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Organic Gardening and Garden Design courses

Credential Earned: 

We offer two gardening courses through the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science:

Organic Gardening: This online course was developed in response to a strong, growing interest in organic gardening and is intended to examine the basics of small-scale organic gardening. The topics and depth of information offered will help new gardeners learn the basics and feel comfortable getting started, while also offering more experienced gardeners the opportunity to expand their knowledge base. This course may not be ideal for very experienced organic gardeners.  Additionally, students will walk away with a wealth of resources to look into for further study. The course has a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health and a whole systems approach to gardening. The course also explores various techniques for growing different kinds of garden plants – annuals and perennials, food plants and ornamentals. Participants are required to read assigned material, view recorded presentations, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. Though the class isn’t “live”, it is designed to keep a pace of one topic each week. (View course outline and syllabus.) Most students spend 3-4 hours/week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

Introduction to Garden Design: This course provides an opportunity for you to design your own ornamental landscape. You will be studying and experimenting with the basic design procedures, learning about proper plant selection, and you will write and reflect on the process as you learn. The instructor will take an active role in this creative endeavor by providing feedback on your assignments and journal entries. You will also have the opportunity to learn from one another through an open forum in which you can share your ideas with others. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand garden site analysis and apply the concepts to your personal space.
  • Gain some proficiency in basic garden design principals.
  • Articulate a personal aesthetic -- what appeals to you, and what you enjoy.
  • Layout a rough site plan overview of your garden design.

This course is designed to encourage your discovery of basic garden design techniques. It is a garden design course for the beginner. We teach an approach to gardening that is based on the principle of right plant, right place. In other words, we will consider the needs of the plant in addition to the needs of the gardener.

Both courses are non-credit, six weeks long (eight weeks including introductory and break weeks), and we present a certificate of completion to all those who participate in the whole course. 

Cost: $675 per course. Partial scholarships may be available for Cornell Cooperative Extension affiliated people or students in need.

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