Rejected by the MN MG Program- Please Help

iclimbtrees(4a)November 15, 2013

Today I found out that I was not accepted into the Minnesota/Ramsey County MG program. Must have sobbed for 2 hours:(
I don't know what I did wrong.
I come from a viticulture background, enjoy public speaking, love people, am interested in working with children in schools and , dressed properly, enthusiastic, have had many experiences with diverse cultures.
No...I generally do not brag this much:)
I called the extension office in hopes of finding out why. I'd love to find out what areas I need to work on.
I spoke to a very nice person who said she would try to help but she was doubtful that they would be willing to give me any feedback.
To make matters worse, during the interview, they told me that they could accept an unlimited number of applicants so the program is never full.
So, I can't even blame it on the the program being full.
Do any of you have any idea why people are rejected?
I'd just like to use this as a learning experience so I would appreciate any advice you could give.
But please be gentle...I'm already in tears:((

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napapen(ca 15)

I have a friend who was not picked the first time around and I told her to try again which she did and was accepted. Our program can not accept all applicants so those who have the most time to volunteer afterward and who possibly are bilingual or versed in public speaking have the best chance. If you really want to know why maybe you should talk to the Farm Advisor or do as I advised my friend, try again.
It shows you are really interested in the program.

One thing I have noticed that those who have the most interests in other things are the ones who do not last because of excess committments. Penny

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Hi Napapen,

Thanks so much for your input.
Interesting that I am bilingual and do have plenty of time to volunteer. So, that wasn't the issue
Possibly due to by background in wine/viticulture with lots of coursework at UCD...(lived in Napa/SF, where you are) they might see me as a high flight risk?
I am attempting to get some feedback so hopefully I can at least learn from this experience.

Again, I appreciate your advice!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 2:49AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Having served on interview panels I can tell you I regarded the past volunteer efforts, when considering an applicant. Your usefulness to the program is dependent your being active in the forwarding of the goals. Being a Master Gardener means a willingness to GIVE, not just being there to receive. The interviewer has to depend on what you have done in the past, not what you say you will do in the future. Al

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 10:59AM
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I was accepted into MG program but just found out I didn't receive scholarship so most likely won't be attending unless I can come up with the money within a week.

I guess I wasn't the only person crying about this. : ( I was so looking forward to learning within a group and having ongoing classes and volunteer experiences.

Really want to learn as much as possible. Any suggestions as to how I can learn the basics taught in Master Gardener Program. Any comprehensive organic gardening book recommendations? I guess getting a basic botany book would be a start. I'm not going to wait until I can become a MG to volunteer and help others. Should I post this as a separate topic?

I heard that the selection process leans towards those who don't have heavy horticulture background. I guess that's why I was accepted. : >

I also heard somewhere of someone being allowed to audit the Master Gardener Program. Not sure I have the courage to ask about this.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 12:14AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Daisy I don't know where you live, but most states have community colleges offering horticulture classes, some very good ones. Of course there will be some cost, but nothing is free. Al

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:16AM
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napapen(ca 15)

Another thing is to attend every public workshop you can to become known. Stop by where they are holding information tables etc. If you are timid about public speaking that could be a problem.

We are going to start answering the home hobbists grape growers questions this year!! That is another learning curve.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Instead of feeling rejected look at it as an opportunity to become a 4-H volunteer, start a school garden, organize a club for grape and other small fruit wine vinters. I took the MG classes in 1979, I would not become a Master Gardener today - too snobby and one commits to intensive regulated volunteer demands. I still volunteer in for many hours in garden related areas but within my interests and skills.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 5:21PM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Join a good, active Garden Club and learn from the experts. That way you avoid all the commitments, expenses, and exclusive politics.
Get to know your local nursery owners, maybe help them out a bit.
Most of the real plant knowledgeable people I know are not Master Gardeners. There are other ways to know what you want to know.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 5:29AM
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Thanks Mike and cedar_wa!

I appreciate your thoughts. It's been a long hard Winter here in MN with plenty of time for thought.
I'm in the process of planning a couple of local community projects. And hope to create a sensorial garden for a local school for children with autism.
Lofty plans but it feels great to pursue these things.
Again, thank you ans hope you are ready for Spring:)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:35AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

iclimb.... I just retired from 38 years in spec ed..The last few years I've been given a small amount of $ to get a school garden going, maybe $50. That was enough to fill a couple of pre-made beds with some good soil and Baker Creek Seed donated probably $25 worth of seed!
The students I worked with are adults (18-22yo), but most knew NOTHING about where food comes from!!!!
They really enjoyed planting , watering and finally eating (except the greens!) and taking home some produce!
I was thinking of doing the MG program, but it's expensive, and I can volunteer for the local school garden project and still bring a lot of information to young and old students!
Have fun! Nancy

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 10:31PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

When I sold my small business and retired I was looking for something besides my own garden to work on. A frend told me his daughter worked for non profit nursery dedicated to finding new plants, conducting trials, and encouraging wholesale nurseries to grow and promote them. He said they had some volunteers working there. I was delighted to work amoung dedicated professions,absorbing all the knowledge and experience possible. I never realized how interesting it was to work for no pay, only for experience. Al

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:55PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

It's not that big of a deal - at least not in Florida. In Florida, it is an accumulation of volunteer hours and nothing more. There is no proof of knowledge, no test, no examination - not once to you ever have to demonstrate a proficiency in gardening - you merely attend some classes and then volunteer a certain amount of hours a year. Now volunteering is a good thing, and we need volunteers, but it doesn't mean that the Florida Master Gardener knows anything at all about plants, soil, etc.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 5:39PM
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I just applied to my local MG program. It won't feel good if I am rejected, however many of the posts in this thread have me feeling hopeful about other alternatives. I look forward to the volunteering aspect of the program and also the potential camaraderie with other MGs. If I am not accepted, I know of some programs for which I could volunteer instead and hopefully get the same kind of camaraderie going. Thanks all for recommending other avenues!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 5:24PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that you do not need to apply to a particular program if you just want to offer your services as a master gardener. I've worked with a fair number of people who independently studied and prepared themselves to do master gardener work, and then described themselves as master gardeners. Sometimes they were interested in pure volunteer work, sometimes the gardening was a source of either primary or secondary income. One couple I know retired, became master gardeners and then started a thriving small farm. They also helped those who came for advice on doing the same. Self-trained MGs are helpful to those who have questions, and are willing to share their time and knowledge. This is the true MG meaning. In our area, the "official" master gardener program does not offer any training that these folks did not have, and, as noted above, it appears to sometimes be burdened with paperwork and things not associated with gardening. You can still get good help to train from the extension services, and can still access the various on-line aids available.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 8:02AM
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I am in a MG class associated with UF and I am learning a lot ! Will I be proficient in gardening ? probably not for a long while. In my program we have a pretest before each class and our "final" will be a compilation of the pretests. It will be an open book test based on our notes and take home sheets from each class. While I don't know that our instructor will " fail" anyone we are expected to know where and how to find the answers. I do believe all this can be done without being in a MG class but I have learned so much for the other class members. I would never have done all this on my own. sign me "A happy soon to be MG in Putnam co. Florida

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 8:11PM
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Dale Putnam(z6/7oklahoma)

I am a MG, since 2001. During the application interview, They said that i would be able to answer any gardening question that people would call about. I thought that would be impossible, but the interviewee was positive about being able to do so. So, I took the course, which was 12 weeks, completed all the weekly examinations, and the final. Then came 60 hours of telephone duty answering phone questions. So I became an MG. Whats the difference between me and anyone else? I can find the most likely answer to a gardening question before you can.
But they did not teach hands on gardening. It was all book knowledge, which is pretty good, however????
I know lots of master gardeners, who are really good growers of veggies, flowers, and whatnot, and they don't have a title, as I do. You still have to learn on your own.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2014 at 1:09AM
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eureka(SS11 LasVegas/Henderson)

Interesting to hear about other MG courses and goals. In So NV we are taught to prepare, plant, and maintain veggie gardens, home yards, flowers, trees, etc. We generally are taught diseases of plants that we can identify, maladies that beset plants, wrong growing practices, etc. But we are not expected to be fully trained Horticulturists or Botanists. We have projects all over the Las Vegas Valley at schools, hospitals, hospices, neighborhood parks, an orchard, an air force base. We spend time on the phones answering questions, or researching questions so we answer properly. We volunteer at many MG question tables at Farmer Markets, the State Fair, gardens throughout the valley, libraries, and gardening clubs. We learn as we go and do not attempt to be experts right out of classes. We pay $150.00, spend 80 hrs, received 3 books, a botany book, a Sunset book, and a desert gardening book, all extremely useful for gardening in this area.

My thoughts on the original poster is that the MG program could not see how they could use someone well educated in wine grapes for their program. Any growing experience is valuable to any gardening experience. Sorry you got turned away. Work independently or with gardening clubs to move further in this endeavor. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 11:01PM
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The Master Gardener program in Orange County, Ca. can only take 40 people a year due to the size of our meeting rooms and the equipment available for hand-on activities. We have well of 100 applicants, so those who are not selected should not feel "rejected." We try to get a broad spectrum of people who we feel will be enthusiastic, not miss any classes, and follow through with the volunteer commitment. Some people apply again and get into the next year's class.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 8:22AM
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