Mentor a Beginning Gardener Virtually
The goal of the Garden Mentorship Program is to match Master Gardener Volunteers with gardeners in their county (or a nearby county) in order to provide virtual technical assistance and encouragement throughout the season. This program will serve Maine residents on a first come, first serve basis and prioritize beginner gardeners. The program is intended to equip Maine residents with reliable, research-based information that will assist gardeners with improving their practices as well as enhance their problem-solving skills to identify and mitigate issues. The ultimate goal of this program is to build confidence in the Garden Mentee to the point where they no longer need mentorship from a Master Gardener Volunteer. The Garden Mentorship Program follows the calendar year.
- The MGV will establish clear ground rules with the Mentee from the beginning to ensure that you and your Garden Mentee have similar expectations from each other and the program.
- The MGV will ask their Mentee questions about their garden; the list below can serve as a guide for this conversation. This discussion will help you provide the best possible advice for your Mentee. Please keep in mind that your own goals and values may differ from the person you are mentoring.
- Personal goals (e.g. preserve fresh produce, expand a garden area)
- Values/practices (e.g. low-input garden, organic vs. conventional)
- Site characteristics (e.g. full sun/part shade, clay soil, windy)
- Garden history if applicable (e.g. persistent pest problems or landscape issues)
- Budget (e.g. resources available)
- Request garden photos when possible to provide visual aids (if this is feasible for your Mentee)
- Time commitment and labor (e.g. How much time does the Mentee have to invest in this project? Are they doing this project alone or do they have help?)
- Your MGV Coordinator is available to support you throughout the process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Coordinator if you are having difficulty navigating a situation or a conflict arises between you and your Mentee.
- Garden Mentors will NOT be providing any in-person visits for their Mentee. This is clearly outlined in the Garden Mentor Request Form filled out by the Mentee.
- Master Gardener Volunteers are expected to commit to serving as a Garden Mentor for at least one growing season (once they are matched with a Mentee). Unforeseen circumstances may arise, and not all mentee/mentor relationships will work out. It’s important to communicate with your MGV Coordinator if you are no longer able to serve in this role.
- The MGV Coordinator will check in with Garden Mentors on a regular basis to offer support. The frequency of these check-ins will be determined by the MGV Coordinator or the local Garden Mentor Committee based on the feedback from their Garden Mentors.