Organic Land Care Accreditation Online

Schedules And Registration

Course Overview


This course is only for landscape professionals with horticulture education and a minimum of 2 years work experience in this field. It focuses on the topics covered in the SOUL Organic Land Care Accreditation exam. If you are considering completing Gaia College's Diplomas or do not have the required education and work experience, please enrol in either the Organic Master Gardener or the Organic Horticulture Specialist course.

The major emphasis in this OLC course is on soil management, and the connection between soil health and landscape health. Using Organic Turf Management as an example, you will learn a new decision making framework that will enable you to work with natural processes to create and maintain healthy, beautiful landscapes.

Course Description

Soil is the foundation of landscape health. Whether you grow ornamental gardens, turf or vegetables, you need to understand how soil works.

All too often soil is looked at primarily as a "growing medium", something lifeless and sterile. However, soil is the exact opposite; it's an ecosystem and needs to be managed as such. The greatest biodiversity on earth occurs, or should occur, in the top few inches of soil. Soil ecosystem health and plant health are inseparably linked.

Soil processes are universal, applying equally to ornamental landscapes, turf and agricultural crops. Our job is primarily one of fine-tuning.

In this intensive, professional course you will learn how to

  • assess the health of your soil and
  • support the natural processes within the soil that result in plant health.

You will learn how the use of environmental toxins is counterproductive to achieving your landscape goals. A new decision making framework will be presented to enable you to work with nature to create and maintain healthy, beautiful landscapes, including lawns.

Support for the process of transitioning a landscape from chemical dependency to organic self-sufficiency is what sets this course apart from traditional soil science courses.

Topics include:

  • What does "organic" really mean?
  • Ecological foundation of organic practice
  • Health within ecosystems
  • Soil ecology, biology and chemistry
  • Soil / water relationship and water management
  • Soil testing
  • Nutritional causes of landscape health problems
  • Soil systems management
  • Pesticides and their effect on ecosystems
  • Unintended side effects of some conventional landscape practices
  • Transitioning landscapes to organic practices

This workshop is ideal for professional gardeners who wish to eliminate their use of toxic chemicals:

  • landscapers
  • turf managers
  • farmers

Those who have been practicing conventional horticulture will find their practices challenged, nagging doubts exposed, questions answered they didn't even know they had, and new questions arising. Everyone will gain a deeper understanding of now nature works.

Be prepared for a paradigm shift!

To receive a Certificate of Completion students must contribute to all on-line discussions and satisfactorily complete all assignments and quizzes. The SOUL Organic Land Care Accreditation Exam is not included in this course.

Student Comment

The Accreditation Course has amazing resources for future projects and staff training. I really valued the discussions and input from industry pros!
Luis Oliveira, Toronto