Registration opens for Home Horticulture Certification Course

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KINGSTON, R.I. – Nov. 27, 2023 – Though autumn winds may be blowing outside, the University of Rhode Island’s Cooperative Extension is still thinking green with registration opening for its Home Horticulture Certificate course.

Kate Hardesty, program administrator for Cooperative Extension, says there will be something for everyone in the 14-week, virtual course that begins in late January. “Individuals interested in expanding their science-based horticultural knowledge for personal application in their gardens and yards, those interested in enhancing their knowledge as green-related industry professionals, and others seeking a career change, or an immersive educational experience are encouraged to register.”

Deadline to register is Friday, Dec. 1. An optional orientation class will be held on Monday, Jan.  22, and the first class will be Thursday, Jan. 25, and every Thursday following until April 25, on Zoom.

The program will include a variety of lectures and discussions led by Hardesty and other extension faculty and staff experts.

Participants will learn foundational concepts related to soil health and nutrition, basic plant botany, common insect pests and diseases, and will also be exposed to practical information to apply to lawn care, vegetable gardening and planting design for wildlife habitat. Concepts covered in class are brought together through a course project that teaches participants to use their senses to gather information about the landscape around them, create a plan and use that plan to inform land care decisions in the future. There are also optional in-person field sessions for an additional cost that participants are welcome to sign up for, covering topics like pruning and tree risk assessment.

The course project is intended to bring the concepts learned through lectures and discussions to a practical place, Hardesty said.  “How do you know what soil texture you have, and what does it mean for drainage on your property? Are there plants that prefer that soil type, and others that don’t? Where is the sun in the sky throughout the day, and how does that affect shade patterns that have an impact on plant health? Are there problem areas on the landscape that can be improved with the addition of plants? Which ones should be planted? All these questions are examples of things that are answered through the course project, which participants take with them after the course.”

The fee for the classroom portion of the Home Horticulture Certificate course is $525. Payment plans are available during the checkout process.

Hardesty established the program in 2019, and this will be the sixth offered. She sees the course as appealing to anyone with a serious interest in learning more about plants and landscaping. “All are welcome. I have taught beginning gardeners, expert gardeners, landscape business owners, arborists, landscape designers, teachers, college students and more. You can learn as much as your heart desires. It’s a supportive, enriching environment for plant lovers from all backgrounds!”

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This story was written by Hugh Markey.