Training begins September 14 and is held weekly through November 30. Sessions are held on Tuesdays, and classes run 9am - noon or 1 – 4pm. Training includes both classroom lectures and outdoor activities, with a special focus on hands-on skills building. 

Master Gardeners learn how to improve home landscapes, grow their own food, care for household plants, and manage pests. Our training program teaches all about fruits and vegetables, trees and flowers, plant disease, botany, insects, turfgrass, and soils.  Classes are taught by University of Illinois Educators and Specialists at various locations, including the Fulton, Peoria and Tazewell County Extension offices, Luthy Botanical Gardens in Peoria, and Illinois Central College.

Volunteer Option - For those wanting to become a Master Gardener volunteer, the University of Illinois requires each applicant to complete an application, background screening paperwork and schedule an interview with Extension staff. The fee to participate is $300 and covers classroom sessions, handouts, and the Master Gardener manual. Upon completion of the Master Gardener training, graduates who have selected the volunteer option will become Master Gardener Interns and have 2 years to complete 60 volunteer service hours to become an Active Master Gardener. To continue as an Active Master Gardener, volunteers must fulfill 30 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours annually.   

For more information about the education only option contact Tara Heath tsheath@illinois.edu

Volunteer activities examples include Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria County, The Giving Garden in Tazewell County, Junior Master Gardener leadership in Mason County, and Jones Park in Fulton County. Master Gardeners also provide education through the Gardening HelpLine, the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau, at the Peoria Riverfront Farmers Market informational booth, during Tazewell County’s Plant Bingo event, at the Gardeners’ Big Day event in Fulton county, at community gardens throughout the region, and much more.

Applications, screening paperwork, interview schedules, and course fee, must be received by September 1. Registrations for non-volunteers are also due by September 1. Space is limited.

Fall 2021 Training Schedule

Extension MG Brochure

To begin the application process contact Tara Heath, program coordinator, at tsheath@illinois.edu or 309-547-3711.