The Master Gardener Program is a cooperative effort between community volunteers and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension staff to provide unbiased horticultural information to the residents of Barnstable County.  Working with Master Gardener volunteers, Extension can expand its ability to provide quality information to the residents of Barnstable County through an array of horticultural programs.

Master Gardeners are adults of all ages who love gardening and who have previous gardening experience.  They come from all walks of life and are willing to learn about horticulture and share that research-based information with others!

Click here to view the Master Gardener informational brochure.

Becoming A Master Gardener

Master Gardener Program Overview

Applications for the 2022 class will be available in June 2021

Candidates for the program will be chosen through an interview process from the pool of applicants.  Once selected the candidates will participate in a training program that will prepare them in becoming Master Gardeners.  Upon graduating from the program the candidates will then be required to give back to the program in volunteer hours (largely spent on the plant clinic and hotline).

Master Gardener Programs Include:
Plant Clinic & Hotline
Backyard Horticulture
Children’s Gardens
Continuing Ed Conference
Demonstration Garden
Master Gardener Scholarship
Annual Plant Sale
Soil Test Clinics
Speaker’s Bureau

Community Outreach & Education



Ask a Master Gardener

Click here for the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau brochure and comprehensive list of topics.

To make a request for a speaker to speak to your organization or group, please fill out the information on the form by clicking on the link below.

Click here to request a speaker from the speakers bureau

The Master Gardener’s information table is where we answer gardening questions and have handouts available on various current horticultural topics.

The Master Gardener’s may participate at community events where our Horticultural message can be an integral part of the event theme. We reserve the right to cancel within one week of the event if staffing by the Master Gardeners is not available.

Click here to request a Master Gardener


Master Gardeners enhance the economy and environment through horticultural education.

Master Gardeners use applied research and the research resources of the University of Massachusetts.

Master Gardeners connect people with their environment by helping them find sound management practices for home and urban natural resources.

Master Gardeners create and maintain an aesthetically pleasing environment.

Master Gardeners promote well-being through people/plant interactions and horticulture therapy.

Master Gardeners contribute to a safe, abundant food supply through home fruit and vegetable production.


The Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress in 1914. This act initiated the formation of the Cooperative Extension and is often referred to as the Cooperative Extension Act. The Act provided the funds for Land Grant Universities to develop practical applications of research knowledge and the means to demonstrate those applications to the public. By 1918, each county had at least one Extension Service agent who was responsible for disseminating this information to the public.

The purpose of the Cooperative Extension is much the same today as it was 100 years ago; to provide educational opportunities for all, to conduct research for the benefit of mankind, and to disseminate knowledge and information to the public. Traditionally, this information and knowledge has been provided in the areas of: Natural Resources, Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Youth Development.   In 1972, an Extension Agent in Washington State, inundated with questions from home gardeners, decided to train a group of volunteers to help him handle the outreach of information. This was the beginning of the Master Gardener Program and the idea rapidly spread across the country. The Cooperative Extension soon maintained Master Gardener programs in all 50 states.

The University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension ran the Master Gardener Program in Massachusetts until 1989. At that time, the loss of county based Extension personnel throughout much of Massachusetts resulted in the termination of the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program. However, support for Extension in Barnstable County still existed and the county Extension office remained.  Roberta Clark, Barnstable County Extension Educator, and a group of Master Gardeners organized Cape Cod’s first Master Gardener Class in 1990. The Master Gardener Association of Cape Cod was established in 1993 and is a non-profit (501c3) organization run by a Board of Directors.

The Master Gardener Association of Cape Cod maintains a strong relationship with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. That relationship is served by the Horticulture Extension Educator who advises the Association in continuing its mission to assist the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension in meeting the horticultural needs of Cape Cod’s population.

On Cape Cod, the Master Gardener Program is a cooperative effort between community volunteers and the Extension staff to provide unbiased horticultural information to the residents of Barnstable County. The efforts of the Master Gardeners increase the ability for Cooperative Extension to reach a greater number of people using the expertise gained during training. The Master Gardeners “Help Others Learn to Grow” by engaging in a number of programs, including the Horticulture Clinic and Hotline, the Demonstration Garden, the Children’s Garden and many others.


The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Horticulture Clinic Is open to handle gardening questions, soil samples and diagnostic questions.  However the clinic is not being staffed regular hours and questions should be submitted by email to .  The clinic is not able to handle walk-in clients or phone calls at this time.

If you have a horticulture or gardening question please submit your question to  Please be as detailed as possible with your question.  For questions that involve insect id, plant id, weed id or disease/mysterious problem solving please include high quality pictures with your email so that we can make a conclusive diagnosis.  For pointers on how to take high quality diagnostic photos click here.   Do not send plant samples via mail at this time.

The Horticulture Clinic is accepting soil samples for soil pH testing during the covid-19 emergency period.  Soil samples must be sent by mail and must include this form.  Please make sure the form is mailed with the samples and filled out completely with a legible email address and crop designated for each sample.  During the covid-19 emergency the $2/sample fee will temporarily be waived with a maximum of 5 samples allowed per household.  For more extensive testing including nutrients and fertilizer recommendations – use the UMass Soil Testing Lab.  Instructions on how to take a soil sample.

Mail to:
Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
Soil Test
PO Box 367
Barnstable, MA 02630