Sharing is at the heart of the Master Gardener program, which is now available online.

Gardening brings joy as you fill your world with growing things, says David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. It also allows you share your joy with others.

“Master Gardeners embrace helping others learn to grow,” Trinklein said.

In the past, those interested in becoming a Master Gardener had to attend weeks of classes. But traveling to a bricks-and-mortar classroom is not convenient for everyone. So online classes were born.

“Not as a substitute for face-to-face, but it is an option for those who find it difficult to make it to face-to-face classes,” Trinklein said.

Using the online learning software Moodle as a platform, classes are delivered as a series of scripted and narrated PowerPoint presentations.

“With online training, you can do the class work whenever it’s convenient for you,” Trinklein said. “It’s accessible 24 hour a day, seven days a week.”

Subjects covered include basic botany, soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening, fruit production, plant propagation, insects, plant diseases, landscape plants, landscape design and pesticide safety.

As you go through each segment, you’ll be tested on your understanding of the materials.

“Trainees are expected to achieve a composite score of at least 70 percent on chapter quizzes,” Trinklein said.

Successfully passing Master Gardener tests isn’t the only requirement for certification.

“Master Gardener trainees are required to donate 30 hours of service, helping others learn to grow,” Trinklein said. “Local Master Gardener chapters can help online trainees find volunteer positions so they can meet the service hour requirements.”

Once certified as a Master Gardener, you will continue to learn and share.

“You have to continue to educate yourself and to serve the public,” Trinklein said. “Master Gardeners are required to do six hours of continuing education and 20 hours of community service each year.”

If you’re happiest when you have dirt under your fingernails, get a thrill when tiny sprouts break through the soil and love to share your passion for gardening, consider becoming a Master Gardener.

The Master Gardener fall online classes begin Aug. 30. The registration deadline is Aug. 21. To register or for more information, visit

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