ISU Master Gardener training now open to applicants

Program in its 40th year, will be offered online in 2021

The application window is open for this year’s ISU Master Gardener training, which will be offered 100% online in the fall.

AMES, Iowa – The application window has opened for this year’s Master Gardener training, which will be offered 100% online in the fall.

The training includes a total of 17 educational modules by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach on topics that include houseplants, pollinators, vegetables and perennial flowers. Each course module includes a book chapter, lecture video, online discussion board and a quiz.

Applicants have from March 1 through July 1 to apply. Apply and learn more about the program online.

“We have set up the course so that participants can work through the book chapters and online materials at their own pace, on their own time,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener program coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Participants will connect on online discussion forums to share ideas about how they plan to volunteer and what they are learning about plants.”

Examples of successful Master Gardener volunteer projects include:

  • Building partnerships to increase pollinator habitat in the community
  • Maintaining demonstration gardens at county fairgrounds
  • Donating fresh produce to food pantries

Iowa State has offered Master Gardener training for more than 40 years, engaging some 15,000 people in learning about gardening best practices. This year the course is being offered online via Canvas.

The fee is $195 and covers materials. Participants will need to pass a background check to participate. After completing the Master Gardener Training, participants have 13 months to complete 40 volunteer hours.

There is one open-book test at the end of the course that participants will need to pass to complete the course and receive their certificate.

Iowans who want professional development training for their job and who do not plan to volunteer can participate in the ProHort option for a fee of $550. No background check is required for this option.

The full-color Master Gardener Training book, the “Resource Guide,” is available in the Iowa State University Extension store for $39. It includes go-to tables, such as bloom time of favorite perennials and best shrubs for wildlife.

For more information, Susan DeBlieck can be reached at 515-294-6764 or


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