The WSU Extension Master Gardener Program
Master Gardeners are community volunteers who provide public education in gardening and environmental stewardship based on research at WSU and other university systems. Volunteers are trained to be community educators about issues of importance in their local communities that enhance natural resources, sustain communities, and improve the health and wellness of Washington residents. It is estimated that the Master Garden Program in Island County makes between 2500 and 4000 contacts each year through its various outreach and educational programs and plant clinics.
- There are over 90 Certified WSU Extension Master Gardeners active in Island County. As trained, volunteer community educators, these Master Gardeners record thousand of hours of volunteer service and program support. Each Master Gardener also completes at least 10 hours in continuing education each year.
- WSU Extension manages a comprehensive hands-on training class, bringing an average of 15 to 20 new Master Gardeners into the program each year in service to Island County.
Train to become a Master Gardener
Do you have an interest in gardening and want to share your knowledge with others? You can learn more about becoming an Island County Master Gardener Volunteer here. If you have any questions about the program or training to become a Master Gardener, please contact Loren Imes by email or call 360-639-6059.
Community Services Provided by WSU Island County Master Gardeners
Free Plant Clinics
Each spring and summer, Master Gardeners staff free public plant clinics in various retail and public market locations in the north, central and south end of Whidbey Island, and new for 2018 is a clinic on Camano Island. During 2014 alone, Master Gardener volunteer educators will conduct over 40 free plant clinics. Based on yearly reports, these clinics will help over 1000 Island County residents with plant problems and offer vegetable, tree and ornamental plant gardening advice and valuable information about the integrated pest management control of noxious weeds and pests.
Producing Food For Those In Need
Managed by a Master Gardener and volunteers, Lord’s Garden in Oak Harbor supplies fresh produce in season for low-income seniors, homeless and abused women and children and others in need. In 2013 alone, this garden produced an estimated $10,000 in retail value of fruits and vegetables. This healthy harvest was distributed to Oak Harbor Senior Center, Cambridge Cove and Cam-Bey Apartments, CADA, Meals on Wheels and Help House, among others.
Offering Free Gardening Seminars
Master Gardeners conduct a series of open to the public seminars at the Master Gardener Educational Garden at Greenbank Farm from May through October each year. Topics include vegetable gardening, composting, integrated pest management techniques, water management, fruit tree management and proper plant selection and maintenance for success in Island County growing conditions. In 2014 alone, this program will provide helpful information on sustainable gardening practices to over 200 community residents.
Producing The Whidbey Gardening Workshop
The Whidbey Gardening Workshop is an open-to-the-public event held annually the first Saturday in March. Now in its 30th year, the Whidbey Gardening Workshop has provided gardening advice to many thousands of Whidbey Island/Island County and Puget Sound area residents. The workshop attracts an average of 350 participants annually who can choose from a selection of over 45 classes ranging from beginner to advanced in garden care, maintenance and design with a focus on sustainability and the growing conditions in our maritime environment. It is estimated that the Workshop has reached an estimated 7,000 community residents since its inception. For more information about the event, visit the Whidbey Gardening Workshop website.
Managing Educational Garden at Greenbank Farm
Designed, maintained and managed by Master Gardeners, the educational garden’s mission is to educate the public on best home gardening practices and to encourage their application. The educational program includes demonstrating environmentally responsible gardening, providing ideas for planning and maintaining gardens, experimenting with new plants and techniques, conducting workshops and serving as a resource for all gardeners, from beginner to experienced. It is estimated that the Educational Garden is experienced by thousands of visitors to Greenbank Farm each year. Visitors are often able to speak with on-site Master Gardeners who are there for maintenance and stewardship.
Master Gardener program in the news
The Master Gardener program helps home gardeners and the environment
by Ciscoe Morris in the Seattle Times Pacific Magazine