similar interest while make a difference in the community? The San Joaquin UC Master Gardener Program might be right for you. The UC Master Gardener Program of San Joaquin County offers the opportunity to use your enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to serve the  community as a volunteer.  

We welcome participants with all levels of gardening experience.

Our Mission:
“To extend research-based knowledge and information on home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable
landscape practices to the residents of California.

 Master Gardener Application Package

Master Gardener volunteer working in the Learning Landscape
Master Gardener volunteer working in the Learning Landscape
This application package includes, the application, volunteer position  description and a description of the types of activities in which the San Joaquin UC Master Gardeners participate in. Please read all of the provided information carefully before submitting your application for the Master Gardener training program. 

Volunteer Position Description
Volunteer Activities Descriptions 2024


How long does the training last and what are the hours? 
The Master Gardener Training Program is an intensive 19-week overview course from the end of January to early June. The classes will be held on a Tuesday morning from 8:30 am -1:30 pm.

Ellen Zagory showing a trainee plant identification characteristics.
Ellen Zagory showing a trainee plant identification characteristics.

What are the requirements?
Applicants must live in San Joaquin County and complete their volunteer hours in San Joaquin County. If you are not a San Joaquin County resident, contact your local Cooperative Extension office for training information. You can find a list of programs on our Statewide UC Master Gardener site

  • Applicants must complete an online application, in-person interview and selection process.
  • Attend one of the orientation meetings. 
  • Must be able to complete the 19-week Training Program competently and in its entirety
  • Able to complete a minimum of 50 hours of UC SJMG-sponsored volunteer service
  • To remain certified, a minimum of 25 hours of UC SJMG-sponsored volunteer service and 12 hours of continuing education per year are required
  • As required by the UCCE, all volunteers must pass a background check that includes fingerprinting.  Once you have been accepted into the program, we will provide paperwork needed to complete this process. Trainees will be responsible for the cost of the background check, approximately $25.

Who teaches the classes and what will I learn?
Classes are taught by University of California specialists, faculty, landscape and nursery professionals, local horticulture educators and certified Master Gardeners. A team of Master Gardener mentors will also help to guide you throughout the training class and connect you to our organization.

Brad Hanson, UCCE Specialist, talking about weeds in the landscape.
Brad Hanson, UCCE Specialist, talking about weeds in the landscape.

The training program provides a basic, general, integrated, and practical course in horticulture, pest management, extension methodology and UCCE MGP policies and procedures. Core subjects include: General Botany and Plant Physiology, Soil and Fertilizer Management, Water Management, Integrated Pest Management, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Weed Management, Vertebrate Pests, Fruit and Vegetable Culture, Turfgrass Management, Ornamental Plant Culture, Plant Problem Diagnosis, Extension Teaching and Information Delivery, UCCE MGP Policies and Procedures.

Is a fee charged for the training classes?
A fee of $200.00 to cover training and resource materials is charged for the training. Partial scholarships are available. 

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 50 hours of community volunteer work during the next twelve months. Every year thereafter, 25 hours of volunteer activity and 12 hours of continuing education is required.