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Organic Farming and Gardening (11:035:274)


Note: This syllabus is for general information about the course. The instructor will provide you with an updated syllabus specific for the semester of enrollment.

Course Description

2 Credits. Online or hybrid. This course is designed for students interested in organic farming and gardening, considering the perspective of both agriculutural professionals and home gardeners. The course covers subjects such as the planning and design of an organic garden, crop and seed selection, specialty crops, soil building and fertility, composting, history of organic farming, seed starting, plant growth measurements, data collection, pest managagment, natural landscapes and rain gardens.

Note: This course was previously designated 11:015:274

Learning Goals

  • To gain knowledge in organic farming and gardening: an introduction to basic philosophy, standard practices, and pressing issues
  • To develop a factual baseline of cropping knowledge with organic methods
  • To foster independent learning via distance education and web based instruction
  • To encourage creative thinking in agricultural problem solving on the farm or in the garden
  • To effectively communicate complex concepts with other contemporaries


A textbook is not required. Materials provided to students include relevant websites, documents, PowerPoint presentation, and other references.

Regular weekly work and online participation is expected. Frequent login to the CMS (eCollege or Canvas) is required.

Course Assignments

Major assignments typically include:

  • Paper: A personal project, "Your Organic Plan"
  • Schematic Map: Your garden or town site drawn on graph paper and then scanned in or created digitally
  • Final project

Basis for Grading

Students are assessed by online participation, presentation, and exams. A final project is also required. Typical grading consists of:

  • Tests: 20%
  • Assignments: 30%
  • Participation: 30%
  • Final: 20%


Typical schedule of topics:

  • Pre-test, Ice Breaker
  • Garden Planning and Design
  • Organic History
  • Organic Farm Fresh Movement
  • Soil Testing and Fertility
  • Exam 1
  • Organic Pest Management
  • Organic World Conference Report / Organic Blueberries
  • Rain Gardens / Green Design
  • Paper Due
  • Composting
  • Natural Landscaping – Lawns, Ornamentals, and Shrubs
  • Final Project
  • Exam 2

Accomodations for Students with Disabilities

Please follow the procedures outlined at Full policies and procedures are at Office of Disability Services website.

Academic Integrity

The university's policy on Academic Integrity is available at policies on academic integrity.

The principles of academic integrity require that a student:

  • properly acknowledge and cite all use of the ideas, results, or words of others.
  • properly acknowledge all contributors to a given piece of work.
  • make sure that all work submitted as his or her own in a course or other academic activity is produced without the aid of impermissible materials or impermissible collaboration.
  • obtain all data or results by ethical means and report them accurately without suppressing any results inconsistent with his or her interpretation or conclusions.
  • treat all other students in an ethical manner, respecting their integrity and right to pursue their educational goals without interference. This requires that a student neither facilitate academic dishonesty by others nor obstruct their academic progress.
  • uphold the canons of the ethical or professional code of the profession for which he or she is preparing.

Adherence to these principles is necessary in order to ensure that:

  • everyone is given proper credit for his or her ideas, words, results, and other scholarly accomplishments.
  • all student work is fairly evaluated and no student has an inappropriate advantage over others.
  • the academic and ethical development of all students is fostered.
  • the reputation of the University for integrity in its teaching, research, and scholarship is maintained and enhanced.

NOTE: Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • Resubmitting your own work that has previously been evaluated in this class or any other class.
  • Copying text directly from websites and other sources without attributing the original source(s).
  • Copying the work of students in other sections (past or present) of this course.

Failure to uphold these principles of academic integrity threatens both the reputation of the University and the value of the degrees awarded to its students. Every member of the University community therefore bears a responsibility for ensuring that the highest standards of academic integrity are upheld.

NOTE: To help protect you, and future students, from plagiarism, all essay assignments will be submitted through

Attendance and Participation Policy

Students are expected to actively participate in all of the online activities for the course. Attendance in the online sessions is determined by thorough, thoughtful, relevant and on time contributions made in the weekly assignments including threaded discussions, reaction papers and quizzes. The course proceeds with the assumption that students have thoughtfully read and reviewed the assigned materials.

Students are responsible for completion of all assigned readings, materials discussed and assignments on or before the assigned due date.

Student Wellness Services

Just In Case Web App

Access helpful mental health information and resources for yourself or a friend in a mental health crisis on your smartphone or tablet and easily contact CAPS or RUPD.

Counseling, ADAP & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

848-932-7884 / 17 Senior Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

CAPS is a University mental health support service that includes counseling, alcohol and other drug assistance, and psychiatric services staffed by a team of professional within Rutgers Health services to support students' efforts to succeed at Rutgers University. CAPS offers a variety of services that include: individual therapy, group therapy and workshops, crisis intervention, referral to specialists in the community and consultation and collaboration with campus partners.

Violence Prevention & Victim Assistance (VPVA)

848-932-1181 / 3 Bartlett Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

The Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance provides confidential crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual and relationship violence and stalking to students, staff and faculty. To reach staff during office hours when the university is open or to reach an advocate after hours, call 848-932-1181.

Disability Services

848-445-6800 / Lucy Stone Hall, Suite A145, Livingston Campus, 54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Rutgers University welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation.

If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, please complete the Registration form on the ODS website.

Scarlet Listeners


Free and confidential peer counseling and referral hotline, providing a comforting and supportive safe space.


William Sciarappa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and County Agent
Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources