The Master Gardener program started at Washington State University in 1973. The name came from the German word “Gartenmeister,” which roughly translated means “Master Gardener.” The originators of the program had worked in Germany and learned that Germans bestow titles for hard‐earned proficiency levels in various crafts.
The New Hampshire program started in 1993. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers, who share their enthusiasm for gardening with the general public. By serving as volunteer educators in their community, Master Gardeners help UNH Cooperative Extension reach more people.
A Master Gardener is a:
- volunteer who is willing to work on horticultural projects that extend the outreach capabilities of UNH Cooperative Extension
- gardener with interest, experience and knowledge of any type of gardening
- teacher who is eager to share gardening knowledge and experience with others
- student curious to learn scientifically-based gardening information
This is a volunteer program and is not to be used for professional advancement or commercial advertising. Some projects that Master Gardeners are involved with:
- Education Center Infoline - answering garden questions from the public
- School/youth gardens - using school gardens to teach many topics
- Community gardens - helping residents learn to grow their own food
- Historical museum and nature center garden interpretation - providing interpretation about past and current garden benefits
- Speakers Bureau - presenting approved programs to garden clubs, library groups and other civic organizations
- Writing articles for local publications - sharing knowledge via written media
- Ask a Master Gardener Info Booth - providing knowledge at Farmers’ Markets, community fairs, public expos
The application period for the Spring 2020 class in Peterborough has closed. The next 12-week class will start in September and be held in the Plymouth/Holderness area. The fee for the class is $300 plus a $25 fee for a printed manual (an on-line version of the manual is available for free). Scholarship funds are available, request a form here. If you are interested in learning about future Master Gardener training opportunities, contact Master Gardener Coordinator, Ruth Smith.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis prior to each class. Qualifying applicants are invited for a personal interview. Once applicants are accepted into the program the fee is collected, a volunteer agreement form is signed and a background check is initiated.
Classes are offered in a variety of regions of New Hampshire each spring and fall.