Gardening, once considered a hobby for retirees or a chore for the weekend, has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. From urban dwellers looking to add some green to their apartments to homeowners wanting to cultivate their organic produce, more and more people are turning to gardening.
In this digital age, learning new skills has become easier than ever, and gardening is no exception. Online gardening courses have sprung up to cater to the growing interest, providing valuable knowledge to both novice and seasoned gardeners alike.
Online gardening courses offer a wide range of topics, from basic plant care and propagation techniques to advanced landscape design and permaculture principles. They are typically self-paced, allowing learners to absorb the information at their speed and convenience. Moreover, they often provide access to expert instructors and a community of fellow learners for support and inspiration.
Learning gardening skills and acquiring knowledge about plants and ecosystems are not just for aesthetic or nutritional purposes. Gardening has been shown to have numerous mental and physical health benefits, including stress relief, improved mood, better physical fitness, and even cognitive health benefits. Plus, it fosters a deeper connection with nature, promoting sustainability and conservation efforts.
Whether you’re looking to start a home vegetable garden, create a beautiful landscape, or simply want to keep your indoor plants alive, online gardening courses can equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Join us as we delve into the 14 best online gardening courses and classes available today, and find the right one to help you grow your green thumb.
- Ron Finley Teaches Gardening – Best Overall
- Master Gardener Short Course Series – Best for Advanced Study
- Garden Therapy Course – Best Gardening Basics Course
- Grow Like a Superpro – Udemy
- Online Courses from Universitat Politècnica de València
- Online Gardening School by Wildabundance.net
- Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes Five Course Series – Extension Gardener
- Growing Organic Food Sustainably Online Course – Alison
- Happy Houseplants: Caring For Your Plants by The Sill
- The RHS School of Horticulture – Best for Professional Development
- Distance Learning Gardening Courses – The English Gardening School
- Learning with Experts Courses – Best for Variety
- Oregon State University’s Free Online Permaculture Course – Best for Sustainability
- The Science of Gardening – The Great Courses
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Online Gardening Courses
Choosing the best online gardening course depends on several factors, each tailored to your personal needs and objectives. Here are some key considerations as you navigate through the available options:
- Your Gardening Goals: Are you aiming to grow a vegetable garden, design an aesthetically pleasing landscape, or simply keep your houseplants alive? Your specific goal will guide your choice of course. For instance, OSU’s Master Gardener Series is excellent for vegetable gardening (source), while other courses might focus more on design or plant care.
- Level of Expertise: Courses cater to different skill levels – from beginners to seasoned gardeners. If you’re just starting, you might choose a course that covers the fundamentals of gardening, like the Fundamentals of Home Gardening offered by UCONN (source).
- Course Curriculum: Review the course outline to ensure it covers the topics you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in organic gardening, ensure the course teaches organic methods.
- Course Format: Some people learn better through visual cues, while others prefer text-based learning. Check if the course format suits your learning style.
- Instructor’s Expertise: The instructor’s knowledge and experience can greatly impact your learning. Renowned gardener Ron Finley’s course on Class Central is highly rated (source).
- Peer Reviews and Ratings: Reviews from past students can give you insight into the course’s effectiveness and whether it delivers on its promises.
- Price and Time Commitment: Finally, consider the cost of the course and the time you can commit to it. Some courses offer a lifetime membership & mentorship, like the one provided by Wildabundance (source), which might be worth the investment for serious gardeners.
Before You Take One of the Best Online Gardening Classes
Before you enroll in one of the best online gardening classes, here are a few things to consider:
- Your Gardening Goals: Are you looking to start a vegetable garden, beautify your yard with ornamental plants, or learn about sustainable gardening practices? Identifying your goals can help you choose the most appropriate course.
- Your Prior Knowledge and Experience: Some courses are designed for beginners, while others require a basic understanding of gardening principles. Assess your current knowledge and skills to ensure you pick a course that matches your level.
- Time Commitment: Online courses can vary in length and intensity. Be sure to check the estimated time commitment for each course to ensure it fits into your schedule.
- Course Format: Some courses are self-paced, allowing you to complete them at your speed, while others may have set schedules for lessons and assignments. Choose a format that suits your learning style and availability.
- Cost: While many online gardening classes are free, some come with a cost. Make sure to consider this in your decision and assess whether the potential learning outcomes justify the expense.
- Hands-On Opportunities: Practical application is vital in gardening. Look for courses that include practical exercises or projects, which allow you to apply what you’ve learned.
- Certification: If you’re looking to add the course to your resume or professional profile, ensure the course offers a certificate upon completion.
The 14 Best Online Gardening Courses
1. Ron Finley Teaches Gardening – Best Overall
Ron Finley’s MasterClass on Gardening is an engaging and comprehensive course that runs for 2 hours and 7 minutes, spanning over 10 video lessons.
This course is designed to inspire and educate individuals on how to garden in any space available to them, nurture their plants, and grow their food.
The course curriculum involves a variety of topics such as “Planting a Revolution,” “Getting Dirty,” “Creating Planters,” and specific lessons on growing greens and legumes.
As a self-taught gardener and community activist, Finley imparts knowledge on planting vegetables, composting scraps, and more.
He also encourages communities to transform food deserts into food sanctuaries and teaches individuals how to regenerate their lands into thriving gardens (source).
What Makes It the Best Overall?
What sets this course apart is its instructor, Ron Finley, also known as the “Gangster Gardener.” His unique approach to gardening stems from his experiences in South Central L.A., where much of what grows must force itself through cracks in the concrete.
His passion for transforming urban environments into lush, green spaces translates into his teaching style, making the course both inspirational and practical.
Furthermore, this course stands out because it does not merely teach gardening techniques; it also promotes a gardening revolution. It encourages learners to reclaim control over their food supply by growing their food, whether in their backyard or on a windowsill.
Lastly, the positive reviews of this course testify to its effectiveness and the value it provides to the learners. Many have found the course to be worth it, praising Finley’s teaching style and the practical knowledge they gained about growing their food (source).
All these elements combined make “Ron Finley Teaches Gardening” the best overall online gardening course.
2. Master Gardener Short Course Series – Best for Advanced Study
The Master Gardener Short Course Series is an online program offered by Oregon State University. This series includes four comprehensive gardening courses: Basics Botany, Soils and Compost, Vegetable Gardening, and Integrated Pest Management.
Each course gives in-depth, science-based lessons on various gardening topics. These courses are self-paced and consist of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and interactive activities.
When students finish the series, they get a Home Horticulture Certificate from OSU’s Extension Service. This shows they have mastered home gardening and horticulture.
What makes it best for advanced study?
The Master Gardener Short Course Series stands out as the best for advanced study due to its rigorous and science-based curriculum.
It delves deeper into gardening topics than most other courses, providing learners with a robust understanding of horticulture.
For instance, the course on Soils and Compost discusses soil biology, chemistry, and physics, teaching students how to create and maintain healthy soil for optimal plant growth.
In the same way, the course on Pest Management teaches about pest life cycles, helpful insects, and how to manage pests.
Moreover, the course series is part of OSU’s Master Gardener Program, which has been recognized for its high-quality education and community service. This lends credibility to the courses and ensures that the knowledge imparted is up-to-date and reliable.
Finally, the fact that these courses lead to a Home Horticulture Certificate makes them ideal for those seeking advanced study in gardening. This certificate can enhance your credibility as a gardener and open up opportunities for community leadership and education in horticulture.
In summary, the Master Gardener Short Course Series’ comprehensive and science-based curriculum, the credibility of the OSU Extension Service, and the certification opportunity make it the best choice for advanced study in gardening.
3. Garden Therapy Course – Best Gardening Basics Course
The Garden Therapy Course is an online course that aims to teach beginners the basics of gardening. The course covers a wide range of topics, including plant identification, soil preparation, watering techniques, and pest control.
It also incorporates elements of garden design and maintenance, providing learners with a holistic view of what it takes to create and sustain a beautiful and productive garden.
The course is self-paced with engaging video lectures, informative readings, and interactive activities designed to reinforce learning. At the end of the course, learners receive a certificate of completion, affirming their newfound knowledge of gardening basics.
Why It’s Best for Learning Gardening Basics
The Garden Therapy Course stands out as the best for learning gardening basics for several reasons. First, it covers all the fundamental aspects of gardening, from understanding soil composition to recognizing common garden pests. This comprehensive approach ensures that beginners get a solid foundation in gardening.
Second, the course combines theory with practical application. It not only explains the ‘why’ behind different gardening techniques but also shows ‘how’ to execute them effectively. This balance between knowledge and skill is crucial for beginners who are just starting their gardening journey.
Third, the course is delivered in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. The instructors break down complex concepts into simple terms and provide lots of visual aids and real-life examples to aid understanding. This makes the learning process less daunting and more enjoyable for novices.
Lastly, the course offers a supportive and interactive learning environment. Learners can ask questions, share experiences, and even showcase their gardens on the course platform. This sense of community can greatly enhance the learning experience and motivate beginners to keep exploring the world of gardening.
In summary, the Garden Therapy Course’s comprehensive coverage of gardening basics, its practical approach, clear instruction, and supportive learning environment make it the best choice for those seeking to learn the fundamentals of gardening.
4. Grow Like a Superpro – Udemy
“Grow Like a Superpro” on Udemy is an online course designed to empower beginners and intermediate gardeners with the skills they need to take their gardening to the next level. The course covers an extensive range of topics, including plant selection, soil improvement, watering strategies, pest control, and organic gardening techniques.
The course consists of numerous video lectures, downloadable resources, and quizzes to test your knowledge. It’s entirely self-paced, meaning you can learn at your comfort and convenience. Upon completing the course, you receive a certificate of completion from Udemy, which can be shared on LinkedIn or other professional networks.
Unique Features of this Course
- Expert Instruction: The course is led by a seasoned gardener with years of experience in both professional and home gardening. This ensures that you’re learning from someone who knows the ins and outs of the field.
- In-Depth Content: Unlike many other gardening courses, “Grow Like a Superpro” delves deep into each topic, providing detailed explanations and demonstrations. This depth of content allows you to gain a thorough understanding of each aspect of gardening.
- Practical Assignments: The course includes several practical assignments that allow you to apply what you’ve learned in a real-world context. These assignments not only reinforce your learning but also give you hands-on experience in gardening.
- Lifetime Access: Once you enroll in the course, you get lifetime access to all the course materials. This means you can revisit the content anytime you want, even after you’ve completed the course.
- Interactive Community: The course features a Q&A section where you can ask questions, share your gardening experiences, and interact with fellow learners. This sense of community enhances the learning experience and provides a platform for continuous learning even after the course ends.
Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) offers a wide range of online courses across various disciplines, from engineering and architecture to art and design. These courses are designed to provide flexible, high-quality education for students globally.
The courses are delivered through a combination of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and assignments. They are self-paced, allowing students to learn at their own pace and convenience. Many of these courses offer certification upon completion, which can be added to a student’s professional portfolio or resume.
Courses offered by UPV cover a broad spectrum of topics, including but not limited to, digital marketing, data analysis, urban development, renewable energy, and food science. Each course is taught by experienced faculty members who are experts in their respective fields.
Benefits of Earning Certificates from Top Universities
- Credibility: A certificate from a top university like UPV adds credibility to your resume. It shows employers that you have been trained by some of the best educators in the world.
- Skill Enhancement: These courses allow you to acquire new skills or enhance existing ones in your chosen field. They provide you with an opportunity to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies.
- Career Advancement: Earning a certificate can boost your career prospects. It can make you stand out in job applications and might even help you negotiate a higher salary.
- Networking Opportunities: Being part of a top university’s learning community can provide networking opportunities. You can interact with fellow learners from around the world, share ideas, and even collaborate on projects.
- Flexibility: Online courses offer flexibility. You can learn at your own pace, at any time, and from anywhere. This makes it easier for working professionals and others with busy schedules to pursue further education.
6. Online Gardening School by Wildabundance.net
The Online Gardening School by Wildabundance.net is a comprehensive course designed to teach you everything you need to know about organic gardening. The course is ideal for beginners as well as seasoned gardeners who are looking to deepen their knowledge.
The course covers an array of topics, including soil health, composting, planting techniques, permaculture principles, and much more. It combines theory with practical exercises, enabling you to apply the knowledge in real-world scenarios.
The course is delivered through a mix of video lectures, reading materials, and quizzes that are designed to reinforce your understanding. Upon completion of the course, you receive a certificate that validates your skills in organic gardening.
Perks of Lifetime Membership & Mentorship
- Access to Course Material: As a lifetime member, you have unlimited access to all course material. You can revisit the content at any time, which is especially helpful if you want to refresh your knowledge or if new updates are added to the course.
- Continuous Learning: Gardening is a field where new techniques and practices are continually evolving. With a lifetime membership, you can stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in organic gardening.
- Expert Guidance: The mentorship aspect of the course allows you to interact directly with experienced gardeners and experts in the field. This can be invaluable for getting personalized advice, resolving queries, and gaining deeper insights into the world of organic gardening.
- Exclusive Content & Offers: Lifetime members often get access to exclusive content, such as advanced modules, special webinars, and members-only resources. They may also receive special offers on future courses or workshops.
- Community Interaction: Being a lifetime member gives you access to a community of like-minded individuals. This can be a great platform to share experiences, learn from others, and even form collaborations.
7. Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes Five Course Series – Extension Gardener
The “Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes Five Course Series” by Extension Gardener is a comprehensive online learning program designed to impart crucial knowledge and skills related to gardening and landscape management. This series includes five distinct courses, each focusing on a unique aspect of gardening:
- Soils and Plant Nutrients: This course dives into the science of soil composition and its impact on plant growth. It covers topics like soil testing, amendments, and nutrient management.
- Plant Propagation: This course teaches students various methods of plant propagation, including seeds, cuttings, division, and grafting.
- Pest Management: This course focuses on identifying and managing common garden pests, diseases, and weeds using environmentally sustainable practices.
- Lawn Care: This course provides in-depth knowledge about establishing and maintaining a healthy lawn, including mowing, watering, fertilizing, and pest control techniques.
- Vegetable Gardening: This course offers practical advice on planning, planting, and harvesting a successful vegetable garden, including tips for specific crops.
Each course includes video lectures, readings, interactive quizzes, and practical assignments. The courses are self-paced, enabling learners to progress at their convenience.
Upon completion of the “Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes Five Course Series,” learners can expect to:
- Understand Soil Science: Learners will gain a deep understanding of soil composition, nutrient management, and how soil health impacts plant growth.
- Master Plant Propagation Techniques: The series equips learners with various plant propagation techniques, enabling them to multiply plants effectively.
- Manage Pests Sustainably: Learners will know how to identify common pests and diseases and manage them using environmentally friendly practices.
- Maintain Healthy Lawns: Learners will understand how to establish and care for a lawn, including mowing, watering, fertilizing, and pest control techniques.
- Grow a Successful Vegetable Garden: The series provides learners with the skills needed to plan, plant, and harvest a variety of vegetables in their garden.
8. Growing Organic Food Sustainably Online Course – Alison
The “Growing Organic Food Sustainably” online course is offered by Alison. This course teaches you how to grow food in a way that’s good for the earth.
You’ll learn about soil health, composting, and crop rotation. You’ll also understand how to deal with pests safely. The course uses videos, readings, and quizzes to teach you. You can learn at your own pace.
Benefits for Sustainable Farming Fans
If you care about farming in a way that’s good for the earth, this course is for you. You’ll learn how to grow food without hurting the planet. Plus, you’ll get tips on how to deal with common farming problems.
In short, this course gives you the tools to farm in a way that’s good for the earth.
9. Happy Houseplants: Caring For Your Plants by The Sill
“The Sill Happy Houseplants: Caring For Your Plants” is a full guide for plant lovers. This online course helps you learn all about houseplant care. It teaches you how to keep your indoor plants healthy and happy.
The course covers a wide range of topics. You’ll learn about different types of houseplants and their needs. You’ll find out about sunlight, water, temperature, and humidity needs. You’ll also learn about the right pots and containers for your plants.
The course goes into detail on important things like good quality potting soil and how to repot plants. You’ll also learn how to spot common plant diseases and pests, and how to handle them.
One great part of this course is that it teaches you to read your plants. You’ll learn to see the signs when they are happy, stressed, or need care. By the end of the course, you’ll understand what your plants are telling you through their leaves, stems, and growth.
How it Helps in Nurturing Houseplants
“The Sill Happy Houseplants: Caring For Your Plants” course takes you from being a new plant owner to a confident plant parent. It gives you the skills needed to take great care of your houseplants.
The course helps you see that each plant is unique and needs different care. By learning these differences, you can create the best environment for your plants to thrive.
The course also shows the many benefits of having houseplants. These include better air quality, more humidity, less pollution, and a sense of well-being.
10. The RHS School of Horticulture – Best for Professional Development
The RHS School of Horticulture offers a range of qualifications and work-based training courses for both professional horticulturists and keen gardeners. The course is designed to be completed part-time over one year, with three levels of qualification to choose from. Modules include principles from garden landscaping to plant biology.
RHS Qualifications are designed to provide learners with up-to-date horticultural information and practical skills. Their level 2 and level 3 online courses have been developed by experienced professionals. Study topics covered in the courses include an introduction to horticulture, plant classification, plant structure and function, identification and nomenclature, and the biology of plants.
Why It’s Best for Those Pursuing a Career in Horticulture
The RHS School of Horticulture course is internationally recognized, making it a valuable asset for those looking to launch or advance their career in horticulture. The course provides an in-depth understanding of plant growth and development, equipping learners with the essential knowledge required by the horticultural industries.
Furthermore, the courses offer both theoretical and practical learning experiences. This combination ensures that students not only understand the science behind horticulture but also gain hands-on experience, which is crucial in this field. The blend of academic and practical learning makes it an excellent choice for career advancement in horticulture.
11. Distance Learning Gardening Courses – The English Gardening School
The English Gardening School offers a suite of distance learning gardening courses, providing comprehensive and flexible options for horticultural enthusiasts and professionals alike.
One of the available courses is the “Garden Design” course. This program equips students with the necessary knowledge and skills to design beautiful and functional gardens. It’s overseen by leading garden designers and horticulturists who have been trained at The English Gardening School.
Another course available for distance learning is “Caring for Your Garden.” This practical course covers all the essential tasks required to maintain and restore an existing garden. It includes lessons on seasonal tasks, tool usage, plant care, and more. The tutors for this course are trained by many of today’s leading garden designers and horticulturists.
These online courses offer a unique opportunity for English-speaking students anywhere to study with The English Gardening School, renowned for its diploma gardening courses and short gardening courses.
Unique Features of these Courses
One of the unique features of the English Gardening School’s distance learning courses is the flexibility they offer. Students can start their course at any time and complete it at their own pace, making it ideal for those juggling other commitments.
Another unique feature is the level of support provided by the school. Despite the distance learning format, students receive individual feedback on their work and have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their progress with their tutors.
Lastly, these courses are designed to be practical and applicable. The assignments often involve hands-on tasks in the student’s garden, allowing them to apply what they’ve learned immediately.
12. Learning with Experts Courses – Best for Variety
Learning with Experts, as the name suggests, is a dedicated platform for gardening enthusiasts offering a variety of online gardening courses. The courses on offer range from beginner to advanced levels, covering a broad spectrum of gardening topics from basic horticulture to specialized topics like garden design, vegetable gardening, and plant photography.
Each course is designed and conducted by world-class gardening experts, ensuring high-quality content and guidance for students. The courses typically last for 4 weeks, with new video lessons released weekly. Students can access the course material anytime they want and learn at their own pace.
Catering to Different Interests
What sets My Garden School apart is its wide range of courses that cater to different interests. For example, if you’re interested in growing your food, there are courses like “Vegetable Gardening” or “Fruit Gardening.” If you’re more into aesthetics, you can opt for courses like “Garden Design” or “Flower Photography.” There’s also a “Mastering Roses” course for those who love roses.
In addition, My Garden School recognizes that not every gardener has the same amount of space to work with. Therefore, it offers courses tailored to different environments, such as “Urban Gardening” for those with limited space.
13. Oregon State University’s Free Online Permaculture Course – Best for Sustainability
Oregon State University (OSU) offers a comprehensive online permaculture course that is readily accessible and free of charge. The introductory resource is on-demand and provides a broad overview of permaculture design systems. Participants can further their knowledge by earning a Permaculture Design Certificate in just 10 weeks through OSU’s unique online program.
The curriculum also includes an introductory course offering a broad survey of the permaculture design system, led by experts in the field. For those interested in more specialized areas, OSU offers a course on “Permaculture Food Forests” that teaches participants how to design a food forest using permaculture principles and ecology. There’s also a five-week online workshop focusing on climate-change resilient permaculture design.
In addition to these resources, OSU provides a free downloadable book titled “Intro to Permaculture”. This valuable resource serves as a great starting point for anyone interested in permaculture.
Best for Sustainability
OSU’s online permaculture course is an excellent choice for those interested in sustainable gardening due to its focus on eco-friendly practices and sustainable landscapes. The course enables students worldwide to learn about and design sustainable landscapes, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to create ecological gardens that are both productive and environmentally friendly.
The course curriculum emphasizes the role of permaculture in achieving sustainability, covering topics such as composting, water conservation, and the use of native plants. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners looking to minimize their environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.
14. The Science of Gardening – The Great Courses
“The Science of Gardening” is an online course offered by The Great Courses that aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles behind effective gardening practices. This course is designed to debunk common gardening myths and replace them with science-based information to help you develop a sustainable garden.
The course is taught by Linda Chalker-Scott, a renowned horticulturist known for her work in applied plant physiology, biology, and soil sciences. She guides learners through the fundamental principles of botany and soil science as they relate to successful gardening.
Throughout the course, students will learn about the different types of plants, their growth habits, and their nutritional needs. They will also gain insights into soil management strategies for both ornamental and edible plants.
Combining Scientific Knowledge with Practical Gardening Skills
“The Science of Gardening” stands out for its blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The course leverages scientific knowledge to inform gardening practices, helping students understand why certain techniques work and how to apply them effectively.
For instance, the course covers topics such as plant physiology and biology, which provide valuable insights into how plants grow and respond to their environment. These insights can then be applied to practical gardening tasks, such as choosing the right plants for a specific location or improving soil health.
Moreover, the course also addresses common misconceptions and myths about gardening, replacing them with science-backed information. This empowers students to make informed decisions about their gardening practices and achieve better results.
All three courses – Ron Finley Teaches Gardening, Master Gardener Short Course Series from Oregon State University, and The Science of Gardening from The Great Courses – offer unique benefits to gardening enthusiasts.
My Garden School stands out for its wide variety of courses catering to different interests, making it the best choice for those seeking a comprehensive range of topics.
On the other hand, OSU’s Free Online Permaculture Course offers an excellent resource for those interested in sustainable gardening practices. Its focus on eco-friendly practices and sustainable landscapes makes it a top pick for gardeners keen on minimizing their environmental footprint.
Coursera’s The Science of Gardening offers a unique blend of scientific knowledge and practical gardening skills. This course is ideal for those who wish to understand the science behind effective gardening practices and apply this knowledge to achieve better results in their gardens.
Ultimately, the best course will depend on your specific interests and goals as a gardener. Whether you’re looking to broaden your knowledge, cultivate a more sustainable garden, or delve into the science behind successful gardening, each of these courses offers valuable insights and learning opportunities.
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How We Chose the Best Online Gardening Courses
When selecting the best online gardening classes, we considered several key factors to ensure that our recommendations would meet a variety of needs and preferences.
- Course Content: We looked at the syllabus and learning outcomes of each course. The best courses provide comprehensive, well-structured content that covers both foundational knowledge and practical skills.
- Instructor Expertise: The qualifications and experience of the instructors were another crucial factor. Courses led by experts in the field can offer valuable insights and reliable information.
- Format and Flexibility: We favored courses that offer flexible learning options, such as self-paced learning and on-demand video lectures, to accommodate different schedules and learning preferences.
- Student Reviews and Ratings: We also considered feedback from past students. High ratings and positive reviews indicate that a course is effective and well-received.
- Value for Money: While some of the best courses come with a cost, we ensured to include free options as well. For paid courses, we considered whether the price was reasonable given the depth and quality of the content.
- Special Features: Unique features, such as hands-on projects, interactive quizzes, and access to online communities for support and discussion, were also a plus.
The Advantages of Taking Online Gardening Classes
Taking one of the best online gardening classes comes with several advantages:
- Flexibility and Convenience: Online gardening classes can be taken whenever it suits the student’s schedule, making them a convenient option for those with busy lifestyles.
- Wide Range of Topics: From creating gardens for bees and butterflies to mastering the essentials of gardening, online courses cover a vast array of topics. This allows students to tailor their learning to their specific interests and goals (TCPalm).
- Health Benefits: Gardening activities such as digging, lifting, raking, and mowing can provide physical health benefits, including muscle building and aerobic exercise (Learning with Experts).
- Ongoing Updates: Some online courses, like the Abundance Garden Course, offer continuous updates, ensuring that the content remains current with discoveries and advancements (The Living Farm).
- Affordability: Many online gardening courses, like OSU’s Master Gardener short course series, are affordable, making quality gardening education accessible to more people (OSU Workspace).
- Enhanced Learning: Online gardening classes can supplement instruction in various disciplines, offering an enhanced learning experience (UC Davis).
The Disadvantages of Taking Online Gardening Classes
Taking online gardening classes can be a convenient and flexible way to learn, but it’s important to consider potential disadvantages as well:
- Internet Dependency: As stated by Talent Garden, one of the major disadvantages of e-learning is that it relies heavily on a good internet connection. If your internet is slow or unreliable, you may struggle to access course materials and participate in real-time discussions.
- Discipline Challenges: Online courses require students to take more responsibility for their learning. Without the structure of traditional classes, some students may struggle to stay motivated and keep up with the coursework (Montgomery College).
- Lack of Hands-On Experience: While online gardening classes often include videos and photos to demonstrate techniques, they can’t provide the same hands-on experience that a physical class can. This might make it harder to acquire practical skills (BIN95).
- Social Isolation: Learning online can sometimes feel isolating, as it lacks the social interaction that comes with a traditional classroom setting. Although some courses offer online forums or chat rooms, these may not fully replicate the experience of learning in a group.
- Limited Course Material: Some students might find that online gardening classes don’t cover all the topics they’re interested in. For example, a course might focus on vegetable gardening but not touch on flower gardening.
- Technical Difficulties: Depending on the platform used, some students might encounter technical issues that could hinder their learning experience.
- Procrastination: Without a fixed class schedule, it’s easy to postpone lessons, leading to a backlog of content to catch up on, which can be overwhelming.
1. What are the key things I should look for when choosing an online gardening course?
When selecting an online gardening course, you’ll want to consider the instructor’s credentials, such as academic positions, professional gardening experience, or past teaching history that qualify them to effectively educate students.
Look for courses that offer certificates of completion, grades, or testing to document your progress. Interactive elements like hands-on assignments, garden planning exercises, instructor feedback, peer-to-peer forums, and video demonstrations are extremely valuable for retaining information.
Be sure to read course descriptions and outlines in full to determine if the curriculum matches your goals.
2. How much time per week should I expect to commit when taking an online gardening course?
Time commitments vary significantly depending on the thoroughness of a course:
- Basic introductions: 1-3 hours per week
- Beginner courses: 3-5 hours per week
- Advanced university-level classes: 6-10 hours per week
- In-depth certification programs: 8-15+ hours per week
The most robust courses essentially mimic in-person lab requirements through substantive reading, lectures, frequent assignments, and active forum discussions. Be realistic about the effort you can dedicate when enrolling.
3. Are there any supplies I need on hand before starting an online gardening course?
While most lessons can be absorbed digitally, having basic gardening supplies allows you to immediately apply information through hands-on assignments:
- Gardening tools: trowel, shovel, rake, hoe
- Seeds or starter plants
- Gardening beds, containers, raised beds, etc.
- Garden hose, watering can
- Notebook, gardening journal
- Camera/phone to document plant progress
Some courses also recommend soil tests, fertilizers, compost bins, insect traps, and other items to facilitate lessons.
4. How suitable are online gardening courses for total beginners?
Many online gardening courses cater specifically to beginners by covering core topics like soil preparation, seed starting, planting schedules, garden layouts, basic plant care, troubleshooting common issues, and harvesting produce.
Beginner-level courses proceed at a more gradual pace, with extra supplements like plant dictionaries, zone-specific tips, and season-by-season walkthroughs to provide extensive support. Some more advanced topics like greenhouse management or commercial growing require prior hands-on experience.
5. What kind of gardening can I learn through online courses?
While general vegetable gardening is most common, specialty gardening topics covered through online courses include:
- Greenhouse/indoor gardening
- Organic gardening techniques
- Gardening for pollinators
- Medicinal herb gardens
- Mushroom cultivation
- Fruit orchards/berry patches
- Farming sustainably
- Gardening with hydroponics/aquaponics
- Preserving homegrown produce
- Floral design, wreath making, etc
6. Should I pay for premium gardening courses or stick to free options?
Free gardening content on YouTube and gardening websites provide a decent introduction but generally lacks the depth or credentials of premium courses. Paid courses invest far more in research, curriculum design, instructor qualifications, and technical support.
Given the hands-on nature required to master gardening, paid courses typically yield better educational outcomes through tailored feedback and direct access to experts. Some even offer alumni resources like lifetime community forums.
7. Can I interact with instructors when taking online gardening classes?
Many online gardening courses intentionally build student-instructor interaction through weekly virtual office hours, detailed feedback on assignments, personalized trackers to follow along with your garden’s progress, Q&A forums that instructors moderate, opportunities to submit photos for troubleshooting advice, graded testing to identify weak points, and direct messaging systems to facilitate discussions.
These interactive tools reinforce retention and allow the instructor to adapt lessons based on common issues students face.
8. How do I pick courses that match my climate and growing zone?
Quality gardening education requires localization – from timing guidelines coordinated with first frost dates to plant variety recommendations suited for specific zones.
Search for courses taught by regional gardening experts and farms located in adjacent growing zones. Supplement with zone-specific extensions from university gardening programs.
When reviewing course outlines, confirm timing recommendations match your seasonal changes. Additionally, seek out courses that teach general principles you can adapt to local conditions over those rigidly catered towards other climates.
9. What kind of technology do I need for online gardening courses?
Nearly all courses will require:
- Broadband internet access
- An internet-connected device like a computer, smartphone or tablet
- Ability to stream instructional videos
- File downloads/uploads for course literature
- Email account for enrolling & communications
- Built-in or external digital camera for sharing garden images
Media is often mobile-friendly. But computer access helps engage with interactive elements like gardening simulator programs, spreadsheet templates for record-keeping, external links for further reading, etc.
10. Will I receive certificates or qualifications from completing online gardening classes?
Select premier gardening programs offer respected certifications, such as Permaculture Design Certificates, qualifications to become certified Master Gardeners, continuing education credits for professionals, Certified Organic Land Care Professionals (COLCPs), and Certified Professional Horticulturists (CPHs) recognized by major botanical gardens and environmental organizations.
Be sure to validate if certain credentials require additional in-person instruction, on-site evaluations, or exams. When shopping among less formal options, assess credibility by reviewing posted graduate testimonials.
- Garden, T. (2023, December 18). Online learning: the advantages and disadvantages of E-Learning. https://blog.talentgarden.com/en/blog/business-innovation/online-learning-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-e-learning
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Courses | Montgomery College, Maryland. (n.d.). https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/academics/online-learning/distance/advantages-and-disadvantages-online-courses.html
- Business Industrial Network. (2023, September 13). The disadvantages of online classes. https://bin95.com/articles/maintenance-management/disadvantages-of-online-classes.htm
- Bailey, C. C. (2020, June 3). Gardening in Florida: Education is the key to gardening correctly. Treasure Coast. https://www.tcpalm.com/story/life/columnists/carol-cloud-bailey/2020/06/03/florida-gardening-take-advantage-these-online-courses/5314220002/
- Garden enhanced learning. (2020, December 5). Cns. https://cns.ucdavis.edu/resources/garden-enanced-learning
- Stearns, S. (2022, June 7). New Online Courses: Fundamentals of Home Gardening. Master Gardener Program. https://mastergardener.uconn.edu/2022/02/25/new-online-courses-fundamentals-of-home-gardening/