Master Gardener Basic Training Offered Virtually

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Susquehanna County Penn State Extension master gardener co-coordinator Kimberly Grace invites local gardeners who have considered stepping up their game a notch to take the first steps toward being a Master Gardener through online learning:

Have you always wanted to become a Master Gardener but never thought you had the time to attend classes? This is the year to make that goal a reality! Due to the current COVID circumstances, we are happy to report that the Master Gardener Basic Training in Susquehanna County will be held virtually. You can take the training from the comfort of your home. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a Penn State Extension Master Gardener in Susquehanna County.

Live classes for the training begin Thursday, Oct. 1 from 6 to 8:15 pm and continue every Thursday evening until early Spring (with the exception of holidays). Trainees will need access to a computer and have reliable internet access to take part. Trainees sign on to each class using the statewide link and watch the live webinar from their home. You will be trained by experts from across the state. Trainees will have the opportunity to ask questions directly and participate in polling questions. Sessions will be recorded for trainees as well.

After viewing the training each week, local coordinators will host a Zoom meeting for trainees to discuss the weekly topic, review take home quizzes, explain training class projects and other pertinent information, thus giving the trainees a chance to meet and bond with their fellow participants.

To become a Master Gardener, you need a keen interest in gardening, a willingness to learn more, and a strong desire to share your knowledge with others. To become certified as a Penn State Master Gardener, you must complete a minimum of 40 hours of training, score at least 80 percent on the final exam, and fulfill 50 hours of volunteer service in your first year of service.

A few of the topics you will learn are Botany, Plant Propagation, Plant Diseases, Soils, Entomology, Native Plants, IPM, Turfgrass, Vegetables, Plant ID and Diagnostics, Small Fruits, Tree Fruits, Herbaceous & Woody Plants, Pruning, Weeds, Invasive Species, and Indoor Plants. The cost of the training is $200 to cover the cost of training materials and expenses. You will receive a Master Gardener manual.

Currently, there are 45 Master Gardeners in Susquehanna County delivering educational programs to the community through gardening classes, a helpline service, and several demonstration gardens. So, come and take part in the training and join this fun, educational group of gardeners!

We are especially looking for people with skills or a keen interest in learning new skills in the following areas: photography, creating short videos, writing, graphic design, youth programming, social media and more. There is a place for everyone in our program!

The Penn State Master Gardener program is a statewide program that is administered at the county level. Recruitment, training, and volunteer service occur at the county level of Penn State Extension. If you are interested, applications are available by contacting the Penn State Extension Master Gardener program of Susquehanna County by emailing ( or or calling the office at 570-666-9003. We will need your name, address, phone, and email. You may also access a printable application online at: You can also fill out a quick and easy online application at:

We are compiling a list of interested candidates now. Beginning in early August we will review applications and set up interviews for late August and early September.

When asked why they wanted to join the program, nearly every Master Gardener cites a love of learning and a passion to share horticultural knowledge with others. If you fit that description, you too can become a Master Gardener.

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