Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin: Foundations in Gardening

Image of two people gardening; provided by

Join us for the Fall 2023 course!

Registration for Fall 2023 will begin in July 2023.

Stay informed about all our offerings, including 2023’s Foundations in Gardening course. Join our mailing list to receive reminders about courses, webinars and more!

Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin: Foundations in Gardening is an online introductory course where you learn key concepts for selecting, growing, and maintaining plants – from trees to houseplants to vegetables (and everything in between!) You’ll learn about gardening, also known as horticulture, in a way that helps you make decisions to plan for gardening success, prevent plant problems before they start, and manage issues when they happen.

At the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Link gardening practices and biology to preventing plant problems
  • Explain how to select, grow, and maintain the health of different kinds of plants
  • Identify strategies to manage plant problems
  • Explain what Integrated Pest Management is and how it benefits you and the environment

You’ll leave the course with a combination of practical gardening skills to try plus the knowledge of why they work.

Contacting Technical Support:

To reset or get help with your NetID username or password:
Contact the Learn@UW Help Desk via email at, or by phone at 608-264-HELP (4357) (staffed seven days a week from 6am –1am). You must have access to the email address you used to sign up for the course in order to verify your identity and must identify yourself as a L3 learner with Extension.

For all other inquiries, including having the Get Started email resent to you, please send an email to and include this information:

  • Your first and last name
  • The email address used to sign up for the course
  • The name of the course you signed up for

Please allow up to 3 business days for a response.  

See what former course participants say!

“Enjoyed the ability to learn online and pace my learning in concert with my personal life.”

“I learned a lot. All of the information presented in the readings and videos was useful…”

I liked the blend of activities and resources so there was a variety of things to complete…”

Course Snapshot

What: Online, move at your own pace through 12+ modules with online videos, readings, activities, and scheduled live webinars. You’ll hear from our Extension experts through our videos and Q&A with the Experts live webinars to learn about decision making strategies and gardening resources. The course includes an electronic (PDF) copy of the course training manual.

How: This is an online course that uses Canvas (online classroom) and Zoom.

When: September through December 2023. Registration for the 2023 course will begin in July 2023. Participants have access to content through the next year. A suggested calendar includes a weekly schedule for the course. Units containing course content open up periodically throughout the course corresponding with the weekly schedule. Go through the course at your own pace when you have time. The live Q&A with the Experts webinars are recorded for later viewing.

Who: This is open to the general public. This course is considered an approved learning opportunity for the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program. Visit the Wisconsin Master Gardener Website for more information.

Learning Modules

The following topics include a video lecture, reading in the training manual, a study guide, and an online quiz.

image of woman watering plants

General Gardening Practices

Integrated Pest Management



squash vine borer

Plant Diseases




Young man and young woman planting marigolds

Herbaceous & Woody Ornamentals

Vegetables & Fruits

Houseplants & Containers


Q&A with the Experts

Q & A with the Experts are live Zoom webinars with our UW-Madison, Division of Extension specialists and experts. During the webinar, they will be answering your plant and gardening questions within their area of expertise. We know that bringing in specialists enriches the learners’ educational experience. Participants are encouraged to complete the program module specific to the Q&A content area before attending (if possible) and will be able to submit questions ahead of time. Attendance is optional. Dates and times will be provided in the course syllabus. All will be recorded.



Plant Disease

Houseplants & Containers





“I have been talking about taking this class for at least 8 years and am so gratified that I have done it. I love gardens and gardening and now I know more! I improved!”

-Former class participant

Additional Features

 Optional Labs

Participants can elect to register for four additional online labs. All labs will be held via Zoom.

In the lab, you will:

  • Learn more while engaging with Extension Educators and other participants.
  • Dig deeper into important course concepts by applying the knowledge gained from the course materials to real-life situations. Examples include interpreting a soil test report, identifying and troubleshooting pest problems, and locating and using science-based resources.
  • Participate in both large and small group activities and discussions.

This is a separate registration process from the course registration. Once you register for the course, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to register for the labs.

Training Manual (hard copy)

A hard copy of the training manual is available for purchase during course registration. A PDF version of the training manual comes with course registration but purchasing the hard copy version is highly recommended. This is a great resource to have on your bookshelf!

Master Gardener Program

If you are interested in becoming a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, this course is considered an approved learning opportunity from the Wisconsin Extension Horticulture Program. Visit the Wisconsin Master Gardener Website for more information.

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