Extension Master Gardener Program of McDowell County Training 2021

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Master Gardeners of McDowell County at Tomato Field Day 2021Please consider joining a fun, educational volunteer organization that serves the citizens of McDowell County. The training program, one of the steps to becoming a certified Master Gardener℠ volunteer, is scheduled to begin, Thursday, October 14. A day and an evening class may be offered depending on the number of people interested in the program.

To help you decide if you should become an Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteer, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to learn about growing many types of plants?
  • Am I eager to participate in a practical and intense training program?
  • Do I look forward to sharing my knowledge with people in the community?
  • Do I have enough time to attend training sessions and to serve as a volunteer?

2014 EMG GraduatesExtension Master Gardener℠ volunteers work in their communities to provide North Carolina gardeners with unbiased, research-based information from the NC State University on establishing and maintaining gardens, lawns, landscapes, and houseplants in ways that protect health and natural resources. They focus specifically on issues of importance in their local communities related to residential gardening and landscaping, including environmental stewardship, water conservation, water quality preservation, energy conservation, green waste reduction, home food production, wildlife management, sustainable communities, and health and wellness for children and adults. 

Examples of Volunteer Activities

The opportunities for volunteer services are limitless. Examples include: 

  • Diagnose plant, insect, and disease problems.
  • Staff plant clinics and educational exhibits.Master Gardener teaching at demo garden.
  • Design and mentor demonstration or community gardens.
  • Lecture on various gardening topics.
  • Bring the joy of gardening to senior citizens, young children, juvenile offenders, or special needs groups.
  • Assist with horticulture-related events (Fairs, Earth Day, Arbor Day, Field days)
  • Provide leadership to Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteer projects and events
  • Provide artistic support (Photography, Graphic Design)
  • Solicit funding and in-kind support for the program.

Initial Volunteer Training

There is an initial volunteer training that will begin Thursday, October 14.

  • Minimum of 40 hours of instruction.
  • Taught by Extension staff and local experts.
  • Topics include: soils and plant nutrients, composting, insects, diseases, food production, herbaceous, woody and native plants, Integrated Pest Management, etc.

Volunteer Internship

A 40-hour volunteer internship is required to learn even more about horticulture and the Extension Master Gardener℠ program of McDowell County. Rotate through a variety of volunteer opportunities with different aspects of the program. The volunteer internship can begin when you start the program, but needs to be completed within one year of completing the training course.

Training Schedule (Time to be determined. We can offer both a day & evening class depending on number of students).

Oct. 14 Finding Research-Based Information
Oct. 21 Soils/Composting
Oct. 28 Botany
Nov. 4 Plant Diseases/Insects
Nov. 11 Diagnostics/Integrated Pest Management
Nov. 18 Vegetable Gardening
Dec. 2 Small Fruits/Tree Fruits
Dec. 9 Herbaceous Plants/Woody Ornamentals/Native Plants
Dec. 16 Lawns/Weeds
Jan. 6 Review & Practical Exam


There is a fee of $125 to cover the cost of program delivery.

  • State Fee ($50)
  • Top Hat ($55)
  • Name Tag ($5)
  • Other incidentals

Top Hat presents the EMGV Training Manual as an interactive, robust training tool. Learn more about Top Hat and the EMGV Training Manual. It includes videos, questions, links throughout the chapters. You will be required to read the material before the classes.

An additional cost is the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook.

  • Digital online version FREE
  • Hardback ($45.05) with discount code
  • E-Book

Once the 40-hour internship and the training program completed, the volunteer is eligible to become a Certified Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteer!

Submit an Application

Applications due October 11 with payment. Please make checks payable to N.C. Cooperative Extension – McDowell County Center.

Master Gardener℠ Volunteers of McDowell County Application

If you have any questions, feel free to email or call Molly_Sandfoss@ncsu.edu, 828-652-8104.