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Gardening - Master Gardeners in Penobscot County

Report your Master Gardener Volunteer hours (The reporting form is password-protected; please, contact for the password.)

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Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Master Gardeners are truly special people dedicated to sharing their horticultural knowledge and skills with their community. This program provides participants with in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. In return, trainees are expected to volunteer their time and expertise to projects that educate the public and/or address food insecurity in our region. 

2018 Training Schedule*

We will not be offering a Master Gardener training in 2018. Interested participants are encouraged to contact our office to sign up for the 2019 waiting list and learn about other horticultural learning opportunities happening in 2018. Below is the 2017 training schedule for reference.


2/14 Orientation & Seed Starting
2/21 Soils
2/28 Botany
3/7 Vegetables (part 1)
3/11** Propagation and Greenhouse Tour
3/14 Insect/Plant Disease Management
3/21 Small Fruit (part 1)
3/28 Sustainable Landscape Design
4/4 Vegetables (part 2)
4/11 Woodly Ornamental Plants
4/18 Pesticide Safety
4/25 Small Fruits (part 2) and Good Agricultural Practices
4/29** Tree Fruits
5/2 Weed Management/Nutrition for Home Gardener

9/5 Herbaceous Ornamental Plants
9/12 Composting
9/19 Final Exam and Harvest Potluck

*schedule is subject to change
** Saturday 9 – noon, trainees only need to attend one of the two Saturday sessions

Background Check for NEW Master Gardener Volunteers

It is the University of Maine’s policy to conduct a background check on those who have direct responsibility for the care, safety, and security of community members or property and the care, safety, and security of minors (under 18), the elderly, incapacitated persons, or persons with developmental disabilities who participate in University sponsored programs. Master Gardener projects are diverse in scope and there are many occasions where Master Gardeners do take on this level of responsibility. It is for that reason we conduct background checks on all volunteers.

All prospective Master Gardener Volunteers are required to complete a background check. If you are accepted into the program, Extension staff will provide you with the necessary paperwork for the background check. The Human Resources Department handles the background check process and staff does not receive a copy of the results.

Please be aware that any issues arising from the background check will not necessarily preclude you from participation in the program or being unable to volunteer, but it may impact which projects you are ultimately matched with. The University of Maine is committed to providing a safe environment for teaching, learning, and community outreach.

Directions to Training Sites

Training Materials

The online Master Gardener Volunteers Manual is a collection of bulletins, chapters, and links that have been carefully selected to provide you with timely, in-depth, and applied information on a number of important horticultural topics. This format will allow you to access new and updated materials long after your training. Please contact Kate Garland if you have any concerns regarding your ability to access the online manual for the training.


County, state, and federal tax dollars and donations do not fully cover the true costs of offering this program. Consequently, we must charge a program fee of $220. Accepted applicants will receive an email giving instructions on how to use our secure payment portal. PLEASE DO NOT SEND MONEY BEFORE RECEIVING THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

The Master Gardener Volunteers program is a statewide program and is one of the most popular and valued programs offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This program is committed to offering high quality horticultural education to all interested Maine residents. To help us meet this goal and keep the program affordable, the program relies on tax dollars, donations, and program fees.

Limited financial assistance is available. Contact Kate Garland for more information.

We welcome donations to support Master Gardener Volunteer activities.

Volunteer Projects

Within a year of taking the training, Master Gardener Volunteers are asked to serve 40 hours in projects that educate the public and/or address food insecurity in our region. To remain an active Master Gardener, we ask volunteers to serve at least 10 hours in subsequent years. Here are just a few examples of local projects:

  • Maine Harvest for Hunger vegetable gardenMaine Harvest for Hunger — Volunteers help neighbors in need by growing food in their home gardens and community gardens. They can also help by participating in end-of-market pick up programs at farmers’ markets or gleaning activities at local farms.

  • School gardenSchool Gardens — A number of area schools are doing an excellent job using horticulture to teach a wide range of subjects. These schools can use your help to keep the gardens going throughout the season and, in some cases, serve as garden mentors to staff and students.  In some ares, we partner with FoodCorps to build deeper relationships with school staff and support more food education and local food access. FoodCorps Service members are always looking for volunteers to help connect kids to real food.

  • Community gradenCommunity Gardens — Master Gardeners support community gardens in a number of ways. Some take the lead on communicating with and training community garden members, some lead community Maine Harvest for Hunger efforts, some build and tend community gardens. There are a number of community gardens throughout Penobscot County that could use your support.

  • Rogers Farm Demonstration Garden, Old Town, MaineDemonstration Gardens — These spaces are a great way for folks to informally learn by seeing sustainable gardening practices being implemented in a public setting. Labeled plants, signage, newsletter articles are all ways a public garden can easily be turned into a beautiful educational tool to help spread gardening knowledge.

  • Educational display by a Maine Master Gardener VolunteerEducational Displays — UMaine Extension is always looking for friendly volunteers connect with the public at events like the Bangor Garden Show and Maine Harvest Festival. These events are a great way for us to bring Extension resources to a broad audience. Unstaffed displays are also a big hit. We encourage volunteers to consider making an educational display for their town office, local library, or other public space.

  • Maine Master Gardeners get hands-on trainingPublic Speaking Opportunities — Groups are always looking for fun and engaging gardening workshops. If you enjoy public speaking, we are happy to help you design and deliver a great program.

  • shrub with red berriesEastern Maine Native Plant Arboretum — Established in 2004, the arboretum is an outdoor classroom for the study of native plant species best suited for managed landscapes. This unique collection of native woody plants is located on the grounds of the UMaine Extension Penobscot County Office at 307 Maine Avenue in Bangor. More info.

More Information

Apply to become a Maine Master Gardener Volunteer

  • Application Form 
  • Application deadline: February 1, 2017
  • All applicants will be notified by February 3rd about their enrollment status.

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please call Kate Garland at 1-800-287-1485 to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least seven days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however all requests will be considered.

woman working in garden

Photo by Charlie Green


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