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Learn The Real Dirt on Gardening

Learn The Real Dirt on Gardening

Maybe you’ve never planted a petunia or pruned a shrub, or as an experienced gardener you want to sharpen your skills, if so take a look at the online courses offered by the University of Guelph Arboretum. 

  Some courses are one-off workshops, but others are continuing series. Garden Fundamentals might be a good place to start for the new gardener.

  In the seven week course, topics cover- understanding soil, choosing perennials, adding spring and summer bulbs, and the dreaded weeds, pests and diseases.

  When I was a novice gardener I took similar courses at the Royal Botanical Gardens and still have the notes and the knowledge learned long ago.

A Tomato Tune up

  The online Zoom series also includes My First Vegetable Garden. That aspect of gardening took off like wildfire during the start of the pandemic last year, and is still wildly popular. Seed companies are already reporting high demand for vegetable seeds.

  Vegetable gardening is a subject where it pays to know what your are doing. Nothing is sadder than stunted tomatoes, or carrots that look like mutants.

  In the four week series topics covered include growing in raised beds and containers, soil preparation, watering and fertilizing, and minimizing weeds.

It takes a bit of skill to grow a tasty tomato
Kathy Renwald photo

  You must register online for these courses, and fees start at $10 and up. A one-off Ask the Gardener session March 31 is free. If you are registered, recordings of the courses will be available online for a limited amount of time if you happen to miss one of the scheduled classes.

Think Twice Cut Once

  Years ago I took a pruning course at the University of Guelph Aboretum, and it was one of the most useful courses I’ve taken. But at any stage of your gardening trajectory, a refresh on pruning technique is valuable. This course may be held in person if Covid restrictions change. Skillful pruning helps woody plants fit into your landscape design.

Sharpen the tools and get pruning
Kathy Renwald photo

  Much gardening skill is learned by doing, but a sound understanding of the basics makes gardening so much more pleasurable. Over the years I’ve been amazed at how many people blunder through gardening, never read a plant tag, don’t know an annual from a perennial or that orange trees don’t grow in Ontario.

   The courses at Guelph should be on your calendar!

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