Top Ten Summer Courses
In its third year, UVM On-Farm Summer Institute's two, four-course sets rotate every other year so that students who enroll two consecutive summers can finish their UVM undergraduate plant and soil science majors a year early (Each summer counts as one semester).
But many other UVM students welcome these courses to pack their minor areas of study with relevant, practical, lively courses that will serve them well after graduation. Students from other colleges in the Northeast treat this suite of courses as a close-to-home study-abroad adventure with a high yield for their skill set and their transcripts. Life-long learners and new farmers join sign on as a practicum that will propel them in their own pursuits.
PSS 154: Composting Ecology & Management
Examines ecological, physical and chemical principles, the practical management of the composting process, and benefits of using compost in plant and soil ecosystems. Course includes an engaging mix of lectures, hands-on activities and demonstrations, site visits, and guest lectures from seasoned professionals in the compost industry.. Prerequisite: : 3 credits in basic biological or ecological science or permission. Lynn Fang.
PSS 162: Soil Fertility & Conservation
An ecological approach to soil management including nutrient supply and uptake, rhizosphere-microbial interactions, soil conservation, and nutrient management strategies. Prerequisite: PSS 161 or permission. Josef Gorres.
PSS 266: Soil Water Movement
Mathematical modeling and physical principles of the soil-water-plant interaction and its relationship to environmental and agricultural issues. Prerequisite: PSS 161, one semester of physics or permission. Josef Gorres.
PSS 195: Greenhouse Operations and Management
The course is an introduction to the principles and practice of commercial and small scale greenhouse management including construction, environmental control, substrate, nutrient fertilization and integrated pest management. Students will participate in conventional and organic ornamental and vegetable production. Laboratory experiments will focus on nutrient management and substrate selection. Students will visit local innovative small-scale greenhouses, retail operations, ornamental and vegetable production facilities. Prerequisites: PSS 10 or 21, one semester of biology or permission by instructor. Colleen Armstrong.
PSS 296: Ecology of Food Systems
Lectures, readings, field and classroom exercises designed for students to gain an understanding of ecological issues surrounding food systems – from farm to table. Ernesto Mendez.
PSS 156: Permaculture
Study and create designs of agriculturally productive environments that have the diversity, stability and resilience in harmony with the natural biosphere and that integrate landscape and people. Together, the two courses, Permaculture and Permaculture Practicum, earn students 5 credits and Permaculture Design Certification. Prerequisite: Three credits in a basic biological or ecological science or permission and enrollment in the Permaculture Practicum, see below. Keith Morris.
PSS 196: Create & Design Flower Gardens-online
Knowing how to combine perennials well in the garden calls on elements of design, seasonality, sustainability and maintenance. There really is no one right way. Prior knowledge of perennials is useful but not required. Leonard Perry.
PSS 195: Permaculture Practicum
The co-requisite and full-time, on-farm, residential companion to the Permacuture course on a permaculture site in progress. Included farm-sourced and local meals. Prerequisite: Three credits in a basic biological or ecological science or permission and enrollment in Permaculture, see above. Keith Morris.