The Master Gardener Program was originally created by the Extension Service of Washington State in 1972. It grew out of the need to meet increased requests from urban home gardeners for horticultural information. Before the program was started Extension Agents were dealing mainly with farmers and ranchers. Because of the urban and transient nature of the modern American life they also became a resource for answering urban landscape and garden questions, including insect and disease control, plant culture and variety selection. The Master Gardener is a vital part of Extension's ability to provide the community with up-to-date, reliable knowledge so they can enjoy and protect the value of horticulture around their homes.
How Does The Program Work?
Master Gardener courses are offered online year round in a self-paced, self-study format or in person on an annual basis. Instruction is provided by Montana State University-Bozeman Extension Master Gardener Coordinators, utilizing the Academic Technology & Outreach (ATO) Brightspace platform. There is no time limit for completing each on-line course, in person classes run for eight weeks..
In order to be certified and maintain good standing as a Master Gardener, participants agree to complete a minimum of 20 hours (for Level 1), 30 hours (for Level 2), and 40 hours (for Level 3) of volunteer service through the Yellowstone County Extension Office. Volunteer opportunities include: working in a neighborhood garden, giving gardening presentations at schools and to civic groups, manning Info-Booths, telephone and office work, researching and writing grants, fair judging, fund raising, land research, and other opportunities as they present themselves.
Level 1 - Introduction to the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program
- Soils & Fertility
- Plant Growth & Development 1
- Growing Food From Your Garden
- Trees, Shrubs, Vines and Pruning
- Lawns and Irrigation
- Yard & Garden Maintenance/Composting
- Intro to IPM-Integrated Pest Management
Level 2- The Role of Master Gardener in Extension
- Binomial Nomenclature
- Fertility, Plant Nutrients
- Plant Growth and Development 2
- Entomology, Plant Diseases and Abiotic Disorders
- Vegetable and Fruit IPM
- Trees, Shrubs, and Lawn IPM
- Advanced Pruning and Woody Ornamental Care
- Water Conservation
Level 3 Training
Level 3 is a three-day hands-on intensive course offered on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman. Participants must be certified Level 2 Master Gardeners. To learn more about the Level 3 Master Gardener course, contact Sarah Eilers, MSU Extension State Master Gardener Coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (406) 994-2120.
To register for a course complete the appropriate registration form and return with the course fee of $125 ($80 for veterans) to the MSU Extension office in Yellowstone County.
In addition to the class fee A Montana Master Gardener Handbook is required for all Level 1 & Level 2 classes. If you have not previously purchased a handbook you can do so by visiting the MSU Extension Publications website. Cost of the handbook is $50.
Individuals registering for an online course will be provided with a link to the Brightspace learning platform and instructions for accessing the course after the class fee of $125 has been received. Users who are new to Brightspace will be charged an additonal technology fee of $30 by the online host site (Brightspace) upon creating a student profile.
Online courses are self paced and can be taken anytime. The course is presented using the Brightspace Education Platform and requires an additional $30 user fee.