Training Program

2022-2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program

The Master Gardener Volunteer training will take place online beginning in the fall of 2022 with a few in-person learning opportunities. The online training will include self-paced learning modules coupled with live virtual sessions where participants will have direct access to dozens of horticultural experts from across the state. The course, designed to train volunteers for horticulture and food system related community service projects, will cover vegetable and fruit production, plants for the Maine landscape, soil health, composting, pesticide safety, food security, and more. Participants will be expected to engage in fun volunteer opportunities after the training takes place. 

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.  

The application period for the 2022-2023 Master Gardener Volunteer Program is now closed. 

Sign up for the 2023-2024 interest list!

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. 

  • $300: Full price: Suggested for those who can afford the full course fee.
  • $150: 50% discount: Suggested for those who can afford 50% of the full course fee.
  • $75: 75% discount: Suggested fee for participants for whom the full course fee would prove a barrier.
  • Pay It Forward: 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 during your county meet and greet during the first week of class. Please check the syllabus for exact dates and times. If you are not able to attend the meet and greet, please contact your coordinator(s).

Refund Policy: 50% refunds will be available until October 15, 2022.

The training program will be divided into three parts, all of which are required:

  • Part 1 & 2: The online course consisting of self-paced modules and live Q&A sessions using Brightspace and Zoom will take place from October 24 to December 11, 2022 (part 1) AND January 9 to March 19, 2023 (part 2).
  • Part 3: The 40-hour volunteer internship will begin after the online training takes place. Interns will have until the end of the calendar year to complete their 40 hours of volunteer service. 
    • In order to maintain the Master Gardener Volunteer certification, volunteers must commit to volunteering a minimum of 20 hours every calendar year with an approved project and submit an annual enrollment form.

Part 1 & 2: Online Course

Course Format: Part 1 & 2 of the Master Gardener Volunteers Training will be completed virtually through Brightspace, our online learning platform. Participants can anticipate 4-5 hours of self-paced content a week including reading, videos, and activities. Participants will also get access to weekly live Q&A Zoom sessions with a panel of experts scheduled to take place on Tuesday evenings. There will be one required in-person meet and greet during the first week of class, check your syllabus for more information. 

In order to become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer, participants must:

  • Successfully complete the training by:
    • Completing the self-paced learning content
    • Receiving an average grade of 80% on the module quizzes
    • Submitting your Reflection Journal 
    • Completing your Volunteer Internship Proposal
  • Complete your Volunteer Internship (at least 40 hours on an approved project) by the end of the calendar year

Course Schedule (tentative)

Module 1: Volunteerism

  • Orientation
  • Volunteerism
  • Food Systems and Food Security

Module: 2: Foundations of Horticulture

  • Ecology
  • Botany
  • Propagation
  • Soils and Composting

Module 3: Food Production

  • Vegetables 
  • Vegetables Maintenance
  • Small Fruits
  • Tree Fruits
  • Garden Food Safety

Module 4: Garden Pests and Diseases

  • Entomology
  • Plant Diseases
  • Pesticide Safety

Module 5: Maine Landscapes and Design

  • Plants for the Maine Landscape
  • Landscape Design and Maintenance

Part 3: Volunteer Internship and Hands-On Learning

To become certified as a Master Gardener Volunteer, all participants must complete an internship that involves volunteering at least 40 hours on approved horticultural projects by the end of the calendar year. Our program provides opportunities for gardeners with all levels of experience to connect with projects in their community. Participants will be expected to complete an internship plan throughout the spring semester. Your local coordinators will help you find approved volunteer opportunities that are well suited to your interests, location and skill sets. Service opportunities and expectations will be adjusted based on public health safety guidelines.

Micro-Credential: Participants who successfully complete the training and their 40-hour internship will receive the Master Gardener Volunteer Micro-Credential. 

Hands-On Learning: Beginning in mid-March, there will be regional workshops offered to Master Gardener Volunteer Interns who’ve completed the online training. This schedule will be released after returning from the winter break. Please note: These workshops are regional and may require a longer drive.

Technology Requirements

This course content will be entirely online with optional hands-on classes. 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 a reasonable accommodation, please contact us at or 207-581-3188 by September 15, 2022. If requests are received after this date, we may not have sufficient time to make necessary arrangements.

Thank you to Eden Brothers and Coast of Maine for sponsoring this year’s Master Gardener Volunteer Training!

Eden Brothers logo


Other Available Training Programs

image of girl gardeningMaine Horticulture Apprentice Training is a micro-credential program recommended for those who are or will be considering skilled, entry-level employment in the horticulture industry.  Review full course information on the webpage.



image of ornamental plants around a paved walkway beside a houseMaine Gardener Training is 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. Review course information on the webpage.