Continuing and Distance Education 

PSS 096 Home Vegetable Growing

Dr. Leonard P. Perry,Horticulture Professor Emeritus
Dept. Plant and Soil Science, 212 Jeffords, UVM, Burlington VT 05405
656-2630 (main office, real people during the day) (best, quickest response)

Two (2) credits, online  (Blackboard)

Due Dates: See Blackboard course site
Tests and exercises may be turned in any time prior to the due dates. Any submissions after these dates will have points deducted for lateness, or not be accepted, at the discretion of the instructor. Plan for the unexpected (illness, computer crash, free dinner out, etc). 

meetings: none, completely online, at student's own pace and timing

Required Text: Growing Vegetables and Herbs, Ruth Lively, Taunton Press, 2011, 296pp
(Purchase from bookstores, online such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or from Taunton Press)


Optional text: The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, Edward Smith, Storey Publ, 2009, 351pp.

(both texts are good, each has some different information such as cultivars, although the basics are similar; some key points from this text that aren't in the course text are included on the separate course crops page)


1. learn basics of designing, planting, care, and harvest of vegetables and herbs in a home garden

2. learn cultural specifics of various crops based on rotational groupings, plus harvest and storage specifics

3. gain familiarity with some of the main varieties

Whether you are looking to become a professional grower, or just grow plants at home, this course provides the basics of the main crops, their culture and problems, along with general topics such as extending the season, rotations, proper harvest and storage methods.


How it works:

This completely online course is based on a new affordable and paperback home gardening reference-- a compilation of the knowledge of many authors in Fine Gardening magazine.  Tests follow the subjects in the book, and are designed to test and reinforce familiarity with and ability to use the extensive content, and to reinforce key crops, their features, cultural details, and harvest/storage.  Intensive familiarity and mastering of the topics are fostered through repeated reviewing and reading of the material, considering relationships, and problem solving.  The exercise will extend knowledge of varieties and sources-- a key to vegetable growing and often based on sustainability as well as personal preference-- through research online.  After completing this course, students should easily be able to design a home vegetable garden choosing appropriate varieties, have a good basic knowledge of culture including environmentally responsible control of problems, and be able to plan for harvest and storage.

Email contact between professor and students is used as needed and to share information. The syllabus on Blackboard, AND the tips, will serve as your contract for the course and should be read thoroughly.  

Students are expected to follow the UVM Code of Academic Integrity (

Access: Blackboard (your UVM passwords) for syllabus, tests, exercises

Assignments: 1500 points total for course

All will be submitted through blackboard except the exercises, as noted with its description. Tests are mainly multiple choice, with some true/false and fill in the blank. There is no time limit on doing them, and they can be stopped and resumed at a later date. All are open book, questions designed to test and reinforce your familiarity with the material, ability to find answers to questions on important topics, and to come up with answers from finding several pieces of information. All answers come from and are based on only the text and any supplemental provided materials in order to be fair and consistent among all.  Although you may be tempted to use the internet, you may come up with conflicting and perhaps even wrong information.  The course text and materials will provide the only acceptable answers for quizzes and tests.

    Tests, 100 points each, 1000 points total
   Basics (based on text chapters)
    Test 1 Designing (chapter 1)

    Test 2 Structures and Hardscape (chapter 2)

    Test 3 Fundamentals (soils, culture, tools;  chapter 3)

    Test 4 Planning and Planting (chapter 4)

    Test 5 Garden Health (pests and problems; chapter 5))

    Crops (see separate linked listings under Course Materials link on Blackboard)

    Test 6  Leafy greens

    Test 7  Root

    Test 8  Fruiting

    Test 9  Other

    Test 10  Herbs

    Final (300 points)

    Crop Selection Exercises (2 at 100 points each, 200 points total, manually graded)
Grades determined on standard 10 point scale ie 90-100=A, 80-89=B, etc. with for example 80-82=B-, 83-86=B, 87-89=B+, etc.


"Acquire knowledge. It enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong..." --Elijah Muhammad, U.S.A. 1897-1975, Islamic religious leader

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."  -- Audrey Hepburn, 1929-1993, British actress and humanitarian

links to Perry's Perennial Pages | UVM Plant and Soil Science Department