Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Gardening in Cold Climates
4.0 (33 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
282 students enrolled

Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Gardening in Cold Climates

You Can Grow Vegetables and Flowers in a Short Season
4.0 (33 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
282 students enrolled
Created by Maria Janowiak
Last updated 12/2018
English [Auto-generated]
Price: $29.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 6 articles
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Master the basics of growing flowers, vegetables, and other plants in cold climates where winter temperatures fall below freezing
  • Establish your first garden using step-by-step instructions
  • Select plants that are going to be successful in your garden space
  • Grow hardy plants that can tolerate cooler temperatures and short seasons
  • Move from a beginner gardener to more intermediate and advanced topics
  • All you need is a tiny bit of soil and an interest in growing plants!

Hello fellow gardeners! This course is designed to help beginning gardeners get started and successfully grow flowers, vegetables, and other plants. So whether you’ve just bought your first house, have decided to try out a new hobby, or are interested in growing plants for a profit, this course will cover the fundamentals that you need to grow healthy and vibrant plants.

The course is designed for people living in colder climates, but this doesn't mean that you have to live in the Arctic! When it comes to gardening, a cold climate includes any place where the winter temperatures are below freezing for at least a few months of the year. This includes much of the northern part of the North America, from the northern Rockies through the Midwest to the Northeast in the United States. Besides the United States and Canada, there are lots of places with cold climates in Europe, Asia, and even parts of the southern hemisphere. In this course, we'll focus on working with the growing season where you live. This will ensure that you master the basics, and provide you with a foundation for moving onto more advanced topics like season extension.

The gardening fundamentals covered in the course curriculum will cover everything you need to know to get started, from understanding your growing space to preparing the soil and planting your garden. Several sections contain worksheets that will help you to assess your garden needs and create plans that are most well-suited to your goals and lifestyle. Additional resources are also provided to explore certain topics in more detail and provide how-to demonstrations.

Who this course is for:
  • New and aspiring gardeners
  • Gardeners living in cold climates—that is, places that have a real winter where temperatures fall below freezing
  • Experienced gardeners may also benefit from reviewing foundational concepts, tools, and resources for improved garden success.
Course content
Expand all 26 lectures 01:42:26
+ Introduction
2 lectures 04:12

Hello and welcome! This course is designed to provide a valuable summary of information for successfully growing plants in colder climates. I’ve developed it with beginning gardeners in mind, but those with more experience may also find it useful for reviewing basic concepts.

In this this course, you will learn about the unique challenges and opportunities of gardening in a cold climate. For the purposes of this course, a cold climate is anywhere that has a real winter season with freezing temperatures. I’ll help you uncover your individual gardening style and develop a plan for your gardening season. Since this course is designed for beginner gardeners, we will focus on how to make the most of your growing season so that you can master the basics. 

Preview 02:56

Gardening provides us with so many benefits. Here are four reasons that everyone should consider having a garden.

Preview 01:16
+ Determining Your Gardening Style
4 lectures 07:16

In this section of the course, we’ll take some time to investigate why you want to garden and what you want to grow. There are so many possibilities when it comes to gardening that knowing more about what aspects of gardening you are most interested in will allow you to focus and be more successful in your efforts.

A worksheet is provided to help you find your personal gardening style as you go through this section. 

Introduction: Your Gardening Style

Your first garden doesn’t need to be anything fancy– you just need to get started. And for it to be fun and worthwhile, you need to focus on what’s going to be valuable to you. 

Preview 01:47

Learn the difference between annual plants (plants that live only a single year) versus perennials (plants that live for many years). 

What do you want to grow?

It’s important to be realistic that you match your garden aspirations with the time and energy you really have, as well as your level of experience. 

What are your priorities?
+ Gardening in a Cold Climate
4 lectures 10:11

Anywhere that has winter temperatures that fall below freezing can be considered to have a cold climate. This covers a large amount of the earth, including much of North American, Europe and Asia in the north, as well as some of the southernmost places in the world. A worksheet is provided to help you learn more about your local growing season as you go through this section.

Introduction: What is a cold climate?

Hardiness zones, which are sometimes also called growing zones, describe how cold and severe the winter is in a particular place. 

Hardiness Zone (Growing Zone)

The growing season, also called the frost-free or freeze-free season, is the time of year between the last frost in the spring and the first frost in the fall. 

Growing Season (Frost-Free Season)

There may be unique conditions that make your yard or garden– or even parts of your yard or garden– warmer or colder than average. 

Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to look up the plant hardiness zone for your garden (or another location in the US).
Find Your Plant Hardiness Zone
1 question
Find the length of the frost-free season (i.e. growing season) for your garden, or for a location in the United States.
Find Your Frost-Free Season
1 question
+ Selecting Your Garden Location
5 lectures 20:08

This lecture will cover the four things that every garden needs so that you can look for a garden location that works.

Four Things to Look for in a Garden Location

Not all locations are equally suitable when it comes to gardening. This lecture will go into greater detail about how to assess your site and identify the it's strengths and weaknesses before you get started. A worksheet is provided to help you assess your garden location after you complete this lecture.

Preview 09:19

You may need to decide whether you want to take use an area that already has gardening or landscaping, or if you should start in an altogether new location. 

Preview 01:12

Once you’ve assessed your options and picked out a garden space, it might be time to establish a new garden bed. This lecture will cover the pros and cons for four different options for getting rid of existing vegetation: digging, tiling, smothering, and poisoning.

Creating a New Garden Bed

Because raised beds or containers are not in the ground, they give you greater control over the growing conditions and your garden soils. Raised beds can be a great way to avoid challenging site conditions, like poor drainage or rocky soils. Containers provide opportunities for gardening in small spaces or can provide accents to larger gardens.  

Raised Beds and Containers
+ Working with Garden Soils
4 lectures 22:00

Much of what a plant needs – and especially the things that are in our control as gardeners– depend on having healthy soils. This lecture will introduce some aspects of soil science that are important to anyone who wants to grow plants successfully.

Basic Soil Science for Gardeners

A simple soil test can give you critical information about how suitable your soils are and what you can do to improve them. This lecture will describe how you can get your soil tested.

Get a Soil Test

It’s likely that there are some actions you can take to improve the soils so that your garden plants will flourish. This lecture will describe ways that you can improve your garden soils.

Improving Your Garden Soils

It’s important to get your soil tested, but sometimes it can be hard to make sense of the results. This lecture includes a few tips for how to interpret your soils test so that you can improve your soils.

Interpreting a Soil Test
+ Planting Your Garden
7 lectures 31:55

Gardening is all about raising plants, and so this lecture will cover a bit of plant science about what plants need to grow.

What Plants Need to Grow

So far you have assessed your garden location, prepared a garden site, and improved the soil. It's finally time to plant. But how do you know when you are supposed to plant everything for the best chance of success?

Knowing When to Plant
Where can I buy seeds?

Starting plants from seeds outdoors is pretty straightforward. This lecture will outline the steps you need to plant seeds directly into your garden.

Starting Plants from Seed: Outdoors

Containers are especially useful for starting cold-sensitive plants indoors to get a jump start on the growing season. Beginning plants indoors where it is warm will allow plants to grow faster so that they will yield flowers or fruit earlier– something that’s very important in a short garden season. Containers are also good for starting plants that may have a tough time germinating out of doors in coarse garden soils

Starting Plants from Seed: Containers

Just a few basic tools are needed to get started in gardening, and this lecture describes what you need.

Best Tools for Beginning Gardeners

Garlic is easy to grow and planted in the fall, making it a good plant for beginning gardeners to grow.

Fall Gardening: 6 Steps to Growing Amazing Garlic