Registration is now open for MSU Extension’s winter online Foundations of Gardening course

Foundations of Gardening is a 10-week online course packed full of information to prepare for the 2024 growing season.

A bee on a button bush flower.
Learn how to garden to support pollinators, the proper selection and care of woody ornamentals like the native button bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis L., and so much more! Photo by Sarah Rautio, MSU Extension.

Want to get a head start on learning how to garden next season from Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) horticulture experts? MSU Extension’s next Foundations of Gardening course runs Feb. 1 – April 11, 2024, on Thursday evenings from 6-8:30 p.m. The online format enables you to participate from home where the variety of learning materials, including weekly live speakers, will help you beat the winter blues.

Foundations of Gardening is a 10-week online course designed for the gardening enthusiast who wants to understand how to create beautiful, productive and sustainable gardens for personal use, a business or a community. It is also the first step needed to apply to become an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.

This course reveals the science behind growing your best garden ever. Learn how to create healthy soils and plants, manage diseases and pests, attract pollinators and so much more. Units include plant science, soils, propagation, entomology, plant diseases and pests, lawncare, growing flowers, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables and environmental gardening. Weekly units are comprised of readings, online activities, videos and a 2.5-hour live virtual lecture with MSU horticulture experts.

The cost of the course is $350. Visit Foundations of Gardening for more information on winter 2024 registration and our syllabus.

Here's what our 2023 students had to say about their Foundations of Gardening experience:

“I thought the course offerings were thorough and informative.”

“I have told many people about this course, and highly recommend it.”

“This was a great, great course and I'm sad that it is over.”

“I thought the course was very informative. I was in awe of the knowledge of the instructors and faculty at MSU. Their enthusiasm for the subject was great.”

“I appreciated the live sessions. I truly loved the course. I learned far, far more than I had expected to.”

“I learned so much during the classes. My friends have learned a lot also because every week I would say 'Did you know that...'." 

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Foundations of Gardening is also the pre-requisite course for those wanting to apply to become an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. Students need to successfully complete all unit learning materials and achieve an 80% or better score on all unit post-assessments and the final exam. Students who finish the course with a satisfactory score will earn a Certificate of Completion and are eligible to apply to the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program.

You may also wish to take the course without the desire to become an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. That is OK! This course will help you understand what goes into creating a healthier garden, what is best for the environment, and how to source reliable information. With numerous online resources that can be downloaded for future use, you will have resources available even after the course ends. Join the MSU Extension consumer horticulture team this winter and learn what MSU Extension has to offer by signing up for Foundations of Gardening.

For additional questions about this course, email us at

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