My Catawba County

Calling All Green Thumbs!

Calling All Green Thumbs!

Have you ever wanted to dig deep into the world of gardening? Then apply to become a Master Gardener through Catawba County Cooperative Extension’sMaster Gardener Program. Applications for this popular local program, which will take place from March through May 2024, are now available. To learn more, we reached out to Horticulture Extension Agent Adam Smith with Catawba County Cooperative Extension.

What is the NC State Extension Master Gardener Program in Catawba County?
Since 1979, the NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ program has recruited, trained, and engaged people to serve as volunteer educators who strengthen Extension’s delivery of science-based horticultural knowledge to individuals living in the Catawba Valley region. Our mission is to connect people to horticulture through science-based education and outreach that empowers individuals to cultivate healthy plants, landscapes, ecosystems, and communities.

Who can become a Master Gardener volunteer?
Individuals with an interest in both gardening and volunteer service are potential candidates for the program. No previous formal training is necessary.

What kinds of classes are provided, and who teaches them?
Classes are taught by Extension staff, local experts, and Master Gardener volunteers. The program instruction includes the following horticultural topics: lawns, ornamental trees and shrubs, insect, disease, and weed management; soils and plant nutrition, vegetable gardening, home fruit production, garden flowers, houseplants, and landscape design.

When and where are classes offered?
The 2024 class will run from March 6th to May 22th on Wednesday mornings from 9am-12pm. While most classes are held at the Extension building, the course includes field trips to farms, nurseries, and arboretums.

How long does it take to become a Master Gardener volunteer?
If accepted into the Extension Master Gardener℠ program in Catawba County, you will attend a 36-hour training course. During your first year as a Master Gardener℠ volunteer, you will complete 40 hours of volunteer work in projects of your choice. Each additional year you wish to remain a Master Gardener℠ volunteer, you will volunteer 20 hours.

What do Master Gardener volunteers do after they’ve completed the program?
Some of the projects that Master Gardener℠ volunteers in Catawba County are currently working on include the following: diagnose plant, insect, and disease problems, staffing plant clinics and educational exhibits, managing demonstration and community gardens, presenting lectures on various gardening topics, and bringing the joy of gardening to senior citizens or young children.

What are the benefits of becoming a Master Gardener volunteer?
You will become knowledgeable about a wide array of gardening subjects. The practical training is designed to increase your confidence and horticultural skills, enable you to assist the public with questions and problems involved with gardening, volunteer in your community, and meet and work with others who share your interests. Volunteers also participate in advanced Master Gardener℠ training classes and field trips. The learning and the opportunities for satisfaction never end!

How can someone sign up to participate in this year’s Master Gardener program?
On October 1st, a registration link will be made available via our newsletter and online. The cost of the class is $100. A completed registration and payment are necessary to confirm a spot in the class. The class is limited to 20 people. If you have any questions, call 828-465-8240 or email Adam Smith at