The Master Gardener certificate program offers a wide variety of gardening and horticultural courses for all levels of ability and knowledge.

  • Participate in related activities, tours and events on campus and beyond.
  • Socialize with other gardening enthusiasts at events to learn and share knowledge.
  • Instructors are trained professionals who specialize in their teaching area.
  • Hands-on teaching methods also provide access to resources available through the University of Saskatchewan.
  • There is no time limit. You can start the program at any time and take as long as you need to complete the program requirements. The U of S Master Gardener Certificate is flexibly designed so you can take courses according to your schedule.
  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to anyone. There are no deadlines for registration or for completion of the program.
  • Courses are offered throughout the year. 

Requirements

Master Gardener Certificate Requirements

  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to everyone age 16 and older. The only prerequisite is an interest in gardening–and enthusiasm.
  • Register anytime and take as long as you want to complete the program.
  • To receive your certificate, complete 7 core courses, a 40-hour volunteer internship and an open book exam.
    • Garden Fundamentals and Botanical Latin are recommended as your first courses and are prerequisites for your Tree and Shrub ID course. Beyond these recommendations, you can take the courses in any order you wish.
    • The 40 hour volunteer inservice may be completed within any year of your choosing.
    • Once you have completed your classes, you can request access to your open book, multiple choice exam.
  • The total cost of the program including registration fee, all 7 core workshops (6.5 days of class time), examination and certification is under $800. 
  • Once you become a certified University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener, you are required to put in a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service annually and attend a minimum of six hours of course instruction every two years to keep your certification current.

To Become a U of S Master Gardener:

  1. Anyone can take any of our classes at any time, just for personal interest. However if you want to become certified, you need to enroll in the Certification program as well. The registration fee includes all administrative and final examination fees as well as a subcription to the U of S Master Gardener newsletter. It also includes your home study course material for reference purposes. Only this registration fee is payable up front. The core course fees are due whenever you chose to enrol in a course. On completion of the seven core courses, a take-home, open book, multiple choice exam based on material from the program text and core courses can be written. 
  2. Complete the seven core courses that are offered throughout the year and during Hort Week. 
  3. Complete your internship: 40 hours of volunteer time within one year. Sometimes people feel there isn’t any volunteer opportunities in their community but if you see a need in your community, you can fill it through your community service based internship. Some ideas include: writing articles, assisting seniors with yard work, assisting U of S researchers, planting a community garden, sitting on the board of your local hort club, planning or participating in horticulture outreach education activities like Gardenscape, growing plants for fundraising and charity, designing a therapeutic garden, advising or assisting in a school yard garden, etc. In addition to finding your own opportunity, we also send out notices of volunteer opportunities through email.
  4. Email us at gardening@usask.ca to request your exam.

You will be considered a University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Trainee until you have fulfilled all of the above requirements.

Courses and Workshops

Core Courses

Core Courses are offered at least twice a year and some are available through distance education. They can be taken for personal interest or applied toward your U of S Master Gardener Certificate.

Core courses can be taken through distance education (online/home study) or as short-term face-to-face workshops during Hort Week.

Master Gardener courses are indicated with (MGCC) on course descriptions. Core courses include:

  • Garden Fundamentals: (workshop or distance format). This course is a prerequisite for Tree & Shrub I.D.
  • Botanical Latin: (workshop or distance format). This class is recommended, though not required, to take before Identifying Insects in Your Yard & Garden and Tree & Shrub I.D.
  • Identifying Insects in Your Yard & Garden: (workshop) Botanical Latin is recommended, though is not a required prerequisite.
  • Safe Use of Pesticides and Alternatives: (workshop)
  • Common Plant Diseases: (workshop)
  • Tree & Shrub I.D.: (workshop) Garden Fundamentals is a prerequisite for this course. Botanical Latin is recommended as well, though is not a required prerequisite.
  • Communications: (workshop) Teachers and other professional communicators may be exempt from this course on a case by case basis.

Core courses are regularly updated to ensure that you get a hands-on education. Courses include activities and demonstrations whenever possible to help increase your learning and to provide practical application to your horticulture studies. Botanical Latin and Garden Fundamentals are prerequisites for other core courses. Botanical Latin, Garden Fundamentals and Safe Use of Pesticides are also available through distance education and the remaining core courses are currently being developed for distance formats.

Gardening Workshops

Gardening Workshops: Over 30 special interest courses, tours or events are offered annually with something for every are of interest level of gardening ability. While core courses are offered throughout the year, most general workshops, tours and events are offered during Hort Week

Scholarships

The Saskatoon Horticultural Society (SHS) provides the Butterfield Scholarship, which is an annual scholarship for funding toward the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Certificate. Visit their website to learn more.

Contact Us

Vanessa Young and Darcy Parenteau
Horticulture and Agriculture Lifelong Learning Programs
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
Rm 2D30 Ag Bldg - 51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8
306.966.5546

Email gardening@usask.ca

Master Gardener Volunteer Opportunities

Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) supports a number of school gardens- both inside the classroom and outdoors. Teachers often request growing tips, or appreciate a guest visit connected to the gardens. We are seeking volunteers to mentor the teachers (and students) on growing techniques and to get involved in the local school gardening communities. Opportunities are available in Saskatoon and across the province. For more information, visit http://aitc.sk.ca/get-involved/volunteers. See you in the garden!
We are in the midst of a major web re-design... it's going to be exciting! In addition to providing more relevant, local information, we're launching a new blog and we want you to be a part of it! We are looking for gardeners to report on local activities, interview people, or somehow share the excitement of learning to garden in Saskatchewan. Maybe you're a writer, maybe want to share a photo story - contact us at gardening@usask.ca to see how you can get involved!
Agriculture in the Classroom's Food Farms program helps students learn about where their food comes from through actively participating in growing the ingredients for familiar foods such as pizza, burgers, and fries. Grade 3 students plant seeds in the spring and then the same students return in the fall to harvest their crops! Food Farms take place in Yorkton, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Melfort, Prince Albert and Outlook. Volunteers are required to assist students in planting vegetable crops in spring, and harvesting in fall. For more information, see http://aitc.sk.ca/get-involved/volunteers
Blair's in Strongfiled is seeking a presenter for a Lunch and Learn on a garden-related topic such as general garden health, shrubs/trees, planning, maintenance or other topics of presenters choosing. The presentation could be about an hour plus questions. They are equipped with a boardroom for 25 people as well as a projector set up. If you are interested, please contact Erika at eed559@mail.usask.ca for more details.

The Garden Patch has many volunteer opportunities for Master Gardeners including routine garden maintenance and helping during community events. Volunteers who are able to commit to regular shifts can choose to ‘adopt’ a portion of the garden. This includes caring for a raised bed or part of a healthy yards demonstration garden (Green roof, pollinator garden, polyculture, native prairie, healthy back yard, children’s garden, season extension). All volunteers are required to do a short orientation before their shift.

The Garden Patch is an Urban Agriculture initiative of the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. In the last seven years the Garden Patch has grown 110,000 lbs of produce for distribution in emergency food hampers. We are located in the 900 block of 3rd avenue and are open Monday to Saturday from May to October.

Contact: adrian.w@saskatoonfoodbank.org to sign up!

Bonnie in the Exhibition area in Saskatoon is looking for help with her yard while she recovers from surgery. If you can help, please call her at 306-664-4065.

Olga is in need of some additional help to maintain a gorgeous yard of prize lilies, various flowers and plants of all types. Some physical restrictions have hindered her gardening passion this year but she is able to work alongside a helper. If you are able to help, please call 306-231-4520.

The Askîy Project is an urban agricultural internship initiated in 2014 by CHEP Good Food Inc. Through the planning and operation of a small-scale urban farm on 20th Street West, the askîy project is dedicated to educating Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth from Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods in gaining work experience and life skills. By working through a set curriculum, interns are mentored to select and grow a variety of food crops, create marketing plans, organize community events, host tours and volunteer opportunities for community groups, and sell their produce to the public at the local farmer’s market, through on-site sales, and to local restaurants.
 
CHEP Good Food welcomes volunteers from the Master Gardener program to assist with ongoing site development, plant care, composting, and harvesting/processing activities. Volunteer opportunities with the askîy project are available between May and October. To learn more, please contact Wendy Quinton, CHEP’s Volunteer Coordinator by calling 306-655-4575 or sending an email to wendy@chep.org

Do you have a green thumb?  Enjoy planning garden spaces?  Do you have skills or knowledge about landscape architecture and green space design?  
Parkridge Centre is in the planning and development stages for a barrier free community garden space.  The space is going to be one of a kind in Saskatoon and will offer the opportunity for residents of Parkridge Centre and members of the Parkridge Community to garden in a completely barrier free environment.

We are currently accepting volunteer applications for the following:

  • PRC Horticulture Volunteer:  Our Horticulture volunteer works directly with our Occupational therapy department in order to assist with the PRC horticulture program.  The program volunteer will provide supports to our residents in completing work in our greenhouse throughout the year.
  • Landscape Design Volunteer – Do you have the skills and knowledge to plan a green space or garden space?  The Landscape Design Volunteer will assist in the overall design of the barrier free garden space and will work closely with a team of volunteers, staff and community members to ensure that the design of the space is reflective of the needs of the community.
  • Plantation Volunteer – do you have knowledge about planting a variety of vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and native to Saskatchewan varieties of plants and trees?  Our Plantation Volunteer is responsible for the overall plantation planning including the selection of the plant varieties; they will work closely with the manager of Volunteer Workforce and a team of Garden volunteers to ensure that the proper variety selection occurs and that planting occurs at the correct times.
  • Community Garden Volunteer –  Our Garden Volunteers will assist with the overall planning, planting, maintenance and harvest within our garden space.

We are seeking the assistance of community members who have a willingness to assist with the overall design and development of a barrier free community garden, if you have specific skills or knowledge you would like to share please feel free to contact Kimberly Quam, Manager of Volunteer Workforce for Parkridge Centre directly at 306-655-3865 or via email at  Kimberly.quam@saskatoonhealthregion.ca

Warm 'n' Cozy Care Homes houses over 40 seniors. Our seniors love gardening and would love some help from starting seeds, to enjoying the fruits. It would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone to come spend some time with our wonderful family full of wisdom and jokes! To contact Warm 'n' Cozy please call the manager at 306-261-5688.

The Saskatoon Horticultural Society (SHS) has been operating for 104 years within the Saskatoon region and consists of volunteers to run its board and the many events held throughout the year. The SHS promotes the enjoyment of art, knowledge and public awareness of horticulture and safe environmental practices to its members. Are you passionate about horticulture and want to network with like-minded people in the Saskatoon region? We have various planning committees that you can join. Each committee consist of 3-4 people and include:

  • Gardenscape Committee

  • Spring Garden Sale Committee

  • Passport Tour Committee

  • Home Grounds Award Committee

  • Fall Garage Sale Committee

If you do not want to join the planning of these events, you can simply volunteer at the event.

Want to get more involved with SHS? We are always looking for new people to become directors of our society to help achieve our mission. We meet once a month to discuss the direction of SHS. If you want to attend a meeting to see what we are about, please contact Chris at (306) 281-8921.

Please send us an email with your contact information at saskatoonhortsociety@sasktel.net

Ronald McDonald House would appreciate a regular visit by a Master Gardener to share their knowledge and expertise.  We are looking for someone that is able to volunteer a minimum of once per month, to a maximum of once per week, for about 2 hours per visit.  Master Gardener will work alongside the garden volunteer lead to help maintain plant health, consisting of newly planted shrubs and perennials. Kindly contact Nan Lee at 306-220-4373 or email nanlee3@gmail.com if you are interested.
Jackie Bantle, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan is looking for Master Gardeners to volunteer in the Plant Sciences Greenhouses. If you are interested in helping out, please email Jackie to be put on her volunteer list.
North Park Wilson School is working to maintain our Natural Grassland Garden. It is a designated space at the front of our building at 1505-9th Ave. N. We are looking for interested gardeners who would like to join us in the planning and development of a plan for the ongoing preservation and maintenance of this space. Please contact the school at 306-683-7380 or email champs@spsd.sk.ca to get more information.
Oliver Lodge is currently on the hunt for a regular “Gardening/Horticulture Volunteer” to share their knowledge and expertise.  We are hoping to find an individual who is able to commit 2-3 hours one day per week (day and time are flexible – in the past it has been Wednesday mornings). Our residents have a greenhouse, flower pots, raised flower beds, and a raised garden that they take care with the help of the Recreation Coordinators, but they need your help. Please contact Kristen Smith, Director of Recreation and Volunteer Services at 306-986-5471 or kristen.smith@saskatoonhealthregion.ca if you are interested or would like more information. Oliver Lodge is located at 1405 Faulkner Crescent.
 
The Four Season Urban Agriculture Project at the Regina Food Bank includes a community greenhouse that operates year round and utilizes 48 garden towers to grow fresh vegetables and herbs. The purpose of this project is not only to provide locally grown nutritious food to our clients but also to educate clients and the community about where our food comes from, how to grow food at home, and composting.
We are looking for volunteers with various skills, knowledge and availability to help out with the project. Please if you are interested in volunteering with us contact Kim Wenger the Community Greenhouse Coordinator at kimw@reginafoodbank.ca

Frequently Asked Questions

Master Gardeners volunteer their time to assist people with horticulture in their own communities. They share their knowledge and experience with fellow gardeners, friends, neighbours, youth and seniors. This sharing consists of a varied range of activities that may include:
  • helping seniors or less-able individuals garden
  • answering a garden phone-in line for your community
  • designing, planting or maintaining community gardens in public places such as hospitals, schools, parks, etc.
  • developing horticultural therapy programs
  • writing a garden column for our newsletter or for your local paper
  • teaching gardening classes for your local community colleges, associations or recreation departments
  • The list goes on...  “If you think there is a need you can fill it!”
It began in 1972 in the state of Washington. It has since grown to include about 48 states and all the Canadian provinces. There are currently over 60,000 Master Gardeners across North America. The University of Saskatchewan program began in 1989.
Quite simply, the University of Saskatchewan has earned its reputation as a high caliber agricultural university. We are not a volunteer-based program; the U of S Master Gardener Program hires trained and experienced professionals to teach all courses and workshops. Our “bug guy” Professor Cedric Gillot, PhD has written University textbooks on Insects. In addition to instructing the core insect course, he also wrote the Insects in Your Yard and Garden distance education course. Sara Williams, a well-known author and well-respected horticulturalist, helped launch this program and still teaches several courses with us each year. During our classes, students have access to sites and materials from throughout the University. For example, in our Tree and Shrub ID class, students examine specimens gathered on campus and may bring home samples from over 15 different key species.
Each person’s timeline is unique. Some people finish the core courses of the program during Hort Week, others attend workshops or take distance education courses as their schedules allow and may take several years to complete the core courses. Throughout the educational training, students are encouraged to work on the home study portion of the course materials by reviewing the course texts. Of course, the timeline for completing the “internship” portion (40h volunteering in a horticultural capacity) is highly personal as well. For ideas on where to gain the volunteer hours, check out the Volunteering and Master Gardener project opportinities on this page.
Our program content has always been strong. Though we’ve made a few adjustments, in most courses no significant content changes have been made. So why the revisions? When we were speaking to students, we heard time and again that the in class activities and discussions were most useful for their growth as a horticulturalist so we’ve revisited the core courses to include more practical activities to help link the horticulture science to our gardening practices. For example, we’ve added some basic soil testing activities to the soil science portion of Garden Fundamentals. The only course to undergo significant content changes was our core course Communications but any Master Gardeners who received credit for the previous version do not need to retake the course.

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