Soil Basics, Intensive Session is unfortunately unavailable

Thankfully we have 14 other Gardening Classes for you to choose from. Check our top choices below or see all classes for more options.

Soil Basics, Intensive Session

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe

Course Details
Start Date:

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
If you're enrolled in an upcoming date, this simply means that date has now sold out.

Glencoe, Suburbs
1000 Lake Cook Road
Btwn Edens Exprsswy/Rt 41 & Green Bay Rd
Chicago, Illinois 60022
Venue: Classroom 4, Learning Center
Purchase Options
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 12
Teacher: Ellen Phillips

What you'll learn in this gardening class:

Soil is an irreplaceable natural resource that affects plant selection and growth. Learn to maintain healthy soil; use compost, fertilizers, soilless and potting mixes, and other amendments. Discover how water cycles through a garden and affects soils and plants. Begin to appreciate the circle of life within our soils.

Required text
Secrets to Great Soil by Elizabeth Stell

Required Materials:
  • 3 ring binder
  • Materials for taking notes
  • Soil Sample, required for the first session
Required Soil Sample:
All students will need to bring a soil sample to the first class session. Detailed instructions on how to collect your sample and the required label information to include is below.

Please remember:
  • Sample must be in a sealed Ziploc or sealable plastic baggie clearly labeled with your information on the outside of the bag.
  • Your sample must be 1 cup of soil, do not submit extra.
  • Plastic containers or glass is unacceptable.
  • Any samples brought in that do not meet these specifications will not be submitted.
  • No soil-less mixes or potting soil will be accepted.
  • This sample is required to complete the class.
Additional Information:
If you want to use your own soil for some of the experiments that occur in class, please bring another Ziploc bag with a 4 cup scoop of soil in it (not broken up or sub-sampled). Label the outside of the bag with your name, so it can be saved and used in all the sessions.

Soil Sampling and Testing Instructions

Equipment: Use a clean bucket or other suitable container in which to collect the soil samples and to mix them. The tool used to take the samples can be any of the following: a soil probe or a soil auger is best but a trowel or a garden spade can also be used. With ashovel or trowel cut a one-inch slice down one side of the hole. It is also important to have an equal slice from top to bottom.

Where to Sample: Lime and fertilizer recommendations can be no better than the sample submitted. Be sure the sample is representative of the area to be treated. The teaspoon of soil finally used for analysis weighs a few ounces in comparison to about 50,000 pounds of soil per 1000 square feet to a six-inch depth. Make a simple map of your yard. Before sampling the landscape, look for differences. If areas have been managed differently, they should be sampled separately. Soils with different characteristics, such as color, texture and drainage should be separate samples. Identify on the map the different areas where you will take a composite sample.

Taking the Soil Sample
1) Within the area selected for a sample (i.e. Vegetable garden or rose garden or lawn, etc), dig a hole. The depth depends on what you are trying to grow. Sample depth should be:
  • lawn - 3 or 4 inches deep
  • shrubs and trees - 12 inches
  • flower and vegetable crops - 6 to 8 inches
2) Take a probe of soil or a slice of soil from the edge of the hole. Place this subsample in a pail or pan. Remove roots, stones, earthworms, etc. Fill in the subsample hole.

3) Repeat this procedure in at least three to eight well-scattered spots within the chosen area. The larger the area the more subsamples you need for a good composite soil sample. Place each slice in the pail with those previously taken.

4) Break up clods and mix soil thoroughly with the hands. Place 1 cup of the mixed soil into a labeled sample bag. Discard the remainder of the soil. Providing complete information about samples allows for better fertilizer recommendations.

Packaging the Sample for Class Submission
1) Samples should be brought to your first class session. Regenstein School will be submitting for the class.

2) Pack the sample (thoroughly air-dried) in a sealed plastic bag.

Label the outside of the sample with:
  • Your name
  • The following information: “flower garden,” “vegetable garden,” “shrub border,” “orchard,” “lawn,” and so on.
3) On a separate sheet of paper: Include information describing the history of the sampling area such as what was grown in the garden (lawn, special trouble area or place) last year and what has been done to the soil, such as adding manure or other organic matter. Also include information about what you intend to use the area for such as vegetables, flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass. Attach this to the bag.

Source: Ellen Phillips, Crop Systems Educator, Countryside Extension Center, 6438 Joliet Road, Countryside, IL; 708-352-0109, [email protected], (modified from Cook Co. Soil Sampling)

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Refund requests must be submitted to [email protected] prior to the program’s start date. The registration fee will be refunded less a 10 percent processing charge.

Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable on and after the program’s start date. We cannot refund fees requested on or after the start date of a program or for sessions missed due to student illness or other personal situations.

Registration fees for courses grouped and priced as a series will be considered one program and subject to all of the above guidelines. A refund request must be received prior to the start date of the series' first class session and will subsequently cancel your registration in every session of the series. If you choose to re-register for other sessions in the series, the special discount does not apply.


Google Map

Chicago Botanic Garden

All classes at this location

The Learning Center is located in the Regenstein Learning Campus. (a five-minute walk from the parking lot).

Start Dates (0)

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!

Similar Classes

Benefits of Booking Through CourseHorse

Booking is safe. When you book with us your details are protected by a secure connection.
Lowest price guaranteed. Classes on CourseHorse are never marked up.
This class will earn you 3370 points. Points give you money off your next class!
Questions about this class?
Get help now from a knowledge expert!
Questions & Answers (0)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Reviews of Classes at Chicago Botanic Garden (55)

School: Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden opened a little more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world's great living museums and conservation science centers. In 2013, one million people visited the Garden's 26 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on...

Read more about Chicago Botanic Garden

CourseHorse Approved

This school has been carefully vetted by CourseHorse and is a verified Chicago educator.

Want to take this class?

Save to Wish List
Taking this class for work? Get exclusive perks & discounts for free.

14 Top Choices

Rooftop Farming

at Chicago Botanic Garden - North Lawndale 3555 Ogden Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60623

Growing on a rooftop presents its own challenges and rewards. Learn from a seasoned rooftop farmer about what the city requires for a rooftop buildout. Participants will be guided through the many decisions you’ll make as you begin or expand your own rooftop farm or garden. 

Saturday Sep 21st, 10:30am - 4:30pm

Ikebana: Japanese Floral Arranging

at The Morton Arboretum - Lisle 4100 Illinois Rte 53, Lisle, Illinois 60532

Capture the graceful curve of an unfolding bud, the surprise of new leaves, or the lightness of a cloud through Ikebana -- the art of Japanese flower arranging. The instructors will demonstrate several techniques and then help you create your favorite version. All plant materials will be collected fresh from the Arboretum grounds. Each student will...

Saturday Sep 28th, 1pm - 3:30pm

Bird Walk: Fall Migration

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois 60022

Take a walk in the Garden and learn to identify birds in their sometimes-confusing fall plumage. Earlier bird walks will highlight warblers, vireos, and flycatchers, while later ones will feature ducks, sparrows, and hawks. Dress for the weather and bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them.

Wednesday Sep 25th, 7:30am - 9am

The Magic of Minor Bulbs

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Minor bulbs are among the most useful groups of bulbs because they are excellent in naturalistic gardens and in ground cover plantings, and they provide a blanket of color amid emerging perennials in early spring. You will explore many varieties including those that deer resistant.

Thursday Sep 26th, 10am - 12pm

Charming Bungalow Garden Design

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Bungalows and Arts and Crafts-inspired houses are typically charming smaller homes found in cities and suburbs across the country. These popular style homes are appealing because they were often designed to be in harmony with nature and outdoor living. Discover how plants, hardscape, and other elements can enhance your own bungalow garden.

Saturday Nov 9th, 1pm - 3pm

Gardening Techniques: Session A

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Learn tips and techniques used by professional gardeners through a combination of lecture and hands-on activities. Acquire solid gardening skills and determine best management practices. We will cover fall planting, bulbs, turf care, plant wildlife protection, garden maintenance, and winterization.  Dress for the weather. A supply list will...

Saturday Oct 12th, 7:30am - 10:30am

  (6 sessions)

6 sessions


at Chicago Botanic Garden - North Lawndale 3555 Ogden Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60623

Participants will learn the fundamental principles of aquaponics production, as well as tips and tricks for building an at-home or small-scale aquaponics system. This course will include hands-on work with the nursery system and the 52,000-gallon aquaponics production system.

Saturday Oct 12th, 10:30am - 4:30pm

Peonies Rediscovered

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Peonies, the elegant grand dames of gardens past, are coming back into favor. There are wide arrays of varieties to choose from, including lovely doubles, chiffon-like singles and stately tree peonies, and even some that will tolerate shade.  Heather Sherwood will discuss and demonstrate division, proper planting depth, and other cultural techniques...

Tuesday Oct 15th, 6pm - 8pm

Succulents 101

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Do you think you lack a green thumb? Do you have trouble keeping plants alive? Justin Schmitz will introduce you to the captivating world of succulents.  He will discuss the needs and care techniques of common succulents and cactus, explain what succulence in plants really means, and give other examples of low-maintenance arid plants.

Monday Oct 21st, 6pm - 8pm

Growing Herbs Indoors and Out

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, basil, and oregano are staple herbs for cooks, and there are many more that are just as easy to grow. In summer, herbs attract pollinators and add fragrance to the garden, and in winter, they can brighten a kitchen counter or windowsill. Discover the joy of growing, harvesting, and using your own fresh herbs.  This...

Saturday Oct 26th, 10am - 12pm

Planning Your Vegetable Garden

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

Fall is a great time to start planning next year’s vegetable and herb gardens. Learn about soil preparation and tests, vegetable garden layouts, heirloom and modern cultivars, and when and how to plant for a continued, flavorful harvest.

Saturday Oct 26th, 1pm - 3pm

Aquaponics Intensive

at Chicago Botanic Garden - North Lawndale 3555 Ogden Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60623

This course is for individuals seriously considering or already in the process of aquaponic food production on a commercial scale. This three-day course is a comprehensive look at the design and build-out of a system, water quality, controlled environment growing, daily operations and growing techniques. Instruction will include hands-on work and lectures....

Friday Nov 8th, 8:30am - 4:30pm

  (3 sessions)

3 sessions

Prairie Flowers for the Home Garden

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Chicago, Illinois 60022

If you have a sunny spot in your garden, you can create a butterfly and pollinator habitat with many native prairie plants. This class will look at a dozen easy-to-grow natives and native cultivars that provide bloom from early summer through fall.

Saturday Nov 9th, 10am - 12pm

Juniper Bonsai Workshop

at Chicago Botanic Garden - Glencoe 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Illinois 60022

Juniper bonsai require unique care including soil type, feeding, pruning, and wiring. Bring your own juniper to work on after an in-depth presentation on these special trees.

Wednesday Nov 13th, 6pm - 9pm