By Vanessa Richins
If I could afford it, I would just go to school for the rest of my life.
Well…I’m not so keen on tests and grades, but I enjoy learning new facts and exploring.
Did you know there are free classes you can take online that can help you become a better gardener?
Many universities are now allowing the general public access to some of their courses for free via the Internet. Here are some examples:
UMass Boston offers these general biology classes at a college level. It’s a good way to better understand how the biological world around us functions.
Tufts will help you learn about resource conservation and aspects of plant care such as nutrients, breeding, pests and production. There are outlines of the lectures, along with suggested readings, exams and quizzes. Image galleries are included for some crop pests.
USU has put up some videos you can watch to learn about chemicals to use on your plants, along with diagnosing plant diseases.
USU also offers videos about vegetable gardening and caring for your lawn. My Master Gardener course was taught by Larry Sagers, one of the instructors for this course.
Although this class from USU is designed more for those interested in farming, you could have fun learning how farmers irrigate and perhaps even find a few tips for your own yard.
You may be thinking “Wait a minute, why is she suggesting I learn Latin when we’re supposed to be learning about gardening?”
Besides the fact that I am in love with languages, many of the scientific names of plants are based on Latin. Since it’s a dead language (meaning no culture actively speaks it), it doesn’t change. When you learn what the words mean, it can help you see some of the characteristics about your plants. For example, grandiflora in a plant name means Big (grandi) Flower (flora).