Course Name: 

Organic Master Gardener, Gaia College
Organic Horticulture Specialist, Royal Roads University

Course Hours: 42    Credit Value: 3

Delivery Format: Online or Blended

Applicable Programs:

Diploma in Organic Land Care, Gaia College

Prerequisites: none

Co-requisites: none

Contribution to Program: Core

Approval Date:  January 2019


The science and practice of organic horticulture will be introduced, facilitating a profound shift in ecological awareness. The current research for understanding the connection between soil health, plant health, human health and environmental health will be fully explored. You will come to understand the concepts of landscape health management as opposed to pest management, building a holistic decision making framework for creating and maintaining vibrantly healthy gardens and landscapes, including turf.
For environmentalists, naturalists, conservationists, home gardeners, farmers, and landscape professionals; this course also qualifies for the educational requirement with Society of Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL) to become an Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner. This course partially satisfies the Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care.
Earn generous continuing education credits for landscape professionals to maintain industry certifications: CNLA, NALP, ISA, BCSLA, MGOI, IPM, NOFA, SOUL.


Course Learning Requirements

Knowledge and Skills

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

1. Define what organic means within the context of a new decision making framework for urban horticultural practices.

1.1.        Recognize the intelligence and interconnectedness of all living organisms in their environment.

1.2 Recognize the ecological role of plants.

1.3. Define valid organic standards.

1.4. Develop respect for the complexity of designing and constructing healthy functioning ecosystems in our everyday landscapes.

2. Using the science of botany, describe basic plant anatomy, development and physiology, plant processes and horticultural applications.

2.1.Comprehend the significance of how plants eat, breathe and eliminate

2.2.Comprehend the significance of how plants relate to their environment

2.3.Examine systems of plant classification

2.4.Recognize the complexities of soil biology

2.5.Define Soil-Food-Web

2.6. Examine soil qualities, nutrient content and determine needs.

3. Explore the soil ecosystem by examining the pros and cons of various soil management practices.

3.1. Define soil management and the relationships responsible for plant health including fertilizers.

3.2. Support biological processes by recognizing why and how to increase soil biodiversity.
3.3. List methods for feeding soil microorganisms

that support necessary biological processes.

4. Recognize the difference between a “symptoms management” approach compared with creating and managing ecosystems that attract and retain water.

4.1. Define effective irrigation methods.

4.2. Analyze water wise garden styles

4.3. Define principles and practices of permaculture

4.4. Recognize a water wise garden design.

4.5. Observe organic garden bed installation methods

4.6. Plant plants properly.

4.7. Recognize turf lawn needs and care.

5. Recognize the differences between "Pest and Disease Management" and "Health Management”

5.1. Define the science of arboriculture and how it relates to pruning

5.2. Define organic landscape health management principles.

Learning Resources

All materials available online. Optional Textbook: Working With Nature – Shifting Paradigms. Heide Hermary. Gaia College Inc.

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

assigned readings
online video presentations
discussion questions
video demonstrations
peer feedback
individual projects
summarizing course activities

Learning Activities and Assessment - Samples of learning activities include:

practical assignment work
open book tests with feedback
written assignments
discussion forums

Evaluation/Earning Credit

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