New Master Gardener Manual provides comprehensive overview of gardening topics

Emily Bartlett
August 26, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension has published the newly updated Master Gardener Manual, an expansive guide containing a comprehensive inventory of gardening and landscape-management topics for home gardeners, students and professionals.

The nearly 800-page guide leads readers through the basics of plant classification, propagation, plant culture, harvesting, and problem-solving. Material included in the publication was adapted from the original Penn State Extension Master Gardener Manual, The Virginia Master Gardener Handbook, The Maryland Master Gardener Handbook, and various Penn State Extension publications.

Extension specialists, horticulture educators and Master Gardeners all contributed to the manual, providing text, photos, drawings, and charts that help to illustrate the subject matter.

Chapters cover botany, plant propagation, soil health and fertilizer management, composting, pest control and entomology, plant diseases, indoor plants, vegetable gardens, lawn care, ornamentals, tree fruit, small fruit, landscape design, woody ornamentals, herbaceous plants, native plants, weeds, invasive species, garden wildlife, and gardening equipment.

Nancy Knauss, state coordinator for the Penn State Master Gardener program, noted that the manual provides a wealth of horticultural information for all levels of gardeners. "It includes the basics for beginning gardeners but also provides more extensive, detailed information for advanced gardeners and professionals," she said.

The manual incorporates the research-based knowledge and experience of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences professors and extension professionals from several fields, including horticulture, small and tree fruit production, landscape architecture, turfgrass science, forestry and wildlife management, entomology, plant pathology, and botany.

Although it is available to the public, one of the primary purposes of the guide is to instruct Penn State Master Gardeners, who are volunteers trained by Penn State Extension to answer questions, speak to groups, work with 4-H gardening projects, maintain demonstration gardens, teach plant sciences and horticulture, write gardening articles, and more.

The publication provides information to familiarize these volunteers with the land-grant mission of Penn State Extension, and the first section of the manual is focused on teaching and communication with adults, children and teens. Certified Master Gardeners in turn educate individuals and groups on topics such as vegetable gardening, plant selection and care, composting and soil health, controlling pests safely, pollinator gardening, and pruning.

The Master Gardener Manual is an 8.5-by-10-inch, hardcover, case-bound volume with more than 600 color images. The publication is available from Penn State Extension for $75, plus shipping. Orders can be placed by calling toll free 877-345-0691. The publication number is AGRS-139. Most major credit cards are accepted.

The Penn State Master Gardener volunteer program supports the outreach mission of Penn State Extension by utilizing unbiased, research-based information to educate communities and the public on best practices in sustainable horticulture and environmental stewardship.

  • Master Gardener Manual cover

    Penn State Extension's Master Gardener Manual covers botany, plant propagation, soil health and fertilizer management, composting, pest management, plant diseases, vegetable gardening, lawn care, ornamentals and more.

    IMAGE: Penn State Extension

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Last Updated August 26, 2016