Free Online Horticulture Courses
There are many open-access alternatives to expensive and time-consuming local horticulture courses. Online horticultural courses and classes are available for free online at a handful of organizations and universities, including those in agriculture, garden planning, landscaping and pest control. Current versions of Web browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are usually needed to access these materials. Students will also need a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader or Preview. Because these free landscaping classes and horticulture courses are offered for self-enrichment purposes, students do not receive university credit for completing them.
Horticulture Classes: Schools & Universities
- Hydroponics was designed as a companion to Commercial Hydroponics by John Mason and consists of two parts. Part one covers hydroponic cropping strategies, such as hanging gardens, tiered beds and trellis systems. In the second part of the class, students learn how to grow more productive crops and prevent plant loss. In addition to readings, the course includes four tests and an optional research project.
- Landscape Design was originally published in Your Backyard magazine and includes four lessons addressing the basic principles behind garden design, environmental studies, and landscape planning.
- Vegetables and Herbs supplements Growing and Using Vegetables and Herbs by John Mason. It consists of four lessons covering topics in site preparation and small-space gardening. Students also learn how to create a formal herb garden and an herb lawn as well as grow vegetables without chemicals. Optional assignments include reporting on a student-created vegetable garden or designing an edible ornamental garden. Four tests are also included.
Tufts University offers an extended course in agriculture that is taught over two semesters. Distance learners can partake in lectures, Q&A sessions, discussions, and small group projects which will be held weekly (or twice-weekly as needed).
- Agriculture Science and Policy I cover topics in soil conservation, air pollution, agroforestry, greenhouse gases and wetlands.
- Agriculture Science and Policy II examines crop breeding, plant nutrients and the relationship between pests and plants. Additional activities for each course include a research project comparing historical and regional farming techniques.
University of California
Online horticulture classes can be found at the University of California. Their Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program is designed to teach homeowners and agricultural professionals how to address pest-related issues with as little impact on the environment as possible. Students will need a Flash player to access video presentations.
- Maintenance Gardener Pesticide Applicator Exam Preparation includes six chapters covering topics in pesticide hazards and laws, pest diagnosis and equipment handling techniques. Students also learn how to respond to pesticide-related emergencies and protect the environment. A workbook containing sample test questions is included in the materials.
- Guide to Healthy Lawns contains instructions for identifying grass species, amending and irrigating soils, seeding lawns and applying fertilizer.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a range of free agriculture and horticulture courses in the form of videos, articles, and compiled resources. Learn about horticulture, the various species that can live in your garden, flood safety, composting, and much more using these horticulture home study resources.