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Grow with KARE: Becoming a Master Gardener

The deadline for applying to this year's Master Gardener program is October 1st. Are you applying?

Many more people than ever have taken up gardening this year. And those who were already getting their hands dirty are more involved in what's growing than ever.

So maybe this year is the year to become a Master Gardener through the University of Minnesota Extension.

Christy Marsden is the Master Gardener Volunteer Education Manager and filled us in on what the program is all about.

The program is county based.

So Master Gardener volunteers are working within their own communities all across the state. 

Some are teaching the next generation with children's gardens. 

Some are answering questions about everything from vegetable gardening and fruit trees to lawns and flowers year round. 

Still others are building educational gardens focuses on pollinators. 

The opportunities are endless and personal.

Here's how to get started:

Apply online by October 1. Some counties and local groups then like to meet with applicants before acceptance. The course then starts in January and is the equivalent to a 3-credit college course. No matter if you're brand new to gardening or a long-time expert, the course meets you where you're at and is customize-able to your interests and abilities.

The program costs $295, plus $30 if you'd like a physical copy of the manual. Financial assistance is available.

Once that's complete Master Gardeners are asked to complete 50 hours of community service or volunteering in the first year, and 25 hours per year after that. There are also continuing education requirements.