Oh how my life has changed since getting married. I’ve turned to gardening and watching Gardening Australia and now I’m giving you a review of a gardening course I’ve been doing. I am that boring nowadays.
Yes, over the summer break I have been plugging away at an online gardening course offered through the University of Tasmania (UTAS). I found going to a gardening store and nursery a little bit intimidating and overwhelming (and even caused a heated discussion with the husband one day last year). Although I grew up on a 100-acre hobby farm in Central Queensland I didn’t feel I was taught much about gardening. What little time my parents did have outside of fulltime work was devoted to looking after cattle, water tanks, pumps, cutting hay and other maintenance work around the place. The perennial challenge for my parents was water—we had two 22,000 litre tanks for a family of five. (I have memories of my parents knocking on the shower wall to tell me it was time to get out!) We did not have access to town water and the only lifeline we had was for dad to roll out one kilometre of pipes to our next door neighbour’s to access their town water in the event we ran out. Rain water couldn’t be used on the garden but mum and dad did set up a grey water system which recycled the water from the shower to water the garden.
My interest in gardening has come about from my desire to grow vegetables so I can cook with them. The silverbeet has done amazing over summer. I haven’t yet seen any of that spinach leaves I planted and only harvested a few lettuce leaves. Each day I’m home I look longingly out at that lemon tree waiting for the fruit to ripen. Last year I saw a Facebook advertisement for a Science of Gardening course which said it was free and it was time to dig in!
The details. The 12-week program began in December and finished in early March and covered 6 modules: How do identify plants, how do plants grow, what do plants need from the soil, how do plants know when to grow, shaping the way plants grow, and how do we multiply plants. You were given 2 weeks to complete each module and there was a quiz at the end of each module. The assessments included a soil texture analysis , nutrient deficiency test and an experiment design.
The course was a mixture of online videos produced by UTAS, written information and segments from Gardening Australia. Tino, Jane, Millie, Costa and Josh feel like old friends now. The information was at times scientific but even for a gal who didn’t do biology, chemistry or any sciences at highschool I was able to keep up.
And how about those assignments? Well I did very well on the soil texture analysis and soil PH test but I just passed the nutrient deficiency test because I didn’t really answer the question (in the end I discovered the problem on my lemon tree was not a nutrient deficiency but a bug problem and I left it too late to start over).
If you’re looking to upskill on gardening or if you’re a nerd like me and like doing courses, I’d recommend trying Science of Gardening. The next course starts in June and there is a scholarship available if you want to enrol. (In fact you can study upto 4 subjects through the Diploma of Sustainable Living for free through UTAS’s Diploma of Sustainable Living – check out the information on scholarships)
What’s next for me? Well naturally I’ll be doing Science of Gardening 2 later this year.