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

Academic Integrity

As an academic community dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge, Rutgers University is committed to fostering an intellectual and ethical environment based on the principles of academic integrity. Academic integrity is essential to the success of the University's educational and research missions, and violations of academic integrity constitute serious offenses against the entire academic community. This academic integrity policy is designed to guide students as they prepare assignments, take examinations, and perform the work necessary to complete their degree requirements.

Students are required to adhere to the professional standards outlined in the Rutgers University policies on academic integrity, which are available Policy on Academic Integrity (PDF) and at: Office of Student Judicial Affairs.

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.

Accessibility at Rutgers

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. For a the full explanation of the process, go to Documentation Guidelines. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodation. 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.