Becoming A Purdue Extension Master Gardener

 If you would like to join a waitlist to be notified of the next session of classes, please click here.   Please be aware that with current conditions due to coronavirus, the following information on cost, location of classes, etc, is subject to change.

What is the Hamilton County MASTER GARDENER PROGRAM?

The Purdue Master Gardener Program is “Helping Others Grow.” The program provides gardeners with intensive education in horticultural principles. The instruction is provided without charge, however, there is a fee for supplies which become your personal reference collection. Participants who successfully complete the program and, thereafter, donate an equal number of volunteer hours in community gardening services are certified as Master Gardeners. Yearly donation of time is expected to maintain certification.

The original Extension Master Gardener program was created in 1972 in Seattle in response to the overwhelming demand for home gardening information. Indiana’s program began in 1978 with Marion and three other participating counties. Currently, about 77 Indiana counties have active Extension Master Gardener programs.

In Indiana, the Master Gardener Program is conducted by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service through local Extension offices.

Why Should You Become a Master Gardener?

You’ll always have the opportunity to grow in several ways when you become a Master Gardener. After satisfying the requirements for volunteer activity, the ways you grow and how far you go are up to you!

  1. The training sessions will increase your knowledge of a wide array of gardening subjects.
  2. This increased knowledge will give you the skills and confidence to teach others in your community what you know about gardening, either one-on-one or in group settings.
  3. Sharing your gardening knowledge with your neighbors will give you a great way to become more involved in improving the quality of life in your community.
  4. And you’ll be able, if you wish, to use the training and experience in leadership you’ve gotten through your activities in the Master Gardener Program as a springboard to other forms of community leadership.

What Training Will You Get?

If you are accepted into the Master Gardener Program, you will receive training in the following areas:

Soil Science
Plant Propagation
Identification and Control of Insect Pests
Weed Identification
Annuals & Perennials
Vegetable Gardening
Planting & Pruning
Plant Nutrition
Plant Science
Identification and Control of Plant Diseases
Pesticide Safety
Lawn Care
Woody Perennials

And much, much more.

What are the Requirements of the Master Gardener Program?

When you’ve been accepted into a training program, you should make every attempt to attend the series of classes, each lasting about 3 hours. You may miss a maximum of 2 “non-required topic” classes. After completing the training, you will be examined over the material covered and must receive a score of 70% to become a Master Gardener Intern.

When you have passed your exam and completed your volunteer commitment, you will be certified as a Purdue Extension Master Gardener. You will be required to complete 12 hours of volunteer service annually AND receive 6 hours of educational training annually to maintain your Master Gardener status once you are certified.

The cost for the program is $175 and includes all materials (as of 2020, subject to change in future years). Participants from the same family who share a mailing address may attend the class for an additional $87.50 if you agree to share the training materials. Please remember each Master Gardener volunteer should have access to the resource materials so this offer does not apply unless you live in the same location.

The maximum in-person class size is 35. The class will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis so please get your applications in quickly.  If you want to be placed on the waiting list for a future time, please let me know. Once you have submitted your application and show our office a picture of your government photo ID we will send you the registration link to pay.

The purpose of this program is to develop and train Purdue University volunteers – not just teach people about horticulture. In order to complete the course and become a Master Gardener Intern you must regularly attend programs and score at least 70% on the final exam. Attendance is mandatory as you must complete a minimum of 10 out of 12 sessions. I realize that situations come up; family emergencies, etc., and if this happens I’ll work with you but regular attendance is essential.

Following completion of the class you will be a Master Gardener Intern and once you have volunteered 40 hours of service you will be an official Purdue Extension Master Gardener.  This can consist of such services as answering garden questions, conducting garden schools, working on approved community beautification projects, or assisting in other public education-related activities. Credit for Master Gardener activities are limited to those associated with public facilities only or for public not-for-profit organizations. Homeowner association projects do not qualify.

Please return these completed materials to the Extension Office as soon as possible. The address is on the application.

Payment is required to reserve a place in the class. Spots will not be held without payment and an application form for each participant. Payment does not guarantee a place in the class.

What: Purdue Extension-Hamilton County Master Gardener Class

Where: Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds in Noblesville, Indiana

When: To Be Determined

Registration information for the classes is below.

There are two parts to the registration process. Step 1: Apply and be accepted into the Master Gardener program. Fill out the MG Volunteer Agreement and Application Form 2019 and return to our office located at 2003 Pleasant Street in Noblesville, IN. Our office must see a governmental photo ID before you can complete step 2. Step 2: Register and pay for the class.  BEGIN STEP 1 NOW! It must be completed before you register online for the class.

Basic registration fee: $175 per person (second person from same household is $87.50. Cancellation Policy: If for any reason you are unable to attend there is a $26 cancellation policy per registration.)

Please contact Emma Mendez at with any additional questions.

Related Files, for your information (updated files will be available when the next class is planned):

Master Gardener Application, as used in 2019

Program Policy Guide

Typical Class Schedule, as used in 2019

Volunteer Agreement

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