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UC Cooperative Extension
1432 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901


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Monterey Bay Master Gardeners is a non-profit 501(c)(3) program supporting the work of the UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties program.

Become A UC Master Gardener of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties

We are accepting applications through September 30 for our 2024 training program, which will run January - May 2024.

If you'd like to see what we do locally, you can watch a replay of an overview session.

UC Master Gardeners come from all walks of life with a broad range of experiences and skills. We share a passion for horticulture and the environment, an eagerness to learn, and a desire to share gardening knowledge with others through volunteer service.

The UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties are a group of over 100 volunteers who plan, organize, and implement a broad range of educational programs for the 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 skills and information.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, we welcome your application for our next training program starting in January 2024, described below. For further information about our organization, please visit the UC Master Gardener Program page.

You may also download our brochure: English (PDF) | Español (PDF)



Being a UC Master Gardener requires a commitment to volunteer a minimum number of hours per year for UC Master Gardener-approved, local 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 approved, 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.


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 and Santa Cruz Counties 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 in Santa Cruz County or Salinas. All students are required to complete additional reading and homework that will involve another 3-4 hours of time each week outside the classroom.


The application period for the 2024 Training Cohort will be open between August 1 - September 30.

To apply for the training class, you must:

  • Reside in Monterey, San Benito, or Santa Cruz County.
  • Have previous gardening experience and be willing to share your knowledge and skills with others.
  • Submit a complete application.
  • Attend a 1-hour orientation. You'll receive an invitation to available orientation sessions after you complete an application.
    • Wednesday, September 13 from 6:30-7:30 pm (Watsonville)
    • Saturday, September 16 from 10-11 am (Salinas)
    • Tuesday, September 26 from 6:30-7:30 pm (Salinas)
    • Saturday, September 30 from 10-11 am (Watsonville)
  • If invited, participate in a selection interview in October. 

Once selected and notified, students are required to:

  • Pay a one-time class materials fee of $350 at the first class. (A limited number of scholarships are available.)
  • Pass a fingerprint background check.
  • Attend the fifteen (15) weeks of classes with no more than one (1) unexcused absence.
  • Complete all required reading, projects and other assignments.
  • Successfully pass the final exam.

We are a small, but mighty, all-volunteer group making a positive impact in our community. We hope you'll consider joining us!

If you have any questions or are interested in inquiring about a scholarship, please contact our class management team at classmanagement@ucmgmb.org.