What does it take to be a master gardener?


A master gardener is a community volunteer with a required basic level of horticultural knowledge. We are required to volunteer in our communities and continue to educate ourselves on garden issues.

The University of Minnesota Master Gardener Volunteer Program began in 1977 with its first class of 25. Since then, it has grown to include more than 2,300 master gardeners active in almost every county in the state of Minnesota. The program’s mission is to use research-based horticultural knowledge and practices to provide outreach efforts and project-based projects that inspire change and promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet.

Don’t worry if you feel like you need to know more to participate. The University of Minnesota Extension offers a course that will provide you with the knowledge needed to become a certified master gardener. The course is available as an in-person course, an online course, or as a combination of online and in-person. Becker County Master Gardeners also provide mentorship to new Trainee Gardeners.

Here in Becker County, our local master gardeners and their knowledge can be found on TV3 (Ramblin ‘Rose program), at the extension office (Plant and Pest Clinic, where we help people get answers to questions from gardening), to the Detroit Lakes community. Garden (which we sponsor / manage in collaboration with the city), at the Becker County Fair (where we have annual walking learning exhibitions), at our annual plant sale (where we are happy talk about plants), bi-monthly gardening articles in the Detroit Lakes Tribune, and offering various educational opportunities in the community.

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Our Becker County members have many reasons why they got involved in the MG program. Some just wanted more information and know-how to create a thriving garden in the harsh MN climate, some retired from their paid jobs and were looking for a way to volunteer / give back to the community, and still others really enjoy learning and helping others learn. Because gardening includes a myriad of plants – as well as reasons to grow them – learning seems a key reason to become a master gardener. There are also the related concepts of soil health, local nutrition, pollinators, sustainable landscaping, land and water stewardship, and the social aspect of gardening that bring us together. as master gardeners. We also have a Facebook page on facebook.com/beckercountymastergardeners.

If you would like more information about the Master Gardener program, you can find information on the U of MN Extension website at https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/mgweb/home. There is an online application that you can complete and it is sent directly to the state MG office. Applications must be sent by midnight on October 1. Review of applications will begin on October 2 and applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program by December 1. For more information, you can call Linda Perrine, Becker County Master Gardener Coordinator, at 218-846-7328, or stop by the Becker County Extension Office, 1120 8th St. SE, Detroit Lakes.

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