The chance to learn more about vegetable gardening has proved irresistible to people who are spending copious time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the Oregon State University (OSU) Master Gardeners began offering their online vegetable gardening course for free, more than 17,600 people signed up as of April 1, an OSU Extension stated in a press release. By April 7, more than 24,000 people enrolled in the course. The number continues to grow by a thousand people each day.
The 4–6 hour online vegetable gardening course offers an introduction to basic topics, such as planning, soil, care, and harvesting. It is part of the OSU Master Gardeners Short Course Series, and normally carries a $45 fee
The Master Gardeners posted their offer on Facebook. It was shared more than 4,500 times in its first hours, and now has more than 25,000 shares total.
“Because the Facebook post went viral, we’re also reaching lots of folks from across the country who may not know that they have a university Extension office in their own backyard,” Gail Langellotto, a professor of horticulture and statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program said. “So, I’m also trying to use this as an opportunity to introduce folks to their local Extension office.”
Along with their newfound fame, the Master Gardeners are using the unexpected exposure as an opportunity to direct attention the national Plant a Row for the Hungry effort.
On May 1, the registration fee will be reinstated for people wishing to take the course.