Master Gardeners are community volunteers who have received extensive
training in gardening and environmental principles.
Certified Master Gardeners are required annually to:
- Volunteer 25 service hours approved by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County
- Obtain 10 hours of horticultural related education
Volunteer opportunities are numerous and present a broad range of
areas from which to choose. These include the following, and more:
- Volunteering in the Earth Center’s Butterfly House, Rain Garden,
Shade Garden, Children’s Garden, Food Bank Garden, Herb Garden,
Veggie Garden and other new projects as they are conceived and developed
- Answering questions from the community on our Garden Help Line
- Conducting composting & recycling, or other demonstrations
- Making presentations on a wide variety of horticultural topics in
response to requests from community organizations to our Speakers Bureau
- Participating in events such as Rutgers Ag Field Day, Middlesex County Fair,
Earth Center Plant Sale, Earth Center Open House, and other RCE approved events
- Writing for the Master Gardener Newsletter “The Garden Spade”
- Horticultural Therapy with the VA home, nursing homes or special needs schools
Master Gardener Training
Certification training for Master Gardener students is divided into 3 semesters.
The fall and spring semesters (September through April) include 3-hour
lectures given once a week. Each week features a new topic given by
qualified Rutgers staff on topics such as:
The summer semester (May through August) consists of applied learning
where Master Gardener students create and maintain two demonstration
gardens located at the Earth Center in Davidson Mill Pond Park
(the Circle of Thyme herb beds and the Demonstration Vegetable Garden).
These gardens are the Master Gardeners’ outdoor classroom and are open to
the public to promote community awareness, interest and education.
- Plant selection & care
- Disease, insect & weed control
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
- Soils, Composting and Fertilization
- Conservation of natural resources
…and more. A complete list of this year’s classes and schedule can be
found under the Class Schedule tab of this website
As a Master Gardener student, completion of the above training program
is required to obtain Master Gardener certification as well as
- 60 additional volunteer hours at the Earth Center or other RCE sanctioned service
- 3 hours volunteer service at each of 5 events specified by RCE
Join in the efforts
if you are:
- Interested in learning more about plants and gardening
- Eager to gain knowledge on using or utilizing natural resources wisely
- Willing to share your knowledge with residents by assisting them in gardening projects
- Looking for fulfillment resulting from community involvement
You may apply online for Middlesex County on our site here:
Online MG Application
...or download the application from the Rutgers' website:
If you would like more information regarding the program, please call the
Middlesex county Ag Extension office at 732 398 5262.
The Master Gardener program was founded in Washington by Washington State University
Cooperative Extension to meet a high demand for horticulture and gardening advice from
the surrounding communities. The concept then spread to other US states and Canadian provinces.
According to the 2009 Extension Master Gardener Survey, there are nearly 95,000 active
Extension Master Gardeners who provide approximately 5,000,000 volunteer service hours
per year to their communities.
The program is affiliated with the land-grant university
in each state and its affiliated cooperative extension office. In New Jersey that is
Rutgers University, founded in 1766, through the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
The Hatch Act of 1887 and the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 provided federal funds that
allowed for campus-based academic programs to be complemented by experiment station
research and that research to be disseminated to the public through extension
educators in all 21 New Jersey counties. In Middlesex County, we have a close
relationship with the County and our community through the Board of Chosen Freeholders
and enjoy their support at our ideal location in Davidson Mill Pond Park where we have
been since 2005. The NJ based Master Gardener program celebrated its 25th
anniversary in 2009, and its 20th anniversary here in Middlesex County.