The Montana Master Gardener Program serves as an education and volunteer service organization.  The program’s purpose is to provide technical assistance and unbiased, research-based information in home horticulture to people in all Montana communities through qualified volunteers.  Through the Master Gardener program we empower individuals with sound horticultural practices that minimize negative impacts on the environment.  The program is based on a philosophy of shared ownership.  MSU extension agents, staff, and volunteers share vision, ideas, and responsibilities for the program. 

Level 1 Master Gardener

The Level 1 Master Gardener course is commonly an eight-week 16+ hour course often taught by local Extension agents, plant professionals, and Master Gardener volunteers.    You will receive the Montana Master Gardener Handbook and other informative handouts pertaining to the class at the beginning of the course.  In the Level 1 Master Gardener course you will learn about: 

  • Introduction to Montana State University Extension and the Master Gardener program
  • Soils and fertility (N-P-K-Fe)
  • Plant growth and development
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Growing small fruit
  • Growing and caring for flowers
  • Landscape design
  • Trees, shrubs, vines and pruning
  • Lawns and irrigation
  • Composting
  • Introduction to Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Following the completion of the Level 1 Master Gardener course, you will be required to pass an open-book exam and fulfill your volunteer commitment of a minimum of 20 hours.  The cost, time and location of the course will be determined by the county or reservation Extension agent or Master Gardener coordinator. To learn more about Master Gardener in your county or reservation visit the Montana Master Gardener homepage and choose your county from the dropdown menu titled "Need Course Information".  

 

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Level 2 Master Gardener

The Level 2 Master Gardener course is commonly an eight-week 16+ hour course taught by the local Extension agents, plant professionals and Master Gardener volunteers.  The Level 2 Master Gardener course is an intermediate/advanced course for those who have prior knowledge or experience in gardening, or has previously taken the Level 1 Master Gardener course.  In the Level 2 Master Gardener course you will learn about:

  • The role of Master Gardener in Extension
  • Binomial nomenclature
  • Fertility, plant nutrients (more emphasis on micronutrients and microorganisms)
  • Plant growth and development
  • Entomology, plant diseases and abiotic disorders
  • Vegetable and fruit Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Tree, shrubs and lawn Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Propagation
  • Season extension

Following the completion of the Level 2 Master Gardener course, students will be required to pass a closed book exam and fulfill a minimum volunteer commitment of 30 hours to be certified.  The cost, time and location of the course will be determined by the county or reservation Extension agent or Master Gardener coordinator. To learn more about Master Gardener in your county or reservation visit the Montana Master Gardener homepage and choose your county from the dropdown menu titled "Need Course Information".  

 

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Level 3 Master Gardener

The Level 3 Master Gardener course is a three day intensive training offered in August and held on the campus of Montana State University-Bozeman.    There will be approximately 30 hours of class time and a minimum 40 hour volunteer commitment.  The Level 3 Master Gardener course will emphasize a hands-on curriculum focusing on volunteer management training, plant diagnosis and insect identification.  There will be tours of local businesses with relation to sustainable food production as well as the local farmer’s market and the MSU Horticulture Farm.  To be eligible for Level 3 Master Gardener, students must be a certified Level 2 Master Gardener and be nominated by their county or reservation Extension agent or Master Gardener Coordinator. Space for this class is limited, please be aware there may be a waiting list.  To learn more about the Level 3 Master Gardener course, contact Dara Palmer MSU Extension State Master Gardener Coordinator at dara.palmer@montana.edu or by calling (406) 994-2120.

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