COLUMBIA, Mo. – One of the many rewards of gardening is the satisfaction of sharing your plant knowledge with others, says David Trinklein, state horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

“The Master Gardener program was initiated to do just that,” he said. “Its motto, ‘helping others learn to grow,’ emphasizes service to others as the program’s main objective.”

In the past, those interested in becoming a Master Gardener had to attend classes for 14 weeks. But many people found it inconvenient to travel to a classroom on a particular day and time, Trinklein said.

“Today, thanks to the internet and a learning platform known as Canvas, classes are available online 24/7. Students work on class material at their own pace and time schedule,” he said.

Trinklein and MU Extension regional horticulture specialist Sarah Denkler teach the 14 online sessions. “These classes represent a viable option for people who can’t take the weekly classes in person,” Trinklein said.

Classes are delivered as a series of scripted and narrated PowerPoint presentations. Topics include basic botany, soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening, fruit production, insects and diseases, landscaping and landscape plants, turf management, and pesticide safety.

Core training is the first step toward Master Gardener certification. Additionally, a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service is required. Local Master Gardener chapters help online trainees find volunteer opportunities to meet the service requirements.

“There are Master Gardener programs in every state of the union and in most provinces of Canada,” Trinklein said.

Registration deadline for the fall session is Aug. 12. Online classes begin Aug. 19. The course also may be taken for personal enrichment only, with no volunteer requirement, for a higher fee.

For more information or to register, visit

Source: David Trinklein, 573-882-9631