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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


You can be a Master Gardener if:

  • You want to learn more about plants and gardening.
  • You are eager to participate in practical and intensive training programs.
  • You enjoy sharing your knowledge with others.
  • You have the time to attend training and serve your community as a volunteer educator.

How Do I Become A Master Gardener?

You must be accepted to the program, attend a training class and complete 50 hours of volunteer activity.

The OSU Extension Master Gardener Program is a premier statewide network of volunteer education and leadership development; as well as a consumer horticulture education delivery system that maximizes human, material, and natural resources, and values teamwork and excellence in educational programming.

There are many exciting opportunities for continuing education and camaraderie and this has helped OSU Extension to develop a corps of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are an important component of the OSU Extension system. The Master Gardeners' knowledge, experience and enthusiasm have become essential to Extension education of consumer horticulture in the state of Ohio. Please feel free to contact our facility with any questions about our programs and services to the community. We are available for presentations, programs and information sharing that your group, company, or organization might like to know more about. The formal training program is the responsibility of the Hamilton County Extension professionals. Instructors are Ohio State University faculty, Extension Specialists, Extension Associates, experienced Master Gardeners, and other experts.

The training program provides a balanced, integrated practical course in plant science. Core topics that are to be part of the training in every county are oriented to Extension and the Master Gardener Program:

Basic Botany
Plant Physiology
Soils and Soil Fertility
Basic Entomology
Basic Plant Pathology
Plant Disease Diagnosis
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Pesticide Use and Safety
Plant Identification
Home Lawn Care
Trees and Shrubs
Home Vegetable Production
Home Fruit Production
Backyard Wildlife Management
Organic Gardening
Specials topics, based on local needs, may be part of the curriculum.

Volunteer Commitment

The Master Gardener training course consists of a minimum of 50 hours of instruction. An equivalent number (50) of horticulturally significant volunteer hours within 1 year following the initial instruction is required to become a certified Master Gardener. Those hours must be contributed to programs directly sponsored by OSU Extension, Hamilton County (Extension programs). Master Gardeners may re-certify by completing 20 additional hours of public service and 10 hours of advanced educational training each year. Only unpaid public service in Ohio State University Extension-sponsored activities count toward the requirement.

You must get fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check in order to become a Master Gardener Volunteer. The cost of the class is $250.00 plus the cost of the background check.

Our next Master Gardener training program in Hamilton County will be in the fall of 2022; more information will be emailed to interested parties in July 2022.  If you would like to be added to the email list for the 2022 class please email Jennifer Goldschneider at