The purpose of the WSU Extension Master Gardener Program is to train volunteers to be effective community educators in gardening and environmental stewardship. Master Gardeners (MG’s) provide information generated from research at WSU and other university systems.
Today’s Master Gardener volunteers teach local community members to:
- manage their gardens and landscapes in a science-based, sustainable manner;
- address environmental and social priorities such as water conservation and water quality protection;
- reduce the impact of invasive species; and,
- increase public awareness of healthy living through gardening.
MG’s also enhance communities through demonstration gardens and donation of produce to local food banks. Low-income citizens learn to grow their own food and become more self-sufficient with the help of Master Gardeners. Whatever the priority need may be, if it can be addressed through gardening, WSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers are there to serve as part of the solution.
Here in Benton and Franklin counties, our Master Gardener volunteers are trained to solve gardening problems and provide WSU approved research-based advice to the public. Our volunteers staff regularly scheduled plant problem diagnostic clinics in several locations during the gardening season, helping people learn to manage their landscapes and gardens more more effectively with environmentally sound gardening practices.
How to Become a Benton-Franklin Master Gardener
The WSU Extension Master Gardener Program is open to everyone with an interest in gardening and a willingness to use their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on our local community.
In Benton and Franklin Counties, training is held annually during the winter and early spring starting in mid-January. For 2018, applications are due by January 2, 2018, with classes to begin January 23rd, 2018. Classes are three hours in length and are usually on Tuesday afternoons from late January until the first week of May. Forty to fifty new volunteers typically apply to participate in the program each year.
The Master Gardener core curriculum includes modules in:
- basic botany and horticulture
- soil and garden management
- principles of pest management
- landscape plant management
- integrated pest management & pesticide safety
- herbaceous plants
- plant pathology
- principles of weed management
- tree fruit and small fruit production
- vegetable garden production
- home lawn management
- sustainable gardening practices
- insect identification and plant problem diagnosis