How to Become a Master Gardener

Laurie Foster

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension trains gardening enthusiasts of Pinal County as master gardener volunteers who help their fellow citizens grow better gardens and more sustainable landscapes.

Class dates: Wednesdays, Oct. 6, 2021, through Feb. 16, 2022, from 9 a.m. to noon

Tuition: $150 per individual and $225 per couple, which includes books and materials. Payment in full and a completed application is due by Sept. 27.

Course location: Anywhere with a computer and an internet connection

Who Should Apply: Anyone with an interest in environmentally responsible landscaping and gardening in the low desert and a desire to teach those principles and skills in their community from research-based materials is a candidate for the Master Gardener Program.

Acceptance into the course: Selection is based on a demonstrated willingness to volunteer in the community and to uphold the program mission and policies of the University of Arizona’s Designated Campus Colleague (DCC) system.

Course and weekly time requirements: Three hours of weekly lecture as well as study time for required reading between classes

Course overview: Master gardener training classes are taught by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension faculty, industry professionals and other horticulture experts. Students will learn the fundamentals of selecting, installing, and maintaining healthy, appropriate landscapes and gardens for the Arizona low desert.

Class Topics Delivered Weekly:


Soil, water, and plant relations




Native plants


Cacti and succulents


Weeds and integrated pest management


Vegetable gardening

Plant pathology

Plant diagnosis

Two electives to be determined

For completion of the training program and receipt of the title Certified Master Gardener: participants must attend all classes with up to three missed and made-up classes. An additional 50 hours of volunteer service must be earned within one year. A wide variety of volunteer opportunities are made available.

To maintain Certified Master Gardener status: a minimum of 25 volunteer hours and six continuing education hours are required per calendar year.

To apply for this course or for more information, contact Laurie Foster at [email protected].