UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda County
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda County

Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program

If you love learning and teaching about gardening, the Alameda County UC  Master Gardener program offers the opportunity to use your knowledge and skills to serve the Alameda county community as a volunteer. Prospective Master Gardener Volunteers participate in a training program which covers all aspects of home gardening and urban agriculture. 

Want To Be a Master Gardener?

If you are interested in being notified when the orientations for the next class will be taking place, please fill out this form:

Please let me know when and where the class orientations are happening.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Training Class Information

Volunteer Training Program Information

The Alameda CountyMaster Gardener Training Program trains volunteers to provide research-based horticultural information and education to County residents.  Master Gardeners are part of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), an outreach and public service unit of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR). Click here to receive notice of the next application period for the master gardener training program.

After completing the training, the newly certified Master Gardener is required to complete 50 hours of volunteer service to the Cooperative Extension within one year's time.  In subsequent years, in order to remain within the program, 25 hours of volunteer work and 12 hours of continuing education are required annually.  The desire and ability to fulfill the volunteer commitment is a major criterion in the selection of a potential Master Gardener.

Applications can only be accepted from residents of Alameda County, and you must attend a free Orientation Session in order to apply. 

Attendance:  During the training program, you must attend all training classes

Training Program Content:  Classes are taught by experts ranging from UC faculty and staff, local horticultural educators, and certified Master Gardeners.  Topics that may be covered in the training program include:

Soil – chemistry and amendments

Water Management

Introduction to Horticulture

Fruit and Nut Trees

Plant Propagation

Diagnosing Plant Problems

Edible Landscaping

Abiotic Disorders

Plant Pathology (diseases)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Entomology (insects)

Landscape Trees

Weeds / Invasive Plants

...and more

Homework:  You should plan on significant study time outside the classroom, usually about 12+ hours per week.  Minimum homework required for the training program includes:

  • Weekly reading (typically 30-40 pages) from the Master Gardener Handbook and other assigned materials, resources of the UC IPM website, and other assignments.
  • Weekly research to answer home, garden, and landscape problems brought into the Help Desk.  Much of this research is done using the computer.  Computer skills including email, word processing, Internet searches, and presentation software are essential and required.

Fingerprinting:  As required by the UCCE, all volunteers accepted into the Training Program must be fingerprinted.  Fingerprinting will take place the first week of class.  The fee for fingerprinting will be borne by the student and must be paid at the first class.

Application:  An application for admission to the Training Program will be provided once you have completed the mandatory Orientation Session.

Fees:  A non-refundable tuition fee is due at the time of your acceptance into the program.  Additional miscellaneous expenses may be required during the training course.  A limited number of need-based scholarships are available; information on available scholarships will be presented at each Orientation Session.

Read one Master Gardener's take on the program: On Being a Master Gardener.

Once trained, Master Gardeners are required to contribute 50 hours of volunteer work within the first program year.  To continue to be a Master Gardener, volunteers must commit to 25 hours in each following year and take 12 hours of continuing education classes.

With the help of a Program Coordinator, the Master Gardener Program is administered by the Master Gardeners themselves.  An elected Advisory Board helps guide the program to promote sustainable home landscapes in Alameda County.


Congratulations, Graduates!
Please welcome our new 2014 Master Gardeners!

Master Gardener Graduates 2014

Webmaster Email: dakooyumjian@ucanr.edu