How to Become a Master Gardner

From the Ground Up - Becoming a Master Gardener

Do you love gardening? Have you always wanted to learn more? Do you like volunteer work? Do you love to share? Then you can become a Master Gardener.

Who are the Lea County Master Gardeners?

A Master Gardener is a family member, friend, or neighbor who loves gardening and has found a way to share that love while providing a service to the community. Master Gardeners are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens. They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and to help others. What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture.

How can I become a Master Gardener?

To start, attend the Master Gardener training program held in Lea County. New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension specialists, agents, and local experts provide volunteers 40 hours of instruction in basic horticulture. The topics include lawn care, botany, soil and plant nutrition, weed and pest management, vegetables, fruits and other related topics. Anyone who participates in and successfully completes 40 hours of classroom education completes the first step to becoming a Master Gardener. Next, complete 40 hours of volunteer service to become certified to use the title New Mexico Master Gardener. Each year thereafter, Master Gardeners must contribute 20 volunteer hours to retain certification.

The Lea County Extension office encourages anyone interested in learning more about gardening to attend the Master Gardener training program. Completing the additional requirements to become a certified Master Gardener is a choice you voluntarily make after completing the training.

What kind of volunteer activities are there? Some of the varied Master Gardener volunteer activities are: *Answering various gardening questions received by the Lea County Extension Office *Sponsor Master Gardener Training with the NMSU Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service *Home visits to assist friends and neighbors with their gardening questions *Plan host or attend garden tours in surrounding areas *Promote community projects, such as landscaping the historical Waits House in Lovington *Attend annual New Mexico Master Gardeners Conference and other regional conferences *Sponsor the Flower Show and provide an informational booth at the Lea County Fair *On request, provide talks to clubs and schools, mentor youth gardening groups, support community gardening projects, as well as work on a team to develop and maintain demonstration gardens.

When and where is the next training? Look for details in local papers or our web site calendar. Interested in becoming a Master Gardener? Have questions? Call the Lea County Extension Office at 396-2819.