How to Become a Master Gardener
What really sets a Master Gardener apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture. In exchange for their training, individuals who become Master Gardeners volunteer their time, working through their cooperative Extension office, to provide horticultural-related information to their communities.
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, and able to communicate with diverse groups of people.
Is the Master Gardener Program for Me?
To help you decide if you should apply to be a Master Gardener, ask yourself these questions:
Do I want to learn more about the culture and maintenance of many types of plants?
Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in my community?
Do I have enough time to attend and complete the training program, and to complete the volunteer service?
If you are a Hays County resident, and answered yes to these questions, this program could be for you.
Training typically takes place once a year in either the spring or fall. If accepted into the Master Gardener program, you will attend a 11-week Master Gardener training course.
Classes are taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists, staff, and local experts.
The Hays County program offers a minimum of 64 hours of instruction following Earth-Kind® practices of landscape management covering soil and plant nutrition; insect, disease, and weed management; trees; vegetable and herb gardening; lawn care; plant selection; composting; and water conservation.
We also may offer field trips that support the classroom training.
We use a hybrid model combining in-person and distance learning via Zoom. Classes meet twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays. Attendance at all class sessions is strongly recommended. The cost of the training program is $250.
In addition to the training classes, Master Gardener interns must complete 50 hours of volunteer service within in one year of the start of the class to become a Texas Master Gardener. If class begins on September 10, for example, trainees have until September 10th of the following year to complete their volunteer hours.
How will I get volunteer hours?
The type of service done by Master Gardeners varies according to community needs, and the abilities and interests of the Master Gardeners. Our current volunteer projects include our annual Plant Sale, working in the eight community and demonstration gardens across the county, or answering questions at our library and event-based information booths.
We maintain a propagation and demonstration greenhouse at Jacob’s Well Natural area, grow produce for local food banks across the county and serve our community through our Youth and Community Education and Speakers Bureau presentations.
Hays County Master Gardeners are representatives of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. In all volunteer work related to the program, Master Gardeners follow the research-based recommendations of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and use Earth-Kind® principles.