Become A UC Master Gardener of Monterey Bay
UC Master Gardeners come from all walks of life with a broad range of experiences and skills. They share several characteristics: a passion for horticulture and the environment, an eagerness to learn, and a desire to share their gardening knowledge with others.
Our UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay are an eclectic group of over 130 volunteers who enjoy planning, organizing, and implementing a broad range of educational programs for the local home gardeners in our area. We enjoy the creativity of developing rewarding educational activities, the camaraderie of working together toward common goals, and the appreciation from other gardeners as they learn new things.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, we welcome your application for our next training program, described below. For further information about our organization, please visit the UC Master Gardener Program page.
Being a UC Master Gardener requires a commitment to volunteer a minimum number of hours per year to the local MG educational programs and to continue your horticultural education as long as you are an active UC Master Gardener.
Specifically, each UC Master Gardener must:
- Complete 50 hours of volunteer work on approved programs during the first year as a Master Gardener, and then 25 hours per year thereafter.
- Complete 12 hours of continuing education in horticulture each year.
In exchange for this commitment, you are given a comprehensive training program to prepare you for your volunteer work.
The Training Program
To be certified as a UC Master Gardener, applicants must successfully complete a comprehensive training program on horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices. Class topics include botany, composting, integrated pest management (IPM), soils, water management, entomology, plant pathology, fruit and ornamental tree culture and sustainable landscape practices.
Training classes for UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay are held every two years from January through May. Classes are held every Saturday (except holiday weekends) from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM at the UCCE office in Watsonville. All students are required to complete additional reading and homework that will involve another 3-4 hours of time each week outside the classroom.
To be accepted into the UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay program, you must:
- Reside in Santa Cruz, Monterey, or San Benito County.
- Have previous gardening experience and be willing to share your knowledge and skills!
- Submit a complete program application and, if invited, participate in a selection interview.
- If selected, pass a fingerprint background check and pay a one-time materials fee of $175.
- Attend the scheduled 16 training days over 5 months with no more than 1 unexcused absence.
- Complete all required reading, projects and other assignments, and successfully pass the final exam.
How to apply
Applications for the 2016 class are now closed. UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay will begin accepting applications in 2017 for our next training class beginning in 2018.
If you have further questions, please email our Hotline. Thank you for your interest.