Alaska Master Gardener Online

The next Alaska Master Gardener Online Class will be offered August 23, 2021 - December 3, 2021. The class is now FULL.

Heidi Rader has taught the course for more than a decade. She writes a blog called It Grows in Alaska and has filmed a series of Alaska Gardening Videos available on YouTube.

The Alaska Master Gardener Online Course gives students the tools to create a sustainable landscape for themselves and help others do the same. The course is worth 3 credits at the 500 level (CEU Credits for Educators). The course consists of a variety of assignments including weekly readings, presentations, discussions, and quizzes. The class is a media-rich experience filled with research-based resources that are relevant to Alaska. Students will be challenged and engaged through various assignments--from determining your soil texture to calculating how much food you need to grow to meet your personal goals to making a plan to fulfill your volunteer hours. On average, the course takes students 3 hours each week to complete. The course is pass/fail. There are no required meeting times but there are weekly due dates.

The course  covers botany, starting plants, soil, composting, growing vegetables, growing fruit and berries, flowers, season extension, greenhouses, landscaping, house plants, entomology, pest management, and plant disease diagnostics. 

All required reading material is provided in the course, digitally. Students may wish to purchase a hard-copy of the Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook but it is not required. 

Face-to-face courses are offered in some communities across the state. Contact the instructor in your region for more details.

Note: Students must complete 40 hours of volunteer service to become a Certified Alaska Master Gardener. Some students volunteer by writing for the Alaska Master Gardener Blog 

The Alaska Master Gardener Online Course is ideal for those who:

  • Are very comfortable using and learning new technologies like Blackboard Learn.
  • Have reliable and reasonably fast Internet.
  • Enjoy independent learning.
  • Want to study Sustainable Gardening in Alaska and volunteer 40 hours of their time to teach others what they learned. 

What are students saying about the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course?

Leilani Luhrs of Togiak, AK said, "I started the 'garden' movement in my community. Being one the first to garden in Togiak, AK inspired others to try and succeed in gardening. I really loved the program and it helped me become a better gardener in that I can help others achieve what they want in their gardens and it is the same for me."

"The online course provided excellent and accessible information. I utilized the information when I answered questions in the Master Gardener Office and at the Demonstration Garden where I volunteer."

"It was helpful to have specific information for Southeast AK. I'm most excited about knowing how to build healthy soil and plan properly as we build a new garden. Also, it was great to have info in fruit trees and berries - not to be overlooked while planning our home and garden!"

"I started our community garden, and gave gardening classes, soil classes and invasive weed classes as a direct result of my master gardeners certification. Thank you!"

"I learned a lot more about how to use the services and information provided by the Extension Service to have ongoing and continuing gardening education. I am also confident​ that I will be able to pursue my dream of owning a farm for family sustenance and supplemental income."

"This class has changed my gardening way and I can now enjoy doing gardening more than before. I do more research and apply what I learned from there. I can take control of fertilizer and amount of water that need to be applied for each crop. I can decide appropriately which plants should be in greenhouse and outside so that each will grow properly. All of lessons that I learned brought my garden better yields. This class was crucial whether I should do more gardening or not. Now I would like to keep doing gardening without spending much money and get some good results."

"The course provided a well rounded knowledge base to draw from for many growing seasons to come. I enjoyed the course and have encouraged others to take UAF's Master Gardener Course."

"This course gave me the confidence to get my hands in the dirt and try planting new things. My kids have been encouraged to try more veggies- straight from the garden. When I don't know the answer, I have my wonderful Master Gardener manual to fall back on and I have sought out online groups to share and learn information."

"I really loved the course and the online course really made it easy for me to take it."