Course Code: gpf
In the first lesson, you'll meet other gardeners who've successfully made the transition to nurserymen. You may be surprised to discover that, within the small space of a backyard, you can produce significant income by growing plants. You'll also learn what permits and licenses you may need as you get started.
In this lesson, you'll take a close look at climate zone maps to help you figure out what plants will grow best in your region. Then you'll learn some easy ways to prepare your growing grounds. Finally, the lesson will show you ways to create inexpensive microclimates that will help you start your plants and expand the varieties you can grow.
In this lesson, you'll learn what production supplies you'll need and how to find wholesale sources for them. The lesson will discuss cover containers, soil, fertilizer, and labels and then talk about why it's important to keep track of your expenses for tax purposes.
Starting new plants is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences for gardeners and nurseryman alike. The process of starting new plants is called propagation. In this lesson, you'll focus on the three major methods used in nursery production: propagation by seed, cuttings, and division.
This lesson will teach you one of the most valuable lessons in this business: How to reduce the waiting time involved in growing plant material. You'll learn what types of starter plants are available and how to find wholesale sources. You'll also be given some valuable guidelines to help you decide what to grow. Afterwards, the lesson will talk about how to find additional sources of information and business networking opportunities through nurserymen associations and trade shows.
In this lesson, you'll focus on growing annual flowers and bulbs, paying special attention to market timing. You'll learn how to create high-value items such as color bowls and hanging baskets. The lesson will then discuss vegetable starter plants and herbs. Specializing in organic growing will help you tap into a lucrative area of the nursery trade, so the lesson will fill you in on all you need to know about organic growing and certification.
In this lesson, you'll focus on one of the hottest topics in gardening: The particular group of non-woody plants that nurseries call "perennials". You'll become familiar not only with the favorites, but with the wide variety of perennials available. The lesson will then go over some detailed information about specific perennials, including how to grow them and how to time them for market.
This lesson covers woody plants—such as shrubs and vines—that form the more permanent plantings in a landscape. You'll pay particular attention to roses because they're among the most beautiful and profitable shrubs. In addition, you'll learn how to grow small fruiting shrubs and vines for specialty markets.
Trees may be the largest members of the plant kingdom, but they're also among the easiest and most profitable to grow. In this lesson, you'll not only learn how to propagate landscape trees, but how to greatly shorten their growing time by buying bare-root seedlings and finished bare-roots. The lesson will conclude with a discussion on fruiting and flowering trees.
Whether you're growing plants for fun or profit, you'll want to produce quality plant material. This lesson will provide guidelines for quality standards. You'll learn about pruning, staking, and training plants into special shapes and forms. It will also talk about methods you can use to ward off diseases and pests.
If you're like most gardeners, growing plants is the easy part—marketing is the real challenge! This lesson will begin with a discussion on wholesale marketing. You'll learn all you need to know to do business with discount chain stores, local retailers, and landscapers, and then explore consignment selling, contract growing, and business-to-business Internet options.
The final lesson covers retail marketing, or taking your product directly to the public. You'll learn how to advertise inexpensively and effectively so you're not just growing plants, you're growing your business! The lesson will explain what you'll need to know to sell your plants from your home or garage sales, certified farmers markets, and flea markets. It will also discuss selling your plants to government or public agencies.
Michael and Linda Harlan have been involved in the nursery industry since 1968. In 1985, they began a backyard nursery on a half-acre that grew into a successful 12-year business venture. The Harlans then shared their experience by publishing a self-help book entitled Growing profits: How to Start and Operate a Backyard Nursery. Michael has been teaching a course on this subject matter through the extension services of local community colleges for the past four years.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.
Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
A wonderful, informative course! I'll actually be able to use what I learned."
I want to thank the instructors for making this such an enjoyable course. Not only did I learn quite a bit, but the lessons were very well written, which isn't always the case. Now I need to go forward and put what I have learned into practice."
Thank you for providing this program. I enjoyed learning the material. I appreciate the resource material and the web site information. Thanks again."
Thank you--thank you--thank you! The course subject matter and your organization of the course material has provided me with an excellent resource guide to help me take my penchant/obsession/love of backyard gardening to the next level. I've poured through many gardening books, but none addressed the business perspective and related licensing/legal concerns. Most importantly, thanks for the encouragement."
This is the first "online class" that I have ever taken. I believe I have learned much from the course. The class truly helped me to see that going into this type of business on a small scale does not have to cost an arm and a leg. It is doable and can be profitable. I thank you for offering it and I will recommend it to others. I do hope you are considering a follow-up, if so, please let me know. Thank you."