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Extension Services
1421 3rd Ave. SE
Suite B
Rochester, MN 55904
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday - Thursday

Master Gardener Program


How do I have my soil tested?

Do you have a question for an Extension Master Gardener (EMG)?

--or-- if you are an Olmsted County resident, you may call the University of Minnesota Extension Office in Olmsted County at 507 328-6214

Click on the links above to find out more!


What is the Master Gardener Program?

The EMG program in Minnesota is an educational program designed to train volunteers to help other people in their communities with horticulture. The program was created in 1977 and is administered by the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Most counties in Minnesota have active EMG's. Volunteers receive professional training in home horticulture by university specialists in exchange for volunteer time. This training sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners and allows them to be effective resources in their local communities. Working with local county Extension offices, EMG activities benefit schools, community education programs, garden centers, farmer's markets, historical sites, and many other programs.

To become an EMG, you first must enroll and be accepted in your local county Extension program. Upon acceptance in your home county, you then take the Extension Master Gardener Core Course, taught in the winter/spring.

(Registration for the 2014 Master Gardener Core Course closed October 1.  To receive information about the 2015 Extension Master Gardener Core Course, please contact Kay Erwin at kerwin@umn.edu or call (507) 328-6214.)

Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours the first year and 25 hours annually thereafter. Active volunteers are also asked to participate in continuing education of 5-12 hours per year, depending on the county in which they volunteer.

Some activities of EMG's include:

  • teaching classes and workshops
  • answering phone inquiries concerning home horticulture
  • assisting with county Horticulture Days
  • guiding and supervising community plantings and school gardens
  • teaching and judging youth horticulture projects
  • media interviews and articles on horticulture topics
  • speaking to schools and youth groups on gardening topics
  • holding plant clinics at garden centers and farmers' markets
  • representing the program at county and state fair exhibits

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