How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone

Course No. 9721
Melinda Myers,
Horticulturist and Certified Arborist
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4.4 out of 5
42 Reviews
85% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9721
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Course Overview

Can you imagine walking out your back door to snip a few fresh chives for your baked potato? Or the satisfaction from growing that potato in the first place? Or how about plucking blueberries for your morning cereal from a container on your balcony or deck?

Growing your own food is one of the most rewarding things you can do. While starting a garden may sound intimidating to some, nearly everyone can grow a few herbs, fruits, or vegetables. And as gardening pros know, nothing beats the freshness of a crisp vegetable right off the vine, a sweet fruit plucked from the tree, or a savory herb from your window box. When you grow your own food, not only do you get the freshest food and most delicious flavor, you also get a lower grocery bill and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Best of all, gardening is something you can get started on right away:

  • Grow micro-greens and sprouts year-round in a matter of weeks.
  • Start growing oyster mushrooms—in your basement!
  • Jump-start your local growing season by planting seeds indoors.

Whether you live on rural acreage or a city lot, virtually anyone can grow a simple garden—regardless of your skill level and busy schedule. How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone is a practical guide for cultivating fresh produce from seed to harvest. Taught by renowned horticulturalist Melinda Myers, these 12 hands-on lessons are chock full of tips and tricks for novice gardeners and green thumbs alike. Here, you’ll discover everything from materials and preparation to maintenance and harvesting, giving you all the practical knowledge you need to:

  • Enjoy windowsill herbs such as chives, basil, rosemary, dill, and thyme.
  • Harvest garden staples such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, and potatoes.
  • Learn to grow nutritious and beautiful vegetables, including kale, Swiss chard, and rhubarb.
  • Cultivate fruits from strawberries and raspberries to pears and plum trees.

Ms. Myers shows you the ins and outs of designing a beautiful garden to fit your space, and shares a wealth of examples to give you an idea of just what’s possible. For example, if you just want a few plants on your patio, consider the “thriller, filler, spiller” method of container gardening. Or if you live somewhere with a shorter growing season, consider planting seeds indoors and transplanting them outside when the weather warms.

Prepare Any Space for a Lush Garden

Whether you’re growing indoors or outside, preparation is the key. Ms. Myers walks you through every step of the process, including:

  • Soil preparation
  • Sunlight requirements
  • Proper watering
  • Spacing
  • Pruning
  • Harvesting

You’ll discover how to repair damaged soil, convert grass to a garden, build raised beds, or simply boost the nutritional value of your growing space. She shows you eco-friendly methods for fighting pests such as hornworms, beetles, aphids, and other bugs that might munch on your fruits and veggies. Also, see how to prevent plant diseases through good watering habits and proper airflow.

Once you have your space prepared, it’s time to decide which plants to cultivate! Whether you’re interested in growing from seeds or selecting young plants from your local garden center, you’ll find out all the do’s and don’ts to maximize your garden’s productivity. You’ll get a comprehensive guide to:

  • Topsoil and mulch
  • Fertilizers and pest management
  • Composting and other sustainable gardening practices
  • Water wise gardening strategies
  • Row covers, cold frames, and greenhouses to extend the season

Throughout the course, you’ll unpack key terms you need to know, including “indeterminate” versus “determinate,” “heirloom,” and more. Ms. Myers also provides a dazzling array of creative solutions to build the ideal garden for your space—including ways to tap into a neighborhood co-op or community garden.

Practical Tips and Hands-on Tricks

As she guides you through the process, Ms. Myers offers enthusiastic, can’t-go-wrong advice to get novice gardeners started—as well as professional tips and tricks that will surprise and inspire experienced gardeners. For instance, everyone will appreciate her time-saving tips, like a five-minute plan for weeding, to keep gardening fun rather than a chore.

Along the way, she gives you the case study of her own garden, filmed on location in Wisconsin. As an added bonus, she brings some of her projects right into the studio. You’ll see demonstrations of planting micro-greens, learn to build a worm composter, and more. In keeping with the practical, workshop nature of these lessons, the course guidebook is a handy resource you can take into the field to help with your own gardening efforts.

In no time at all, you’ll experience the myriad benefits of gardening, which feed your body and soul. Whether you simply want to grow herbs for your homemade spaghetti sauce or you dream of cultivating a dazzling orchard, How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone offers everything you need to grow fresh food right outside—or inside—your home.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Jump-Start Your Edible Garden
    Get started right away! From sprouts and micro-greens to windowsill herb gardens and other edible container gardens, you can begin growing your own delicious foods any time of year. Discover the many benefits of growing your own fresh food, and learn what supplies you'll need and how to arrange your plants. x
  • 2
    Planning for Gardening Success
    Scope out your growing space. In this lesson, a wealth of inspiring ideas will show you what's possible, whether you have a spacious suburban backyard or a city apartment. A few basic tips on spacing and designing your edible landscape will set you up for a successful growing season. x
  • 3
    Building Your Garden Foundation
    Every successful garden begins with a good foundation. Here, you'll find out what makes an ideal soil composition, and you'll learn several techniques for quickly repairing your soil and preparing your garden bed. The instructor's own garden provides a case study you will follow throughout the course. x
  • 4
    Starting Plants from Seeds
    One of the best ways to extend your growing season is to start plants from seed indoors. Explore the materials and techniques for starting such common plants as tomatoes, peppers, melons, cabbage, and more from seeds. Tips for watering, lighting, and transplanting will ensure a successful migration to your outdoor garden. x
  • 5
    Planting Vegetables and Herbs
    Whether you start from seeds or buy young plants from your local nursery, vegetables and herbs are easy projects the whole family will love. See how to prep the soil and plant seeds for onions, corn, carrots, potatoes, and more. Then turn to transplanting and growing different types of tomatoes, peppers, and squash. x
  • 6
    Low-Maintenance Garden Tips
    Consider ways to reduce your maintenance time and increase the success of your garden, no matter how busy your life may be. This lesson offers a blueprint for low input gardening, revealing time-saving strategies like proper weeding techniques, mulching for weed control and water conservation, and more. x
  • 7
    Small Fruit Cultivation and Care
    For some gardeners, the shift from growing vegetables and herbs to growing fruits may be overwhelming, but in fact, the same basic maintenance and care principles apply: plant selection, soil prep, and pruning. To boost your confidence, this lesson provides some easy guidelines for growing small fruits, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and more. x
  • 8
    Growing Fruit Trees
    Once you've tackled vegetables and small fruits, moving to large fruit trees can be an exciting step. Because there are so many varieties available, from apples and peaches to pears and plums, Ms. Myers gives you some general guidelines for selecting and planting trees, as well as invaluable guidance on training and pruning your plants for greatest productivity. x
  • 9
    Eco-Friendly Pest Management
    When you grow your own food, you'll likely tolerate a few more imperfections than you would with food from the grocery store. But you'll still want to mitigate the harm from pests and diseases. Here, you'll look at many of the most common pests and how to manage them in order to maximize your garden's productivity. x
  • 10
    Food Harvesting Tips and Tricks
    All parts of gardening can be fun, but nothing beats harvesting the fruits of your labor. To boost your garden's output, there are a few harvesting tricks you may want to consider. After reflecting on some differences between fruits and vegetables, learn about when to harvest many of the most common plants in the garden. x
  • 11
    Composting and Vermicomposting
    Plants come with a good bit of debris, including weeds and leaves and overripe fruit. Composting is a great way to turn those scraps back into organic matter for your garden. After going over the basic process - which is much easier than you might think - Ms. Myers builds a worm composter right in the studio. x
  • 12
    Extending the Growing Season
    No matter what part of the country you live in, the growing season inevitably will come to an end. To squeeze out a bit more yield from your garden, delve into several ways to protect your plants from frost. Explore cold frames, hot beds, greenhouses, and more, and then shift your attention to preserving your herbs over the winter. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 12 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 2 DVDs
  • 112-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 112-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Container gardening tips
  • Suggested readings

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Your professor

Melinda Myers

About Your Professor

Melinda Myers
Horticulturist and Certified Arborist
Melinda Myers is a horticulturist, certified arborist, gardening expert, television/radio host, columnist, and author with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She earned her B.S. in Horticulture from The Ohio State University and her M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before launching her own business in 2006, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of Wisconsin...
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How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 42.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top notch! The courses I bought were excellent! Professional and understandable to my novice self. I love these courses and plan for more in the near future!
Date published: 2019-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from New Gardener I really enjoyed this course. I'm a new gardener and I learned a lot.
Date published: 2018-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The title says it all Anyone who has tried to grow their own food gardens will find something in this series of lectures. The Professor covers all aspects including herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees and even adds in some landscaping tips. The lectures are informative and focused and well produced. I've learned more from watching these lectures than I have from years of toiling the soil.
Date published: 2018-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We haven’t finished watching all of it yet. What we have watched appears to be extremely thorough and helpful. The real proof will be in the putting so to speak when we put these ideas into practice.
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! I almost didn't purchase this at all. I thought it would be the same old material that I had seen in community education classes many times before, a review at best. Wow--was I surprised! Each and every lecture was as informative as it was entertaining. Each 30min session was over before I knew it and I found myself eagerly looking forward to the next one. The material was clear and presented in an easy to understand format. I have been gardening for over 45yrs and still learned many new techniques. I can't wait to get dirty again!
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I was very disappointed with this course. I was very disappointed with this course. A lot more could have been accomplished if there was less talking and innuendos. “Remember a picture is worth a thousand words” "More action less talking"
Date published: 2018-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ready to Conquer Anything in the Garden I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Very informative, hands-on approach, and the videos were extremely helpful I wish I had the opportunity to take this course years ago.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as helpful as I needed I'm a novice, but I've been reading articles, watching you-tube videos, planting pots, and studying for several years. I felt this course was more like a feel-good how-to PBS show than really helpful. All I got was lists of possibilities, but I expected critical examination of pros and cons, troubleshooting more than the basic pests and diseases. WHY should I put in raised beds, what are the benefits of certain irrigation systems in specific circumstances, etc. When talking about companion planting, we heard about only 2 pairings of plants. Why did she not talk more about tumbler composters or conditions needed to keep worms alive in various climates? While the seed packets do have good information, I expected more details than "read the seed pack." What are the criteria for botanical zones, what are good sites for finding frost dates, etc. Why should I use peat pots or take out containers for starting seeds when they dry out too quickly and don't give good root development? Yes, she explained what a bare root tree was, but there's more to it than that. This course is way too general, and offered very little I can't get from the back of a seed pack or the planting instructions from the nursery I buy from.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone Looks like a great course. Haven't been able to do it yet as I can't get the sound to work on my computer at work.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Helpful tips Almost didn't buy this because I have been gardening for so long. I wondered what else anyone could say besides what has already been published, but the helpful tips were wonderful and well worth the purchase of the CD.
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Disappointed course did not run on Safari As a user of Mac Computers, iPad and iPhone, I was disappointed that the course lessons did not run on Safari. The course material was good though some of the photography did not give a clear vision of the material.
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Learning a lot I'm a complete novice so I've learned many new things. The instructor goes a little fast sometimes and have to rewind to catch it all but that's the bonus of a video
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I bought a number of titles I LOVE The Great Courses! I feel like a kid in a candy store each time I see what's available (which is everything). From Gardening to Shakespeare to Writng, the education, professionalism and quality of each course surpasses other courses I have ordered. I want to learn a veriety of things and these short courses allow me to do so. I have told many friends about The Great Courses and they too are thrilled with what they have ordered.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from general remarks I can not write about "How to Grow..." at the moment, since I did not have time to look at it closely. I need more time for a review of its content and its applictions.. I can tell you about other lectures I bought, though. Your approaches and presentations are sometimes very good (Tyson's lectures, lectures on Big History, and dr Flippenko's astronomy lectures), but sometimes not so good and even difficult to concentrate (your one lecture set I have about about entry level medicine -I can not recall its name, you can get it from my list of courses I ordered-). In general, my overall grade is positive (7 to 8 out of 10). I found the lectures mostly, well prepared and carefully designed.
Date published: 2017-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of tips and tricks! I finished watching this course over a 5-day week and enjoyed each of the lectures. Something to be learned in each of them. I particularly appreciated some of the great tips for soils, potting edibles, and arranging vegetables and flowers together. Edible landscaping! The production was great and the background was interesting and colorful! Although I am a long-time gardener and am familiar with much of what Melinda Myers discussed, I still learned a few more details and insights from each of the lectures.
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this course. I am an experienced garden and this course covers the topic well. I learned new and helpful gardening tips. I liked the instructors approach and was definitely inspired.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The book with all her recommendations. I have 2 pages of notes from the first DVD. I've ordered many things that I've seen her use. Also sent my soil for testing.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Title is a bit too generalized I loved the ease of understanding this class. I am beginning gardener and it didn't feel over my head. There is so much about soil and prep work that influences the outcome.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course! Very impressed with the course. Very well presented and offers a lot of very helpful tips and information.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone Just starting the course, but have picked up a few tips already.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good basic information This is a well presented course for the beginner gardener. Her presentations are clear, except for how to trim tomato plants. I found my wife cutting just the opposite of what should be done and when we went back and rewatched that portion of the tape I could see how my wife was confused. Other than that a very good basic gardening course.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my first review My wife who has been gardening for years is learning a lot and loves it.
Date published: 2016-10-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty basic stuff I have taken many of the coursed from The Great Courses and I have been generally very happy. How to Grow Anything was not up to the quality of the other courses I have taken. Very simplistic, and I didn't learn much that I didn't already know. If you are a long time gardener, I would skip this one and go for a good book,
Date published: 2016-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course for Brown Thumbs Nearly finished with this set of lectures, and I already have three varieties of tomato seedlings growing on my window sill. I don't think I can say enough to commend Melinda Meyer's course. She is very clear, not in the least vague, about informing, instructing and presenting a lot of course material in each short 30 minute segment. For a serial plant killer like myself, she was exactly what I was hoping for in a gardening instructor. She even answered all my questions, which I'd been carrying around with me mentally for decades, about soil, soil types and what to do about the thick clay soil in my yard. I've tried googling and youtubing instructions and information for better gardening, but I realize now I was wasting my time. This is a pretty thorough course for the beginning, and possibly intermediate, gardener. I recommend this course, well worth the money.
Date published: 2016-02-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Veggies for you and me - and the kids Although I knew much of the content of this course, I did find some new ideas to incorporate into our garden system. In particular I found the section examining growing spaces quite creative. The section of which plants grow well with each other and those that don't was very valuable. A helpful section on weed control will save time and work during the season. While I thought I knew lots, I still had lots to learn.
Date published: 2016-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Grow Anything Food Gardeneing for Everyone I love gardening and have been doing so for many years, however, most of it has been flowers. Roses most of all, however, over the last couple of years I have tried to grow veggies, with some success, this course has really helped me know just what I have been doing wrong. I have all of her courses and each one has helped me improve my yard and this one is helping me grow really wonderful veggies.
Date published: 2016-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course This is a wonderful course to take for anyone who is new to gardening. They teach you how and what to plant as well as how to care for them as they grow. They also teach you how to grow in small places as well as large.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Expert On The Ways of Food Gardening Comprehensive presentations for food gardening from soil preparation to harvesting, although I wished Ms Myers would have gone into more details on food container gardening. As Ms Myers is an expert in her field she does make the entire gardening process look rather easy, but it is really quite time consuming and at times back breaking work. However, a basic but comprehensive knowledge on food gardening is easily obtained from these lectures. In addition, the accompanying course book is detailed and flows nicely with the presentations. For those garden novices think of gardening like cooking... most people are able to garden and cook but few master these skills.
Date published: 2015-06-23
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