Gardening | Online Master Gardener courses now taking registrants –

If you have wanted to take the Master Gardener class but work, family or lack of volunteer time has prevented you, technology has opened the door for you to take classes convenient to your schedule. The MG program is available online.

The spring class runs from March 27 through July 10. Course work includes reading assignments, video instruction, online discussion, quizzes and activities you can complete in the landscape around your home.

The course covers basic botany, plant physiology, entomology, plant diseases, soils, water, woody plant care, sustainable gardening, herbaceous ornamentals, turfgrass, and fruit and vegetable gardening.

Class modules are released weekly for 12 weeks. You may log on each week at your convenience. Each class takes about 6 hours to complete for a total of 72 hours. You will become part of an online community by participating in discussion forums with other students who are taking the course.

Although it is preferable to keep up with your class, if you are unable to complete a module because you are out of town, ill or subject to another unavoidable disruption you will be able to finish the class because modules will remain open until Aug. 14. This allows time to fulfill assignments and review for the final exam.

With completion of classes you will receive a “Home Horticulture” certificate or you may opt for further work and Master Gardener certification. To become a Master Gardener you will need to pass a statewide Master Gardener exam and fulfill 40 hours of volunteer service.

Technical requirements for the class include regular computer access and dependable high-speed Internet service. Students will log on to the MG classes through “Moodle,” an online course management system. It is a user-friendly site which you will need to learn to navigate. Students should have moderate computer skills, but initial online activities will help you become familiar with the site. The course facilitator does not provide computer support. Technical questions must be answered through “Moodle” Help.

The cost for the Clemson Extension online Master Gardener course is $300. Payment must be received before you will be registered. Registration closes March 17. The MG manual is sent to students after they have registered and in time for the first module.

To start your registration contact Dr. James H. Blake, State Coordinator, SC Master Gardener Program at or 864-878-1394, ext 115.

What does a Master Gardener do?

Master Gardeners are trained and certified through the Extension Service of land grant universities across the country. Certified Master Gardeners form a corps of volunteers who work within their communities to provide research based gardening education, outreach and service.

MG volunteers give lectures and workshops for civic groups, garden clubs, schools, churches and youth groups. They support local Extension agents by handling phone inquiries and walk-ins at Extension offices. They answer gardening questions at Plant Problem Clinics, malls, farmers markets and local events. You will also find Master Gardeners making house calls and volunteering at Brookgreen. They plant and maintain community and display gardens. Some of us write gardening articles for publications.

No matter what your background and skills there are a number of ways for you to volunteer.

Master Gardeners do not charge for their services but do accept honorariums.

Reach DEBBIE MENCHEK, a Clemson Master Gardener, at


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