Study Home Gardening and be a Garden Expert
  • Impress  your family, friends
  • Become the Garden Guru in your local community
This course contains hundreds of pages of notes, and (for the online & CD version) large numbers of automated self assessment tests. Become the gardening expert of your family with this comprehensive home gardening course. There are eight units each comprising 2 or 3 lessons, with each lesson involving both reading and practical work. This is a "blue ribbon" course for home gardeners who want the best.

There are 8 units involved in this course. Each unit is made up of 2 or 3 lessons.

The eight units are as follows:‑

1. Basic Plant Identification & Culture

Plant names, planting, transplanting, tools & equipment.

2. Soils & Nutrition

Soil structure, nutrition, composting, soil building, drainage, fertilizers.

3. Pests & Weeds

Identifying problems, sprays, biological control, weed identification & control.

4. Landscaping

How to design a garden, rockeries, native gardens, traditional (European style) home gardens.

5. Propagation

Propagating materials, seed, cuttings.

6. Lawns: Turf varieties, laying a lawn, lawn care.

7. Indoor Gardening

Hardy indoor plants, container growing.

8. The Kitchen Garden

Vegetable gardening, fruit trees, herbs.


Here is just some of what you may do:

  • Read notes written and supplied by staff of this school
  • Watch instructional video
  • Test and name different soils
  • Mix inexpensive potting mixes
  • Make compost and explain how you made it.
  • Learn how to identify plants effectively.
  • Explain step by step how you would go about planting shrubs in your own locality.
  • Explain how to transplant and transport plants from one property to another.
  • Determine the tools required to do gardening for a property, using a limited supply of money.
  • Explain characteristics of soil, including: Soil Structure, pH and Nutrient Deficiency
  • Describe how to fertilize a lawn
  • Explain how to improve drainage in a soil that is too wet for plants to do well in.
  • Explain how you would improve a specified soil
  • Identify a nutrient deficiency
  • Observe and identify different categories of pest and disease problems in growing plants.
  • Compile a weed collection with pressings or illustrations of different weeds
  • Compile a plant collection with pressings or illustrations of different weeds
  • Describe how environmental problems affect plants
  • Recommend ways of controlling different types of problems in plants, using both natural and chemical.
  • Observe and evaluate different types of gardens.
  • Survey a garden in order to prepare a garden design.
  • Apply a systematic procedure to landscape design, in order to produce a concept plan for a garden.
  • Explain mistakes have you observe in the design and construction of different rockeries
  • Build a simple cold frame and us it to propagate plants.
  • Prepare propagating mix which would be suitable for striking most types of cuttings.
  • Propagate different plants from cuttings.
  • Prepare a plan for sowing annual flower seedlings over a 12 month period.
  • Evaluate and explain a lawn seed mix from the packaging of that mix
  • Observe different lawns and recommend their treatment
  • Explain how to establish a lawn
  • Observe and evaluate the condition of different indoor plants.
  • Recommend the treatment of different indoor plants.
  • Prepare lists of indoor plants for different applications.
  • Find an indoor plant which needs potting up & pot it up.
  • Plant a vegetable patch.
  • List fruit, nuts and berries most suited for growing in your locality
  • Observe the way in which herbs are used commercially (eg. in medicine, cooking etc)
  • Explain why crop rotation is used in growing vegetables?

Gardens Can Cost More than You Think

Costs in a garden have a tendency to sneak up on us but with a little forethought and the right choices, you can vastly increase the value for money you spend.

Gardens can be relatively cheap or very expensive. Unlike most other things we buy though, most of us tend not to think about the full cost of what we do in our garden.

Do you know what you spend on your garden every year?
How much do you want to spend on your garden next year?
Do you go to the local garden supplier just to see what you can find?
Do you have to go to the hardware store for a new tool every time you have a job to do?

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘don’t know’ to any of these questions, maybe it’s time to think about working out a garden budget.

Gardening should be part of your household budgeting. Like your household budget, it requires realistic estimates of how much you can afford to spend, what you would like to buy, and what you need to buy. A garden budget will also help you to control those impulse purchases that you might later regret.

Remember, an attractive garden can add to the value of your property. Money wisely spent on improving your garden adds to your quality of life and is also a sensible financial investment.

Many people simply let their gardens “happen”. If you have a garden plan you can work out what tasks need to be done and in what order to do them. This can make budgeting much easier.

Plans can be either a drawing of how you would like your garden to look, a list of priorities for the garden, or a combination of both. Once you have this, you can work out how much each item is going to cost and whether you can afford it.

Costs for establishing a new garden or rejuvenating parts of a garden are much greater than ongoing maintenance expenses. Start up costs include:

Retaining walls
Furniture and garden ornaments
Water features
Soils, mulch and fertilisers

For each category, you will need to work out a realistic budget. If your budget is limited, you may need to choose between using cheaper materials (eg. recycled, seconds, home-made) or using better materials but less of them (eg. having a smaller paved area, smaller pond, or fewer plants).

All gardens require maintenance. Sometimes you might want to buy a feature tree to enhance a dull corner of the property, other times you might need to buy fertiliser to feed your plants in spring. Here are just some of the things you might need to spend money on to keep your garden looking great:

New tools
Tool servicing
New plants
Annual plants
Mulch and fertilisers
Soil to top dress the lawn
Water for irrigation
Pest control

For a small garden, the cost of plants might not be a major issue, but as people on acreages know, plants for a large garden can eat up many thousands of dollars. One solution is to buy mostly smaller plants, and wait for them to grow. Another is to propagate them yourself.
You might also try talking to your nurseryman about a “bulk discount”. If you work out what you need and buy all of your plants at once, most nurserymen will give a discount.
Instead of buying vegetable and flower seedlings, buy seed and grow your own.
New trees and shrubs can also be grown from seed or cuttings, if you know how.
Buy a book or do a plant propagation course. It doesn’t take too much to learn the basics.
An excellent Plant Propagation video (1hr 20 mins) is available from the Australian Correspondence Schools that will show you everything you need to get started. www.acsbookshop.com   (Students with ACS can watch this and other videos in our student room

One of the greatest expenses faced by home gardeners is the cost of machinery and tools. When purchasing tools, make a realistic assessment of your needs and avoid making false economies. The cheapest tool in the shop may not be the best one to buy. Similarly, there is no point buying the most expensive tool if you are only going to use it once a year. Once you have spent money on your tools, they can last for many years if you observe some simple maintenance principles:

• Ensure that machines such as lawn mowers are regularly serviced and kept in optimum operating condition.
• Don’t leave your tools outside in the weather when you’re not using them. Always put them in a shed or under the house.
• Always clean tools before you put them away. Soil and dirt on metal tools can cause rust.
• Keep the cutting edges of tools such as secateurs and spades sharp. They are less likely to be damaged when they are working properly.
• Regularly apply a mixture of linseed oil and kerosene to protect timber handles.


The secret to operating a successful garden budget is to make a realistic assessment of what you want. Then decide what you can afford. From there it is an easy matter of setting your priorities and buying things for your garden as you can afford them. If you stick to this process you will steadily improve your garden.