Master Gardener tips for the Panhandle – Week of Sept. 5, 2022

By Emily Stine, Extension Educator & Panhandle Master Gardener Coordinator

What is the Nebraska Master Gardener Program?

The Nebraska Master Gardener Program provides science-based horticulture education to volunteers. Participants complete 40 hours of training in integrated pest management, weeds, insects, plant selection, soil fertility and other related topics. 40 hours of volunteer service in the first year completes the certification. For more information visit

What volunteering opportunities are there as a Master Gardener?

Volunteers are encouraged to help manage demonstration gardens in the area, help with county and state fair activities, answer plant-related questions from the community, and participate in other educational opportunities. These Master Gardener PSAs are all done by current Master Gardeners. They put a lot of time and effort into their PSAs to ensure they are correct and informative.

What does it take to be a Master Gardener?

Nebraska Master Gardener certification begins with completing 40 hours of educational training, followed by 40 hours of volunteer work. Educational training includes topics such as weed management, plant morphology, insect management, and other related topics. Content tends to be geared toward the home gardener, but all levels of experience are welcome.

How can I become a Master Gardener?

Nebraska Master Gardener registration opens in late 2022/early 2023. Classes begin in February or March. Classes cover topics such as plant selection for vegetable gardens and landscape beds, pest management, tree health, and more. Master Gardener Interns are required to attend at least 40 hours of educational courses. After passing the open-book test, participants become Master Gardener Trainees. Upon completion of the 40 hours of volunteer activities, participants are Volunteers in the Master Gardener Program.

Why should I consider being a Master Gardener?

Gardeners are volunteers who are curious about science-based horticulture and want to share that knowledge with the rest of the state. With multiple volunteer opportunities and a variety of educational topics to learn about, Master Gardeners become well-versed in integrated pest management, gardening and related topics. There’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved if they have an interest in plants and horticulture. For more information, visit