Master Gardener Program

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 •

Come Grow with the WSU Master Gardeners of Thurston County

A volunteer service gardening organization – cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973.

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WSU Thurston County Extension Master Gardener 2018 Volunteer Training Information


Next to digging in the dirt, there’s almost nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge is to enroll in WSU Extension’s Master Gardener course next spring. For forty four years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.

The WSU Master Gardener course provides WSU research-based information on how to improve soil, identify common plant pest problems including insects and diseases and weed problems, as well as honing your gardening skills. “Hands-on” workshops provide advanced training on pruning, composting, plant propagation and a host of other practical gardening skills.

There is a misperception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening. To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have gardening experience, but more importantly you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

The purpose of the WSU Master Gardener training program is to prepare you to do gardening-related volunteer service in our local communities. Volunteers who are part of the comprehensive core training course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more. After completing WSU Master Gardener core training, graduates agree to perform 60 hours of approved volunteer activities before earning the WSU Master Gardener title. Volunteers can choose from a wide array of activities, suited to individual tastes and talents, to satisfy this requirement.

2018 WSU Thurston County Master Gardener Training Details

Applicants accepted into the WSU Master Gardener volunteer training program participate in 21 weeks of classes in person and at home by using the on-line training program. Our in person trainings will happen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on alternating Friday’s. The location will either be a training room in Lacey or we will be on a field trip. Exact dates, location and further details will be given at the pre-orientation sessions.


To be accepted into the program you must meet the application criteria AND attend a pre-orientation session. Application criteria will be reviewed at the pre-orientation session. Attending a pre-orientation session will help you determine if becoming a WSU Master Gardener volunteer is a good fit for you.

The 2018 PDF application training packet can be downloaded here

2018 WSU Master Gardener Thurston County Training Application

OR the Word version

2018 WSU Master Gardener Thurston County Training Application


Course spots are filled on a first come, first served basis. If class space is available the last date to apply is Friday, December 15, 2017.   Don’t delay, apply today!

WSU Master Gardener Pre-Orientation Sessions for Thurston County

The WSU Master Gardener program requires a significant amount of time commitment. At these sessions you will learn what it takes to be a WSU Master Gardener. This includes program expectations as well as all the benefits you will receive being a WSU Master Gardener. The following sessions will allow you to see if the WSU Master Gardener Program is a right fit for you. We have pre-orientations scheduled at three locations: WSU Thurston County Extension office, Lacey Library and Tumwater Library.  *NO pre-registration needed, please just show up.*

If you decide that the WSU Master Gardener program is not for you, you’ll still walk away with new gardening resources and information.


The following pre-orientations will be held at the WSU Thurston County Extension Office

  • October 19th from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • October 27th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • November 7th from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • November 14th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The address for the WSU Extension office is 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia WA 98503. Our office is located in the Benoscheck Building at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. 

The following pre-orientations will be held at the Tumwater Library Community Room

  • November 28th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • December 2nd from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The address for the Tumwater Library is 7023 New Market St. SE, Tumwater WA 98501.


The following pre-orientations will be held at the Lacey Library Community Room

  • December 14th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • December 15th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The address for the Lacey Library is 500 College St. SE, Lacey WA 98503


Non-Volunteer Track:

We do have an option for those who are interested in taking the course for professional or personal enrichment but with NO desire of volunteering. The cost is $600 and space is limited. Details about how to apply for the non-volunteer track will be discussed at the pre-orientation session.


Click here to download the WSU Master Gardener volunteer training flier:

2018 WSU Master Gardener Volunteer Training Flier

For questions please contact Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator at 360-867-2162 or

WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Persons will disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation need to contact Cori Carlton at 3054 Carpenter Rd. SE, Olympia WA 98503, 360-867-2162, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of training.






Do You Have a Gardening Question?

Do you have a plant eaten-up by bugs or diseases? Maybe you have a plant or weed you cannot identify? Or, you have a spot in your garden and you need advice on what to plant? That’s where the WSU Master Gardener volunteers of Thurston County can help. Come visit one of our Gardens or Clinics for the answers.

West Olympia Gardening Question/Answer Clinic
3054 Carpenter Rd. SE
Benoscheck Building
Olympia, WA 98503
(360) 867-2163

Hours of Operation:


  • February – May and September – November the clinic is open Tuesday & Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • June – August the clinic is open Tuesday  –  Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • The clinic is closed December and January

Before dropping by the clinic please call ahead to make sure a volunteer is there to assist you.

 The Gardens and Clinics are operated by WSU trained and certified volunteers. These volunteers can only provide information to home gardeners. Commercial farms and businesses need to contact Extension office for help, (360) 867-2162.

Do You Have a Composting Question?

Call our rot-line at (360) 867-2163 or email or attend one of the following workshops.

























































































Directions to WSU Thurston County Extension Office:

The WSU Extension office is located at 5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502. Our office is located inside the old McLane firehouse. The City of Olympia renamed their portion of Mud Bay Road to Harrison Avenue. Some of the street signs still say Mud Bay while others have been changed to Harrison. You can Map Quest or Google our office location OR you can follow these directions:

From I-5 take HWY 101 towards Shelton. Get off at Evergreen State College/Evergreen Parkway exit. Once you exit the highway keep right and follow the sign and ramp to Mud Bay Road. At the bottom of the ramp turn right onto Mud Bay Road/Harrison Ave. and immediately right into the parking lot of the Extension office.

The office entrance is the door to the right of the fire bays. Parking is available in the small lot or all along the front of the building in non-posted spots. Parking is also available behind the building. Look for the driveway at the far end of the building and follow it to the parking lot behind the building. To enter the building follow signs through the courtyard and into the building.

For questions please contact Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator at 360-867-2162 or


WSU Extension workshops/presentations/events are open to all. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Cori Carlton at 5033 Harrison Ave. NW Olympia WA 98502, 360-867-2162 or at least two weeks prior to the event.