Online training opportunities for greenhouse and nursery growers: Part 2

Numerous online, noncredit courses are available to greenhouse growers this summer and fall.

In Part 1 of this Michigan State University Extension article series, I reviewed the 74 free, on-demand videos on greenhouse management, growth management, nutrient management, insects and mites, and diseases. For growers interested in more in-depth courses, there are numerous ones available.

University of Florida Extension offers four, four-week online courses

Growers can increase their productivity, knowledge and skills with the four-week certificate
courses from University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. These courses are completely online and taught by university professors in English and Spanish. The following intermediate courses are being offered by the University of Florida: Nutrient Management 1, Disease Management, and Weed Management. There is one advanced course (Nutrient Management 2) that will be offered late August through September. Please see information below:

Four-week online courses offered from University of Florida


Start date

End date


Nutrient Management 1 (Intro)



Introductory: Practical experience but without formal horticulture science education

Nutrient Management 2 (Advanced)



Advanced: Experiences, well-trained grower, or upper university level

Disease Management



Intermediate: Some experience and training, or entry university level

Weed Management



Intermediate: Some experience and training, or entry university level

Registration for the Nutrient Management 1 Course closes Monday, July 25, 2016.

MSU Extension offers the College of Knowledge

Two, self-paced online courses are currently available to greenhouse growers through the Online College of Knowledge. The purpose of these new online courses is to provide basic training to the commercial floriculture growers in Michigan and beyond in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Both courses are offered through the national extension website.

The objectives of this course are to provide the latest practical information on managing the root zone of container-grown greenhouse crops. It covers: irrigation water, including water sources, water quality, water treatment and irrigation timing and methodology; growing media, including the physical and chemical properties of media, as well as substrate components and amendments; and nutrition, including how to select fertilizers and how to monitor nutrition. The course consists of many recorded mini-lectures, self-assessment quizzes and links for further information. In addition, a certificate of completion can be printed off if the student scores higher than 80 percent on the final online exam.

The course is instructed by Kristin Getter, former outreach specialist of floriculture crops and current academic specialist in horticulture at MSU. The course was adapted and updated from the original College of Knowledge class developed by MSU professor John Biernbaum and later revised by retired MSU Extension educator Dean Krauskopf.

The cost is $99 per person. To make the first payment, go to Root Zone Management and then follow instructions delivered to your email on how to complete the course.

  • Greenhouse and Horticultural Lighting

This three-hour class consists of pre-recorded lectures and video demonstrations that are divided into seven units and includes the importance of light for plant growth; light quality, intensity and quantity; photoperiodic lighting; and photosynthetic (high-intensity) lighting with both conventional lamps and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Participants will learn about the properties of light, how light regulates extension growth and flowering, how to measure the properties of light and how to apply these concepts to a range of specialty crops including those grown in greenhouses and completely indoors.

The course is instructed by Heidi Wollaeger, greenhouse and nursery MSU Extension educator. The course was adapted and updated from the original College of Knowledge unit developed by MSU professor emeritus Royal Heins and includes a substantial amount of recent research by MSU horticulture professor Erik Runkle. Supplemental content including videos demonstrating concepts are from Roberto Lopez and Garrett Owen, associate professor and PhD candidate at Purdue University, respectively.

This course is open for registration twice yearly. The next registration for the winter session will begin Nov. 1, 2016, and students will have access to the material from December 2016 through February 2017. The cost is $129 per person. Complete the course and receive a $20 refund! Once students have paid for the course, completed the pre-test, final exam and the post-course evaluation, they will be eligible for a $20 refund.

  • Coming Soon: Biological Control for Greenhouse Growers

In September 2016, a new online College of Knowledge Course on Biological Control will be available to greenhouse growers. Stay tuned!

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