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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..

Volunteer Commitment

Community service hours in horticulture related activities, events, or programs are required by all program participants to receive their certification. Within one year of completing a course and its required exams, students must fulfill a minimum volunteer commitment of 20 hours.

In order to be certified and maintain good standing as a Master Gardener, participants agree to complete a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer service and 4 hours of continued education per year. Yellowstone County 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.

Core Master Gardener Course - Introduction to the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program

  • Soils, Nutrients and Fertilizer
  • Plant Growth and Development
  • Vegetable Gardening
  • Growing Small Fruit and Fruit Trees
  • Growing and Caring for Flowers
  • Landscape Design
  • Planting and Maintaining Trees and Shrubs
  • Lawns and Irrigation
  • Composting
  • Introduction to Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Advanced Master Gardener Course

This course is currently unavailable. For more information contact Sarah Eilers, MSU Extension State Master Gardener Coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (406) 994-2120.

Online Registration Information

The online course is self paced and can be taken anytime. The course is presented using the Brightspace Education Platform. Users who are new to Brightspace will be charged a technology fee of $30 by the online host site (Brightspace) upon creating a student profile.

Course fee is $125. Individuals registering for an online course will be provided with a link to the Brightspace learning platform and instructions for accessing the course. 

In addition to the class fee a Montana Master Gardener Handbook is required. Cost of the handbook is $50.

For more information contact Sarah Eilers, MSU Extension State Master Gardener Coordinator at [email protected] or by calling (406) 994-2120.