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Cultivate Your Green Thumb: The Top 5 Online Gardening Courses

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Anyone can start a garden, whether big or small, in containers, raised beds or in the ground, indoors or outside. But becoming a successful gardener can take some time, as it requires ample knowledge of plant types, soil science, pests and diseases, and various methods of plant care. To help you delve deeper into the world of horticulture and gain these skills, we’ve rounded up the top five online gardening courses so you can learn from home. Whether you’re looking for a Master Gardener certificate or quick courses for hobby gardening, these resources will provide ample information on keeping a healthy and bountiful garden!

1. Cornell University Department of Horticulture: Organic gardening distance learning course

This basic course covers a broad spectrum of gardening topics, including vegetable and flower gardening, lawn care, tree and shrub management, managing pests and soil care. The course places a strong emphasis on organic gardening that is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Around 2-4 hours a week are required to complete the 8-week online course that costs $300. Learning takes place via numerous hands-on activities alongside a group discussion board, quizzes, and readings.

2. Oregon State University: Master Gardener Online

If you’re looking to receive a widely recognized gardening certificate, completing a Master Gardener course will provide you with ample knowledge and skills for sustainable gardening practices. The courses are typically offered twice a year, in the fall and early spring, and run for about three months. Course curriculums include botany, entymology, pest management, plant pathology, soils and composting, indoor and container gardening and using various plant types. OSU offers an online option that does nonetheless require a certain amount of hands-on, volunteer hours. The course is priced at $390-$490 depending on the amount of learning completed online.

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From the Organic Authority Files

3. My Garden School

My Garden School is the ultimate online resource for anything related to gardening and plant care. Available to anyone worldwide, the website contains a wealth of knowledge for new and experienced gardeners who wish to delve deeper into any aspect of horticulture. The wide range of courses are taught by world-renowned gardening authors and provide an easily accessible way to educate yourself on growing vegetables, designing beautiful flower beds, caring for fruit trees and much more. These courses include online tutorials, assignments, 1-on-1 feedback and downloadable notes and run for about 4 weeks at prices between $200 and $250.

4. Better Homes & Gardens: Garden Fresh – Grow Your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs

This 14-part course is taught by Doug Jimerson, the Garden Editor at Better Homes & Gardens Magazine. The course covers basic gardening skills from starting seeds indoors to transplanting, diagnosing common plant, soil and bug conditions, and choosing and tending plant varieties that grow well in your environment. Although the course does not include active instructor participation, a student-led discussion is constantly open for questions and allows you to watch the classes on your own schedule. The course can be purchased and downloaded for $29.99 and your access never expires.

5. Utah State University Extension: Vegetable Gardening and Lawn Care

Lucky for those that can’t make it to class (even if online), three professors from Utah State University have put together three lessons that cover the very basics of vegetable gardening and lawn care. Each lesson and a related Q&A session are available for streaming or download from the University Extension site for free.

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