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Colorado Certified Gardener Program


Welcome to Colorado State University
Extension’s Certified Gardener Program. This is an outreach of the Colorado
Master Gardener Program, and is designed to help foster you’re successful gardening.
I’m Mary Small, one of several instructors for the course, and I’m using
the Flower Trial Gardens on the Colorado State University campus as a backdrop
for today’s introduction. As part of the introductory materials, you’ll find two
videos for your viewing. The first one is this one and this covers the course
content. The second video covers learning, and it’s designed to help you maximize
the amount of time that you spend with this course. The reading that goes with
the introduction is found in the Science of Gardening Chapter 1 pages 3 through
10, The Benefits of Gardening. The first quest is called how plants grow. Its a
review of basic botany as it applies to the gardener. There are three chapters
in this quest. The first is communicating about plants, and it covers plant
taxonomy classification. There’s a lot of terminology to learn, so that we can
communicate more easily throughout the course. For example, these flowers are
annuals they’ll be gone with the first frost. Some will be taken out with the
heavy frost, some will freeze to the ground, be cut off with the garden clean up and
come back next year. They’re called perennials. Deciduous shrubs will lose their leaves
in the fall. In this unit, we’ll review plant taxonomy, that is who is related to
who. As gardeners, it’s important to care about understanding these
relationships because we often talk about plant families. Plant families
often share the same cultural practices and same insect and disease issues. The
next chapter studies plant structures such as the root, the stems, leaves,
flowers, and fruit. We care about the structures because we grow the plants
for them. Another reason is that being able to look carefully at the plant and
what’s happening to the structures is a key to diagnostics. So, the objective in
this chapter is to teach your eye to carefully look at plants, their structures,
and observe what’s happening to them. The third chapter on how plants grow looks
at plant processes. This includes photosynthesis, transpiration, and
respiration. We’llalso look at plant growth factors such as light, temperature,
and water, and how they influence the garden and landscape. The second quest
covers soils fertilizers, and soil amendments. This is the most important
topic of the entire course because eighty percent of our landscape problems
are soil related. The quest on soils, fertilizers, and soil amendment includes
the following topics: introduction to soils, the living soil, soil tilth: texture,
structure, and pore space, managing soil tilth and compaction, soil amendments,
composting, mulching, fertilization, soil pH, iron chlorosis, and soil testing. The
third quest deals with diagnostics and pest management and has several
trecks in it. In the treck on the diagnostic process you’ll learn about the thought
process that’s used to diagnose what’s wrong with plants. We’ll also
cover diagnosis of abiotic problems which are those plant problems that are
not insect or disease related and are often difficult to diagnose. As part of
learning the diagnostic process you’ll go outside for a lab activity and
actually stake out where the tree roots are found. The trek on insect identification
and management gets up close and personal with insects starting with how
to identify them. There’s a lab in which your practice insect identification and
another with the generic look at insect management techniques. The next trek covers
plant disease identification and management. In the arid West, plant
diseases are less common than in humid rainy climates, but in certain years can
be numerous and a bit tricky to identify and manage. We’ll finish up the quest with
the treck on weed management in landscape. The quest on woody plants or
trees and shrubs as we commonly call them, has several trecks in it. The first is
on identification of trees and shrubs which you’ve already had if you’ve taken
the course on how plants grow. Other quests in the unit include selection and
placement of woody plants, as well as the science of planting trees. The pruning
trek takes a look at not only basic pruning techniques, but also the
structural pruning and training of young trees. The quest on growing fruits and
vegetables in the home garden has three trecks: tree fruits, small fruits, and
vegetables. We’ll look at the challenges that gardeners face as they grow the
various fruits in the home garden. The treck on vegetable gardening, covers
garden layout, and design, planting times, and a raised bed system. Then we’ll go
over general care of a garden, including soil preparation, fertilization, mulching,
and irrigation, as well as management of vegetable plant groups. We’ll finish the
treck with a chapter on frost protection techniques that can help extend the
season the lawn care quest. We’ll hopefully take the mystery out of
growing a healthy turf. Topics include variety selection irrigation and
fertilization. Water-wise landscape design covers everything from basic
design theory, to how to design and manage efficient landscapes. We’ll look at
different styles, color, texture, and form, and finish up with techniques to create
effective plant combinations. While landscape design is very theoretical as an art form, you’ll get some concrete ideas that you
can take and use in your very own landscape. The last quest is irrigation
management. We’ll start out with the look at soil, plant, and water
relationships, use this is a foundation and then look
at how much water and how often. Then finally will finish with a look at drip
irrigation systems. The textbook for the course is the Science of Gardening by
David Whiting published by Kendall Hunt. This textbook is nationally available, contains over 600 pages and over 600
full-color graphics. The book is available as a hard copy printed version,
as well as an electronic delivery ebook from the publisher. The lectures will
follow the textbook using the same sequence of topics and the same graphics.
Students that are taking one individual quest or treck may wish to purchase
either the entire book or you can also purchase individual chapters from the
publisher.

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