Home & Garden Garden The Best Online Gardening Classes Earn a green thumb with ease By Amber Nolan Amber Nolan College at Brockport, State University of New York Amber Nolan is a freelance writer for Treehugger who is passionate about sustainable living, nature, and outdoor adventure. Learn about our editorial process Fact checked by Elizabeth Brownfield Fact checked by Elizabeth Brownfield on April 24, 2021 University of Iowa Elizabeth Brownfield is a writer, editor, and researcher who specializes in food, travel, home, and lifestyle content. Learn about our fact checking process on April 24, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. d3sign / Getty Images Gardening is a relaxing outdoor hobby that can brighten up a backyard or patio, but it’s also another way to become more self-sustaining. Preparing meals with your own, home-grown fruits or vegetables is very rewarding, and getting the kids involved in the growing process is an excellent way to spend family time together. If you’re considering taking up gardening but aren’t sure where to begin, there’s a wealth of online courses available at your fingertips. Learn about starting an urban garden, growing organically, creating an herb garden, and more, with easy-to-follow video classes. We’ve sorted through the virtual lessons and selected the best online gardening classes. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Skillshare Best Organic Garden: Alison.com Best Herb Garden: Learning with the Experts Best for Kids: Outschool Best Butterfly Garden: Udemy.com Best for Urban Gardening: The Urban Farm Best Overall: Skillshare SkillShare Learn More Why We Chose It: Gardening classes at Skillshare are just the beginning. The site is a one-stop-shop for do-it-yourself projects that are loaded with ideas to recycle, upcycle, and reuse what you already own. If you need planters to get your garden going, they've got a class on how to make some. Interested in making herbal teas out of the herbs you’ve just grown? They offer that, too. It’s an excellent resource for learning to live more sustainably by reusing what you already have. What We Like - Designed for both urban and suburban gardens What We Don’t Like - There’s no set class time, so you must be a disciplined self-starter If you’re a newbie gardener, Skillshare’s Gardening 101: A Guide for Growing and Caring for Plants is an excellent place to get the ball rolling. The instructor, Geraldine Lavin, has taught gardening classes at Yale University and Bard College, plus conferences, food cooperatives, and many other locations. She also runs her own herbal company, Suntrap Botanical, and her general introductory class can be applied to almost any type of plant. The beginner class consists of 10 short video lessons spanning about 45 minutes and is designed both for urban dwellers in apartments as well as those with more outdoor space to grow. Topics include plant propagation, basic gardening concepts, planning, planting, maintenance, harvesting, and storage. You can also share photos of projects with classmates or join in online discussions with the instructor in the comments section. The course is included with Skillshare’s premium membership, which costs around $168 a year (after a trial membership). Once you’ve mastered the basics, Skillshare has a wide range of beginner classes geared toward specific types of plants like the Beginners Guide to Happy Houseplants and the Easy to Grow Vegetables class. Best Organic Garden: Alison.com Alison.com Learn More Why We Chose It: Alison.com believes in providing free education and offers a wide range of topics including courses on sustainability, solar technology, and other environmental studies. Learning how to grow organically is an important skill for any gardener to help them live a more sustainable lifestyle. What We Like - Class is free - Covers a wide range of topics What We Don’t Like - Pop-up advertisements can be distracting Those who are interested in making the switch to an organic garden but aren’t quite sure where to start should check out the free Introduction to Growing Organic Food Sustainably from Alison.com. The course lasts from one and a half to three hours and is focused primarily on growing organic vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, lettuce, beetroot, spinach, and celery. Classes are broken down into modules containing short videos (around five minutes each) on certain topics, which can be paused or replayed as much as needed. The first three modules focus on growing specific groups of vegetables, before shifting to maintenance of the garden. Crop rotation, testing and improving soil, and making compost are just a few of the topics covered. At the end of every Alison course is a final assessment. In order to earn a certificate of completion, students must score at least 80% on the test given. Digital certificates cost around $25 (which are optional, but the class is free). Best Herb Garden: Learning with the Experts Learning with the Experts Learn More Why We Chose It: We liked that Dr. Petheram is an organic grower who shares her knowledge about how to utilize herbs and keep pests away naturally, without the need for chemical sprays. What We Like - Class has longer 30-minute segments (rather than short video bites) - Courses are pre-recorded so you can watch anytime What We Don’t Like - One of the more expensive classes on the list Whether you’re a passionate cook who wants to grow your own culinary herbs or are interested in herbs for medicinal use, the Herb Garden course from Learning with the Experts will help enhance your gardening skills. You can opt for their Expert option of this course for $299 which includes personalized assignment feedback and a completion certificate from Dr. Petheram or the Peer option which doesn't have these extra perks for $99. The course begins with a history of herbs, followed by lessons on how they can help diversify the garden. Determine where the best location is to grow herbs, before diving into culinary herbs, medicinal uses, and multipurpose herbs. The instructor, Dr. Rachel Petheram, is a florist based in Lincolnshire, England, who also teaches at several established gardens and schools in the UK. The courses are pre-recorded in a series of 30-minute videos, so you can start, stop, or watch the lessons as many times as you’d like (but it’s suggested to spend two hours per week on the classes). Students can chat with other classmates, or post on the community page if they have additional comments or questions. At the end of each lesson, students are given an optional assignment to help apply what they learned. Best for Kids: Outschool Outschool Learn More Why We Chose It: Facilitating an interest in gardening at a young age can help make kids more aware of where their food comes from. Outschool has several types of gardening lessons available for different age groups with topics ranging from terrariums to worm farms, and also gives back to the community by offering free classes to families in need. What We Like - Kids are encouraged to interact with other students - Small class size What We Don’t Like - Weekly commitment can be difficult for busy schedules Outschool is an online learning community that’s specifically designed for kids, with small group sizes and more than 100,000 online classes to choose from. In the Grow it, Pick it, Eat it! A Gardening Club course, students will meet virtually for 45 minutes each week to share their interest in edible gardening and learn tips and tricks. It’s designed for eight- to 12-year-olds, with one to eight kids in attendance per class. Before each one, students can submit questions for discussion or share photos or videos of their current garden project to encourage a social club-style of learning. During each interactive lesson, the teacher begins with an introduction followed by a set topic to focus on for the week (which vary depending on season), before finishing with questions and answers. The cost is around $10 for each week's class. Most gardening classes at Outschool are ongoing (meeting once per week), but if a busy schedule doesn’t allow that, there are a handful of one-time classes like Margo Mejia’s Introduction to Edible Garden Design: a one-hour course to learn the basics of edible gardening. Best Butterfly Garden: Udemy.com Udemy Learn More Why We Chose It: The goal of the free course is to “conserve, observe, and attract” butterflies, so in addition to creating a thriving garden, it helps provide a habitat for butterflies native to your region. What We Like - Instructor is very thorough and informative - Course is affordable with Udemy membership What We Don’t Like - Video sections are a bit brief Learn how to transform your garden into a whimsical butterfly habitat with the Create a Butterfly Garden course on Udemy.com. The beginner course is about an hour in length, but it’s broken down into short video clips starting with an introduction to butterfly gardens, followed by understanding a habitat and garden design elements. It also explores 10 critical components, some challenges, and what not to do if you’re just getting started. The instructor, Jessica McAtee, is a butterfly conservationist who designed this free course for environmentalists, gardeners, and people who love nature. More species-specific classes from McAtee, like Attract Monarch Butterflies to Your Garden or Attracting Florida’s Longwing Butterflies, cost $80 and last about 45 minutes to an hour. All of the courses aim to help gardeners connect with nature and create a calm, peaceful environment. Best for Urban Gardening: The Urban Farm The Urban Farm Learn More Why We Chose It: The Urban Farm’s mission is to help people become more self-sustaining and aims to teach individuals to grow healthy food wherever they live. What We Like - Presented by an urban farm organization with first-hand information - Access to private Facebook group - Series of podcasts available What We Don’t Like - Price is a little higher If you live in a metropolitan area, The Urban Farm can show you how to utilize what space you have with its online courses. Founded by Greg Peterson in Phoenix, Arizona, where he managed to grow 70 fruit trees on one-third of an acre, he has since been offering a wealth of online classes related to growing your own food. The Jump Start Your Urban Farm program consists of five classes spanning about an hour and a half each, beginning with learning about healthy soils and regenerative design to creating a plan for what sized garden (or farm) you want to grow. The course costs around $100 and also includes access to a private gardening Facebook group, Q&A sessions, and new weekly content to download. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can try one of the service's other courses like Aquaponics or Seed School. In addition to the virtual classes, The Urban Farm also offers a series of podcasts to supplement your learning. Final Verdict If you’re just getting started, the Gardening 101 class on Skillshare is our top choice. If your kids are interested in gardening, enroll them in the Grow It Pick It Eat It gardening club on Outschool, and if you’d like to learn more about organic gardening but are on a budget, check out the Introduction to Growing Organic Food Sustainably course on Alison.com. Do I Need Any Equipment to Take an Online Gardening Class? Many classes are video tutorials that provide information on what to do (or not to do) when working in your garden, so you often won’t need anything for the course itself until you’re ready to start growing. Other ones encourage photo sharing of projects as you go, so it’s a good idea to have some basic gardening tools on hand. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need seeds, some quality soil, garden planters or small recycled cups, plenty of water, and a way to label plants (repurposed popsicle sticks are great for that). If you already have a garden started, gardening gloves, pruning shears, a hand shovel, spade, and a gardening fork are a few of the common tools you might use. How Much Do Online Gardening Classes Cost? If you’re just getting started, there are a lot of free classes available, but the cost varies based on the type of website and length of the course. Membership sites often offer access to a range of gardening (or other) topics and cost about $10 to $20 per month. Other sites price the courses individually, with one-time courses costing between roughly $10 and $25, or longer, multi-session classes anywhere from around $100 to $200. How We Chose the Best Online Gardening Classes In determining the best online gardening classes, we considered other student reviews, as well as instructor credentials. For example, Jessica McAtee, who teaches about butterfly gardens on Udemy, studied entomology and horticulture at the University of Florida. We choose popular classes in a variety of different subject types to fit every type of gardener, whether that’s someone interested in learning about urban gardening or herb gardening. Most of the courses allow flexibility, so you can start or pause whenever you need to.