• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

Master Gardener decision.

 
gardener
Posts: 1220
Location: N. California
487
hugelkultur kids cat dog fungi trees books chicken cooking medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My sister in-law has been urging me for years to take the master Gardener course.  I work at the Grange Co-op. A lady brought flyers for the course.  I talked to my manager and she said they would work with me so I have time for it.  Now I have to decide if I want to do it.  I love to learn new things, and let's face it, kind of cool to be a master Gardener.  The course is 64 intensive hours.  Then I will have to do 50 hours of community work the first year, and 25 each year after.  Besides new knowledge, and a platform to share that knowledge, there's no gain. It won't advance me at work, or  won't get me more money.
Sooooo help.  Any MG out there?  Are you glad you did it? Was it a waist of time?  I would love to hear thoughts, advance, pro's, or con's. Thanks
 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 3227
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
1516
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee woodworking homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not a master gardener but I used to work with a group of them & master naturalists. They did some cool projects & sometimes had access to very special places that weren't open to the public. It is an excellent networking opportunity. I think anything one can do to learn more about whatever interests them is worthwhile. You never know what doors it might open.
 
steward
Posts: 12914
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3654
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in my local master gardener club but I'm not a master gardener.  I will probably take the class some day but not till I have more time.  So your local master gardeners may allow non-MGs into their activities.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1446
Location: Southern Oregon
419
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did the Land Steward program at my extension office. I loved it. Unfortunately everything at the extension office is still closed and only Zoom classes are offered.

Enjoy your program.
 
gardener
Posts: 2762
Location: South of Capricorn
1254
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wish I had the chance to do it! I think between networking and hands-on it's a fabulous opportunity, and I'm a big fan of having as many tools in your belt as possible, because who knows what the heck is coming tomorrow.
 
gardener
Posts: 429
Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
286
hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation building solar greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Jen and all. You asked for pros and cons so I'd like to temper the enthusiasm with a note of caution based on my experience. Please realize that all the Master Gardener programs are different so your area program could, and should be, very specific to your region. Your program could be much more engaging and less bureaucratic than my program. With that said, I found that the cutting edge, experimentation spirit of Permies lacking in the local program here. The classroom setting and Powerpoint format was soul sucking: we never actually went out into nature on a field trip to look at real life situations. We never touched the soil. Plant samples and seeds were passed around or left at a show-and-tell tables but nothing was explored in context. Lots of papers and tests were distributed as in traditional school. There were some good speakers but again, it felt like the kind of teaching situation where the clock couldn’t move faster.

What I did appreciate about the program was the opportunity to meet volunteers with a deep commitment to help beautify and care for our community’s public spaces. These are really generous people who continue to serve year after year. It is astounding how many hours the Master Gardener volunteers give to our community.

I highly recommend that you drive to the place where you will do your volunteer hours and determine if the situation works for you. Call the Master Gardener or extension office hotline and interview the volunteers who answer the phone. This is a big commitment so do your homework to find out if it suits your personality.
 
pollinator
Posts: 230
Location: Sedona Az Zone 8b
114
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
O.K. I don't want to be Debbie Downer here but you asked for pros and CONS. When I started gardening here in Sedona I tried really hard to find mentors with no luck so I was mostly on my own. The first year or 2 I regularly emailed or called my extension agents here for advice. The volunteers that gave advice were all 'Master Gardeners' and frankly they never gave me any advice that helped. So I got a job at our only local garden center hoping I could learn a lot about gardening from my coworkers. No luck there either. Most of them never had a garden or hadn't gardened in years. They were just minimum wage grunts like me that enjoyed working outside with pretty plants. Even the garden manager had very little experience.

I did have lots of people come to the garden center and quickly announced that they took the classes from the University of Arizona and were 'Master Gardeners' and I immediately pelted them with all my questions. They all gave me simple suggestions that you could find online doing a 5 minute search. They all looked very sheepish when I said that I had already tried this, that or the other and they had never had the same problems and they couldn't give me any great advice.

So I think it totally depends on just how knowledgeable the people who will be teaching you are.  How much experience and education they have. I think it depends on the programs in your specific area. I know when I'm troubleshooting a problem I often go to the websites for the University of Michigan extension service or the University of Washington extension service because they have great programs there and are very knowledgeable. They do lots of research with their classes and publish their findings and often get them peer reviewed.

So you might want to get to know a few of the Master Gardeners in your area first so you can decide if it is worth your time. Having said all that.... I'm old! And I would love to go back to school! School is so wasted on young people. And have fun!
 
pollinator
Posts: 97
Location: 3,000 ft up in the mountains of the Mid Atlantic, USA
49
trees books cooking ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Personally I think you should only do it if it is something you are passionate about and if you truly want to help and educate others. Don't do it out of peer pressure. Have a friend who went through the program. Not really sure why she did it other than the bragging rights. She initially did a small seasonal garden at a high school two years ago. Nothing since for the community. I give her kudos for taking the time to learn about gardening but her overall gardening knowledge and skills are quite laughable. She has a small greenhouse where she grows a few sad vegetables that don't get enough sunlight and produce possibly a few vege servings over the entire summer.  Beyond me how she could have been through the program and know so little. Yes, she knows a lot of the technical terms and is somewhat book smart on gardening, but she is just not a natural gardener, nor does she like getting her hands in the dirt. Then I've known master gardeners who worked at nurseries, volunteered their time at farmers markets, etc. and were a font of knowledge for me and many others. Up to you what you make it I guess. Up to you if getting certification is worth the time and effort.
 
Posts: 85
Location: Vancouver, Washington
24
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
May I say a few words in defense of the Master Gardeners program?
The Master Gardeners program was started in the state I live in by Washington State University. Their extension offices in the counties were overwhelmed by questions from the public and they needed help. They decided to start a volunteer program that would provide assistance to homeowners, to free up their extension offices to support commericial growers.  The volunteers are educated by the unverisity and the extension offices so this is a science-based program.  You don't learn everything, or even an in depth knowledge about particular things.  Instead, you are given the tools you'll need to figure out how to address gardening questions and educate the public about sustainable gardening practices.  You learn the basics about plant taxonomy, botany, soils, nutrition, plant pathology and entomology. You learn about weeds, vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and forests. And you learn about how to manage garden challenges like pests, fire risk, drought, heat and water. It's very broad. The intent is to give each volunteer the tools they'll need to be able to provide research-based information to homeowners about sustainable gardening practices.  
So, the question is, is the program right for you? What does your sister-in-law see in you that she thinks you'd enjoy it? Are you passionate about sustainable gardening, like knowing what plants grow best under the conditions in a particular environment or addressing issues caused by pests using means that don't harm the environment if at all possible? Would you like to spread the word? Do you love figuring out a particularily puzzling question? Would you like to meet a whole bunch of people with similar interests?  If so, it might be. If you're interested, go talk to the Extension Office coordinator and visit their plant and insect clinic and ask them about their program.  Each county's program is different, but I bet you'll find a bunch of nice people who would welcome you into their group and provide you with a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from.
 
Posts: 1308
78
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I say, take every educational opportunity you can.
64 hours is nothing in a lifetime of toil.
 
Jen Fulkerson
gardener
Posts: 1220
Location: N. California
487
hugelkultur kids cat dog fungi trees books chicken cooking medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had decided to check out my local extension office, talk to them, and more than likely go for it.  Before I got the chance my manager let me know they were creating a full time position, and I have to apply for it, but he asked if I still wanted full time.  I would work during the time of the class. It looks like it's not meant to be for now.   Oh well, maybe next time.
 
He baked a muffin that stole my car! And this tiny ad:
Earth Friendly Heat - Full Event - 16 hours of video
https://permies.com/wiki/188928/Earth-Friendly-Heat-Full-Event
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic