Sign up today for winter greenhouse online courses

Greenhouse growers can sign up for Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting (English or Spanish), Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers (English) and Floriculture Root Zone Management (English or Spanish) through Dec. 15, 2019.

College of Knowledge class listings
Photo by Heidi Lindberg, MSU Extension

Greenhouse growers that are new to the industry or are interested in brushing up on their knowledge can sign up for the winter sessions of three self-paced courses in Michigan State University Extension’s Online College of Knowledge greenhouse series: Greenhouse and Horticultural LightingBiological Control for Greenhouse Growers and Floriculture Root Zone Management. This award-winning series serves as an excellent resource for greenhouse growers new to the industry or those who want to learn more about other areas of greenhouse crop production or pest management.

These non-credit courses in the series are pre-recorded and registrants have three months to complete the courses: Dec. 1, 2019, to Feb. 29, 2020. Students in the course will take a pre-test and a final exam to gauge their learning on the topics. Registrants also can complete the optional self-assessment quizzes to engage with the material throughout the course. Each course is $129.

There are three scholarships for each of the five courses for those interested but do not currently have the financial means to take it. The cost of the course will be reduced to $39.99 for scholarship winners. Interested greenhouse growers should see the registration websites below for more details. Registration for all courses ends Dec. 15, 2019.

Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting

The Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting Course is intended for greenhouse and ornamental plant growers and others interested in learning about the fundamental concepts about how plants respond to light quality, quantity and duration. It provides introductory to moderately-challenging content based on experiments performed at MSU and Purdue University. The units in the course cover photoperiod, photoperiodic lighting, light quality, quantity and duration, and factors that should be considered when replacing or installing new lamps.

To date, a total of 251 people have taken this course from 27 countries, including 36 U.S. states and 17 counties of Michigan. These participants represented 42.2 million square feet of greenhouse production. Three-quarters of survey respondents are going to make a crop production change as a result of the course. The topics that were reportedly most helpful were the sections on "high-intensity lighting" and "how to estimate daily light integral in your greenhouse." Of those that responded to the survey, 98% said they would recommend the course to another individual!

New for winter 2019-2020: Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting is now available in Spanish. Register now for “Iluminación para Hortícola y Invernaderos.”

Register for Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting. Read more about this course in the MSU Extension article, "Registration for online greenhouse and horticultural lighting course now open."

Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers

MSU Extension partnered with Raymond Cloyd from Kansas State University Extension to offer an online course on biological control pest management. It is intended for greenhouse growers and others interested in learning about the challenges and opportunities associated with a biological control pest management program. The content of the course covers introductory materials to more advanced concepts such as utilizing banker plants.

A total of 297 people have taken the Biological Control of Greenhouse Growers course from 15 countries, including 38 U.S. states and 15 counties of Michigan. These participants represented at least 117.3 million square feet of greenhouse production area throughout the U.S. and the world. To date, course participants have made changes to their insect management programs to at least 119 million square feet of production space. As a result of the course, 60% incorporated new natural enemies into their biological control program and 80% reported increased crop quality.

Register for Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers in English or Spanish. Read more about this course in the MSU Extension article, "Register now for biological control for greenhouse growers online course.”

Floriculture Root Zone Management

The Floriculture Root Zone Management course is for beginning-level floriculture growers. It covers the fundamental concepts about irrigation water, media and their effects on plant nutrition. The course covers water sources, water quality, water treatment, irrigation methodology and substrate components. The final unit of the course covers the essential elements for plant nutrition, how to select a fertilizer and how to monitor nutrition of greenhouse crops.

Approximately 113 people have taken the Root Zone Management course from eight countries and 30 U.S. states. These participants represent 18.8 million square feet of greenhouse production area throughout the U.S. and the world. Three-quarters of the participants planned on making changes to their management practices (n=79). The areas of the course participants reported were the most helpful to them were the sections on "physical and chemical properties of media/substrate" and "how to choose a fertilizer." Of all the course participants, 99% reported they made significant progress on the topics discussed and 97% would recommend the course to another individual (n=65).

Register for Floriculture Root Zone Management in English or Spanish. Read more about this course in the MSU Extension article, "Registration for online root zone management course now open.”

Learn more about the courses at the College of Knowledge Online Series website:


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