The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener program will hold its core training sessions this fall for individuals interested in becoming Master Gardeners.

The Master Gardener program is looking for people who are passionate about volunteering and gardening. No previous garden knowledge is required. The program equips volunteers to grow in knowledge about gardening best practices and contribute produce to food banks to enhance food security and make Iowa’s fairgrounds and main streets beautiful.

“Master Gardeners provide information and education to Iowans,” said Susan DeBlieck, ISU Extension and Outreach Master Gardener assistant coordinator. “They are excellent community resources who help make the state a better place to live.”

ISU Extension and Outreach Muscatine County will hold training sessions starting September 19 through November 14 at the Muscatine County Office, 1514 Isett Avenue, Muscatine. The training will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and three Thursdays. There will also be a training session held on the Iowa State University campus on Saturday, October 7 or 21.

Those interested in the course can apply at https://mastergardenerhours.hort.iastate.edu/application-form.php. Applications for the Master Gardener Program are due by September 1 to participate in 40 hours of Master Gardener training. Training fees are $195.

After completing the course, Master Gardener trainees start their work as volunteers within the community, completing 40 volunteers hours within one year of training. To maintain an active status, Iowa Master Gardeners volunteer 20 hours per year while building their gardening know-how through ten hours of continuing education.

Individuals not interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer can still receive training. The ProHort (Professional Horticulture) program allows individuals to gain knowledge while earning a certificate of completion. Cost for the ProHort program is $550 and does not include any volunteer requirements.

Master Gardeners donated nearly 120,000 volunteer hours during 2016, providing the equivalent of $2.6 million of labor to help beautify Iowa and address ongoing food security issues.

For more information about the Muscatine County training, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/Muscatine, call the county office at (563) 263-5701, or email KristaR@iastate.edu.