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Learn to grow with Master Gardener online training

URBANA, Ill. - From small farms and rural towns to the suburbs and inner-city, more than 2,600 trained Master Gardeners put their mission of “helping others learn to grow” into practice around Illinois through community service garden projects and outreach.

This winter, take your love of gardening to the next level by becoming an Illinois Master Gardener. Training is available through two online options – self-paced or hybrid with live sessions.

“Our online training is a great opportunity for anyone who needs more flexibility to participate,” said State Master Gardener Specialist Candice Hart. “Both options have components that can be completed at your own pace.”

Both the self-paced and hybrid training options can be taken from the comfort of home on a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Participants will be introduced to in-depth horticulture content through 13 modules covering topics such as soils and fertilizers, plant diseases, entomology, pest management organic gardening, and more. The training includes videos, a manual, reading materials, and quizzes. A strong internet connection is highly recommended.

After completing their training, volunteers will participate in local educational programs. Those opportunities may include speaking at garden clubs, civic groups, or schools; answering calls or emails at garden help desks; establishing demonstration gardens that serve as educational tools; and educating citizens on how to establish community gardens.

The self-paced course starts January 31 and runs through April 25. The course costs $300 and registration is open until January 10.

The hybrid course starts February 15 and runs through April 27. The hybrid training includes 12 weeks of online materials and live sessions on Tuesday mornings. The live sessions can be accessed remotely or in person at a local Extension office. Registration is open locally until February 8. The cost is set by the county providing the training.

Training option availability varies by county. For more information or to apply, contact your local Illinois Extension Office at

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact Candice Hart. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting participant needs.

SOURCECandice Hart, State Master Gardener Specialist, Illinois Extension
WRITEREmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.