The best thing about this class is that the instructors can't read my mind. The various extension agents who teach the classes all end up sharing stories of individuals who called in with some gardening/plant related problem. Usually these problems are caused by the individual's actions or lack there of. Often times these stories are delivered in a tone of disbelief.
If the instructor could read my mind, I might have to sheepishly raise my hand and say, "Um, yeah, I did that, too." as I shrink down in my chair.
This way I can nod my head, pretend, and be like, "Yeah, can you believe that person did that!" I don't have to confess to all my gardening faults and failures.
The worst part of the class is that now I won't have any excuses for my gardening screw-ups, because now I will know what is causing them, for instance, all the brown areas in my lawn (apparently caused by both my poor irrigation techniques and tweaks we did that messed up the pressurized system).
The teachers do give you an out, though. They tell you to tell your neighbors that "I'm doing an experiment on..." That way if your project bottoms out, everyone will think you are scientific rather than inept.
In reality, I am learning a ton of great stuff that I think will really boost my garden and my yard. Now I just need to try to keep ahead of the weeds!
So far we have focused on greenhouses, basic botany, composting, lawn management, plant pathology, soils, irrigation, and nutrients. In the remaining time of the fifteen-week course, we will discuss vegetables, landscape design and maintenance, tree pruning, woody ornamentals, entomology (aka bugs), herbaceous ornamentals, fruit production, pesticide application and weeds, and plant diagnostics.
If you are interested in this program, contact your local extension office. I believe this class is offered annually in many locations. Class fees are $60 if you want to be certified and agree to do 40 hours of gardening-related community service in the upcoming year or $100 if you just want to be in the class. You also have the option of paying tuition to the University of Idaho and receiving 3 college credits.