Colorado Master Gardener Program in Larimer County
Colorado Master Gardeners (CMGs) are members of our community who love their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. They are enthusiastic to learn and share their knowledge with others. Master Gardeners are life-long learners who complete an initial training that covers various aspects of horticulture, with the intent to teach others while volunteering in our community. Their goal is to help foster successful gardening with Larimer County residents. Read the 2018 CMG Impact Report.
How to become a Master Gardener
Unfortunately, Larimer County will not offer Master Gardener volunteer training in 2021. Our 2020 apprentices were largely unable to complete their volunteer apprenticeship due to COVID-19 and state and local regulations.
We understand this is disappointing. We are disappointed, too. If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer, please contact Alison O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will provide any information you’d like and will add your add your name to the 2022 list.
BUT! Colorado Gardener Certificate Option Available
For those who would like to receive a Colorado Gardener Certificate, which is the same training as you would receive as a Master Gardener, without a volunteer commitment. This program will be offered in 2021 for Larimer County residents. Cost is $530.
Training in 2021 will be held online with live “labs” held via Zoom. Please see the attached schedule for dates and class topics.
You can read more about the program and register here–select Larimer County from the county dropdown list: https://cmg.extension.colostate.edu/certified-colorado-gardener/
If you’re not interested in the 12 class option, there are bundled versions that are a shorter time commitment and less money. See the website above for additional details.
Note: Taking this training will award you a Colorado Gardener Certificate at the end of the training. The certificate can be used for professional or personal promotion. It does not mean you are a Colorado Master Gardener volunteer, which is a title reserved only for volunteers with CSU Extension.
Registration is open until December 31, with training beginning the week of January 4. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you for your interest!
What will you learn?
If selected as a Master Gardener, volunteers complete approximately 60 hours of college-level horticulture instruction covering topics such as:
- How plants grow
- Soils, fertilizers, and amendments
- Turf management
- Plant pathology and IPM
- Tree planting and care
Classes are a mix of in-person instruction with labs and small group activities and online learning modules. Approximately half of the classes are taught in person and half online. There are supplemental readings and homework associated with each learning unit.
What obligation do Master Gardeners have?
During your Apprentice year (your first year in the program), you will complete 50 hours of volunteer time between April and October. Volunteer activities vary and can include:
- Staffing a Q&A booth at a garden center, farmers’ market, or special events
- Assisting with demonstration gardens
- Writing gardening articles for local publications
- Providing one-on-one education to residents
- Responding to phone calls or emails about gardening questions
- Presenting programs to community groups
Each year you remain an active Master Gardener, you’ll commit to completing 24 volunteer hours and 12 hours of continuing education.
What if you don’t have the time to invest as a volunteer?
For those not interested in volunteering, consider the Colorado Gardener Certificate program. See below.
Colorado Gardener Certificate Program
Adults interested in taking the Colorado Master Gardener training without a volunteer obligation may enroll to audit the same courses. This option is the Colorado Gardener Certificate program and includes the same college-level training available for a higher fee in-lieu-of a volunteer requirement. After you complete training, you’ll receive a certificate that you may use for professional or personal promotion. You will not hold the title “Colorado Master Gardener” as this is reserved for CSU Extension volunteers only.
Due to classroom space limitations, training is filled for 2020. Please contact our office to receive information for the 2021 training programs.
Have a yard or garden question?
Email a Master Gardener anytime! LarimerMG@gmail.com
Alison O’Connor, PhD