Maine Gardener Training Program

The Maine Gardener Training program is designed to supply learners with a foundation in horticulture education and skills for use in their personal gardens. Recommended for those who would like to access the educational content of the Master Gardener Volunteer training program but are not interested or able to volunteer. Based on the Master Gardener Volunteer Training, this online course provides valuable horticulture education for use in a private garden.

How to Enroll

We have a limited number of training slots available and enrollment will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Enrollment for the 2023-2024 training program has now passed. Thank you for your interest. Please complete the form below to add your name to the email list to be notified when registration opens in Fall of 2024. 

Maine Gardener Training Interest List

Enter your contact information to receive an email reminder when enrollment opens in the Fall of 2024. We have a limited number of training slots available and enrollment will be on a first come, first serve basis.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Course Fee

This training program is offered on a sliding scale (self-selected). We strive to make the training accessible and affordable for all Maine residents. The course fee covers expenses including books, supplies, and other direct course-related expenses. 

  • $600 (Full Price): Suggested for those who can afford the full course fee. 
  • $300 (50% discount): Suggested fee for those who can afford 50% of the full course fee. Please use voucher code: 50takeoff
  • $150 (75% discount): Suggested fee for participants for whom the full course fee would prove a barrier to participation. Please use voucher code: 75takeoff
  • Pay it forward through our UMaine Extension Horticulture Fund! This fund is intended to help us with our goal of offering horticulture learning opportunities to economically challenged individuals at an affordable rate.

*Please contact us if these payment options still proves a barrier for participation

Please note: Books and supplies will need to be picked up at your county Extension office. Please call or email your local Extension office in advance to confirm their hours before stopping by. There is no rush to pick up the course supplies as they aren’t needed until further into the training. If you are not able to pick up these items, please contact course organizers at

Refund Policy: 50% refunds will be available. 

The training program will be divided into two parts, which will take place:

  • Part 1: Dates to be determined
  • Part 2: Dates to be determined

Part 1 and 2: Online Course

Course Format:

The Maine Gardener Training will be completed virtually through Brightspace, our online learning platform. Participants can anticipate 4-5 hours of self-paced content a week including readings, videos and activities. Participants will also get access to live Q&A sessions with a panel of experts scheduled to take place on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. To receive credit, participants must score at least 80% on all module quizzes.  

Course Schedule (tentative)

Module 1: Orientation
  • Course Orientation (required) and Food Systems and Food Security (optional)
Module 2: Foundations of Horticulture
  • Ecology
  • Botany
  • Propagation
  • Soils and Composting, Part 1
  • Soils and Composting, Part 2
Module 3: Food Production
  • Vegetables 
  • Garden Maintenance and Food Safety
  • Small Fruits
  • Tree Fruits
Module 4: Garden Pests and Diseases
  • Prevention
  • Identification
  • Management
Module 5: Maine Landscapes and Design
  • Plants for the Maine Landscape
  • Landscape Design and Maintenance

Technology Requirements

This course content will be entirely online on Brightspace. An email address, access to a reliable internet connection, the newest version of your web browser and an electronic device (i.e. laptop, desktop, iPad, or tablet) with video/audio capabilities are required to complete this course. 

Is online learning right for you?

Online learning is an accessible, affordable, and flexible learning environment that allows students to work around their personal schedules to obtain quality education. If you are wondering if online learning is right for you, please visit Online Learning: What You Need to Succeed.  

Do you need access to a computer or reliable internet to participate in this training? 

  • To complete coursework: you may contact your local Extension office to schedule a time to use their WiFi during office hours (in the building) or use WiFi anytime from the parking lot.
  • Contact the National Digital Equity Center for no cost or low cost tablets for Maine Residents who are of low to moderate income.
  • Many public libraries have computers available for public use. Contact your local library for more information.
  • If you are still unable to find access, please contact your local Extension office.

Accommodations: If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this course, please contact us at or 207.781.6099. Requests received after this date may not allow sufficient time for the necessary accommodations. 

Which Horticulture Program is Right for You?

Maine Gardener Training:

Designed for gardeners who desire a foundation in basic horticulture education and skills for use in their personal garden. Recommended for those who would like to access the educational content of the Master Gardener Volunteer training program but are not interested or able to volunteer. 

Maine Horticulture Apprentice Training:

Designed for learners interested in exploring a career in horticulture, whether an entry level employee, a high school student, or those interested in changing their career path.  It is designed to supply learners with a foundational horticulture education suitable for skilled entry-level positions in the horticulture industry. Developed with input from horticulture industry leaders, this program will prepare learners with the practical horticulture knowledge and skills desired by employers, and earn a University of Maine micro-credential. 

Master Gardener Volunteer Training:

Designed to educate gardeners with research-based horticulture knowledge and train them as volunteers to share their knowledge in their local communities. Any Maine resident interested in studying horticulture and volunteering in community gardening projects is encouraged to apply. There is an application process for this program.

Still wondering which horticulture training program is right for you?

Visit: Which Horticulture Training is Right for You?

For more information about our other horticulture training programs, please visit the Master Gardener Volunteer website, for those who would like to give back to their communities while receiving a discount on the training, and on the Maine Horticulture Apprentice Training page, for those interested in preparing for an entry level horticulture career.

In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, familial status, ancestry, age, disability physical or mental, genetic information, or veterans or military status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 5713 Chadbourne Hall, Room 412, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5713, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).