Course Name: 

Growing Food 1- Fundamentals

Course Hours: 42     Credit Value: 3

Delivery Format: Online

Applicable Programs:

Diploma in Organic Land Care

Prerequisites: none

Co-requisites: none

Contribution to Program: Elective

Approval Date:   January 2019


If you are concerned about how and where your food comes from or simply want to get the best nutrition possible, growing your own abundance of fruits and vegetables is the way to go.  In this comprehensive new course, you will learn essential applied permaculture and organic gardening techniques to:

This online course engages students with practical and hands-on projects, and is guided by experienced professional organic gardeners.

No prior education or gardening experience required. This course partially satisfies the requirements for the Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care. Earn generous continuing education credits for landscape professionals to maintain industry certifications (CNLA, NALP, MGOI, NOFA, SOUL).


Course Learning Requirements

Knowledge and Skills

When you have earned credit for this course you will have demonstrated an ability to: 

1.Analyze and optimize the growing conditions in your garden, no matter the size, including container gardens

1.1. Conduct a sun/shade audit, and explain the importance.

1.2.List criteria for choosing appropriate plant material.

1.3.Create a garden plan as a sketch.
1.4.Recognize good holistic design.
1.5.Use crop rotations, companion planting, cover cropping for year round harvests.

1.6.Recognize the need for a good record keeping system.
1.7.Develop new gardens using 3 different methods.

2.Creatively collect, use and preserve water for optimal garden health

2.1.Describe the pros and cons of different irrigation techniques.

2.2.Describe different methods for capturing and conserving water for the garden.

2.3.Match irrigation to specific plant water needs (zones).

3.Use holistic solutions for plant health problems (“pests” and “diseases”)

3.1.Define organic, biodynamic, and permaculture gardening.

3.2.Choose appropriate mulching and soil building materials.
3.3.Build/maintain an effective compost.
3.4.Choose the right tools for the right job.
3.5.Care for and maintain tools.

3.6.Explain use of different organic fertilizers, including EM and compost tea.

3.7.Relate plant problems to nutrient deficiencies or inappropriate growing conditions.
3.8.Recognize the importance of cover crops and how to choose the appropriate crops for various situations.

4.Select, plant, maintain and harvest a large variety of food plants for year-round enjoyment

4.1.Explain common terminology used in seed catalogues.
4.2.Choose and plant seeds for various uses, including sprouts.

4.3.Select appropriate woody perennial food plants for their needs, available space and growing conditions.
4.4.Select suitable pollinizers for trees and shrubs.

4.5.List poisonous plants.

4.6.Manipulate space with different types of infrastructure.

4.7.Discuss options for cold frames and list pros and cons.
4.8.Explain proper planting of transplants and woody plants.

4.9.List potential hazards of newly planted seeds/seedlings and their solutions.

5.How to propagate plants; save your own seeds; and store your harvest.

5.1.Define food security and it’s influences.

5.2.Recognize 4 types of propagation: cuttings, divisions, grafting, and seed starting indoors.
5.3.List which seeds can come true to type and which don't.
5.4.Describe 2 techniques for harvesting and storing seeds.
5.5.Explain how to dry foods and prepare food for freezing.

Learning Resources

Required: The New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Frank Tozer. Green Man Publishing, Santa Cruz, 2013 – ISBN 978-0-9773489-9-2

Teaching/Learning Methods - During this course you are likely to experience:

Learning Activities and Assessment - Samples of learning activities include:

Evaluation/Earning Credit
A passing grade in this course requires a total of 100% for all tests and quizzes (multiple attempts are encouraged) and a minimum of 75% for the total written assignments and a minimum of 75% for the discussion participation.  A certificate of completion will be awarded when the minimum passing grade or higher has been achieved. Below passing grade constitutes a failing grade (F).