Books, magazines and the Internet are great sources of information but they don’t always answer all the questions.
Gardeners seeking more information should sign up for a horticultural course through continuing education at Olds College.
Olds offers a number of continuing education courses, their horticulture courses range from basic to trade related. The duration of the course varies from one day to one week to 16 weeks for distance courses.
If identifying and dealing with pests is a problem, sign up for the one-day class Diagnostics for Insect Pests of the Yard and Garden.
This class will help people identify the pest and find a solution. People that enrol in the course will find that there are simple things to do to get rid of the pests. Chemicals will be discussed but they are not always the solution.
The Turf Management short course introduces students to many different ways of keeping the grass green. Expect to learn new techniques to solve old problems. The course is divided into three, one-week sessions with one session available per term. A certificate is given to all students that successfully complete all sessions.
This course is aimed at people that are employed in the turf grass industry. They prefer applicants with two years experience in the turf industry.
Arboriculturalists specialize in tree care; all types of tree care.
Olds offers a number of courses about trees. Learn to identify trees in any season or learn to assess the trees’ health which brings one to determine treatment. They also offers courses on assessing the worth of a tree. All these courses can lead to being certified by the International Society of Arboriculture but that goal is not necessary.
Olds also offers a one-day utility tree worker safety training for anyone that works closer to high-voltage lines. Before taking this course one must have worked in the field for over six months.
The Environmentally Sustainable Yard course has three levels. By the time Level 3 is completed participants will have firm grasp on environmental sustainability as it relates to yards and a personal planting and maintenance plan that can be implemented. Environmentally sustainable yards should be easy to maintain with out using excess water or chemicals.
Permaculture for cold temperate gardens will help people make the most of their land. How to take care of the land and have it produce as much food as possible is the main focus of the course. The information is important to those that wish to avoid chemicals and grow their own food.
Prairie Horticulture Certificate Home Study has been developed by Olds College, The University of Manitoba, The University of Saskatoon and Assiniboine Community College. At present time there are a few courses on line but most of them are still in paper format.
There are four different certificates streams available to choose from: Fruit and vegetable production, greenhouse crop production, landscaping and arboriculture, nursery crop production. While some courses are mandatory students can pick and choose from a number of courses. It takes eight or nine courses to complete a certificate but the courses are set up as individual courses.
People are encouraged to take courses that interest them with or without planning for a certificate.
Olds estimates that it will take nine to 12 hours a week to complete the courses which run for 16 weeks.
Winter makes it hard to garden outside but it is a great time to learn.
For more information go to www.oldscollege.ab.ca
Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist and educator living in Rocky Mountain House. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org