Published by: Julia
Let Ron Finley teach you the gardening skills you need to grow absolutely anything. His straight-talking teaching style is a fast and easy way to learn.
Who is Ron Finley – the guerilla gardener?
Ron Finley is passionate about gardening. He understands how empowering planting and growing your food and beautifying your surroundings is. As he said in his TED talk “If kids grow kale, kids eat kale; if they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.”
He is one of the world´s leading guerilla gardening advocates. A man who fought to enable the people to grow food along the curbs in the city of Los Angeles.
When he first planted vegetables in a strip of land between his house and the street, he was made to scrub it up. A few years later he had another go and was cited again. But, this time he fought the order and got the city to permit people to grow vegetables the community could pick along their neighborhood curbs without fear of being fined. Since then his food forest movement has grown and transformed the lives of many people in the city, across America and in other countries.
You may think you do not have green thumbs, but you do. Plants have everything in common with you. When you learn to maintain plants you learn a lot about maintaining yourself too.Ron Finley How to Garden Masterclass
What Ron Finley´s Gardening Masterclass has to offer you
The main focus of this masterclass is growing food. But, the skills that you learn can definitely be used to grow all kinds of other plants and trees.
Ron takes you through the following gardening skills, step-by-step:
- How to turn lifeless, sterile ground into fertile soil
- How to grow your own food
- How to keep your plants healthy
- How to improve your yield
- How to create planters
- Tapping into your creativity to become a better gardener
By the way, we recommend purchasing Masterclass for more than just one single course. The value comes when you take several. If you want to read our review of the whole platform, check out this Masterclass review article.
If you want to just find out what some of the best masterclasses are, this is the article for you.
What I liked about Ron Finley´s masterclass
Overall, I liked this masterclass. The timing of its release was particularly good for me because I have just started growing my own food.
Below is a summary of the features and lessons that I found to be particularly useful :
- Ron´s relaxed and easy to follow teaching style – he explains things clearly and does so quickly.
- The length of this masterclass – some of the other Masterclasses I have taken have been overlong, there is too much waffle, that is definitely not the case with this gardening Masterclass. It is just right.
- A practical workbook – once you have done the course, you can easily just use the workbook as your main reference source. It is really well written.
- In-depth how-to grow guides – the gardening principles Ron shares will enable you to grow virtually any kind of vegetables. But, he also takes the time to show you how to plant, care for, and harvest several of the easiest to grow vegetables.
- Plenty of useful tips – throughout the course, Ron shares lots of practical tips. For example, shaking plants apart, rather than immediately pulling them apart, which reduces the chance of your tearing the roots or damaging the plant.
- Information about the health properties of various plants – the fact that it was practically impossible to buy fresh food in his area was one of the things that got Ron interested in urban gardening. He wanted to encourage people to improve their lives by giving their bodies what they needed. So, unsurprisingly, as he goes through the course Ron shares details about the various health properties of the foods he grows.
The cons of Ron Finley´s food gardening course
With this course, there really are no cons. It is that good. The only thing I would have liked to see him do was to cover the subject of pest control, which he did not really do.
How to quickly condition poor soil
Without good soil, which Ron calls “black gold”, you won´t get far. When you want to grow your own food, it is vital that your soil is soft, gloomy, and able to retain just the right amount of water.
In this section, Ron takes you through different soil types. Then, explains which ingredients you need to add to turn it into the kind of soil that provides ideal growing conditions.
Here is a summary of what you will learn in this lesson:
- Identify the type of soil you have
- Add what you need to improve and turn it into fertile soil
- How to speed up the composting process
- Understanding composting ingredients
- Using worms to quickly improve your soil and how to encourage more to take up residency (worm tea)
- What is vermiculture
- How to test your soil
Easy to implement gardening assignments
Like most masterclass instructors, Ron includes assignments in his course. He has clearly thought carefully about these. They are really practical and the kind of thing you can do without needing to spend a lot of time or money.
Putting what you have just been taught is an excellent way of embedding what you have learned. So, I was particularly pleased to see him doing this.
Creating your own planters
This section was one of my favorites. I like gardening using containers and planters. It gives you far more control over the soil conditions and provided they are small and not too heavy you can move them around. So, if, in the summer, some of your plants look like they are struggling with the heat, you can move them to a shadier spot.
- Upcycling containers
- Preparing your containers
- What you can grow in planters
Ron Finley´s drawer garden is especially innovative. You can even grow some types of root vegetables in these unique planters.
A roundup of the tools every gardener needs
You can get started with practically no tools. If necessary you can dig a hole with a stick. But, in time, you will want to and need to buy some tools. About half of the planter video relates to buying the right equipment.
Ron takes you through the full range of tools. Explaining as he goes what you need to look for when buying each one. With a few tips about how to use them safely thrown in.
How to grow plants without a garden
Ron is keen for everyone to be able to grow their own food. His container garden ideas are innovative. So much so that anyone can potentially grow at least some of their own fruit and veg. For example, his sack potato growing method could be used by someone who only has a small cement yard or a balcony.
He really is the king of urban gardens.
Ron Finley´s grow your own food guide
As well as teaching you the principles of gardening, he shows you how to apply them. The main way he does that is by showing you how to plant, nourish, and harvest the following vegetables:
- How to grow greens
- Growing legumes
- Ron Finley´s sweet potato growing guide
- How to grow herbs
I particularly liked Ron´s approach to growing herbs. For example, grouping perennials together is a great way of saving yourself work and getting better results.
During this video, he mentions the idea of using a sprig of rosemary to flavor some water. I tried it and he is right it is lovely. I like putting a sprig in a cup and pouring hot water over it. But, it is also nice if you crush it a little and pour cool water over the top. Crushing it a little before you put it in the glass releases some of the oil and ensures that you can enjoy the taste.
How to improve your yield and save money using propagation skills
Ron’s amazing garden has been mostly created using propagation. He rarely buys plants. Instead, he takes cuttings and uses several forms of propagation to grow one plant from another.
I learned how to do this at school, but it seemed complicated. However, when you watch Ron do it, you soon realize that it is actually quite easy. You just need to know where to cut and to remember to strip the leaves and fruit to force the cutting to root.
Plants want to grow, plants want to thrive, they want to live and we can help them do that.Ron Finely Teaches Gardening Masterclass
- Growing from fruit tree cuttings
- How to propagate healthy sugar cane
- Three ways to get any cutting to put out roots
- How to propogate using the plant division technique
- How to get new aloe vera plants
He even shows you how to propagate sugar cane. We don´t have that in our gardens where I live. But, if you do, you really should have a go at propogating it and sharing it with your friends. Apparently, it is an amazingly healthy plant. I always think of sugar as being a bad thing.
How not to kill your plants
Maintaining my plants has always been a big issue for me. Yet, in 20 minutes, Ron tackles all of the following issues:
- How to identify your climate zone
- Understanding how to use a frost table to grow more
- Working out how long a plant needs to complete its growth cycle
- Identifying microclimates in your yard
- How to prune to reinvigorate your plants and keep them strong
- The principles of deadheading to keep your plants growing
- How to rescue root-bound plants
- Mastering watering
- Getting the most out of the available sunlight
My only criticism is that he does not cover the subject of dealing with pests, in this section of the course.
Deadheading is a great way to get more of what you want and need from your plants.Ron Finley Gardening Course – Masterclass.com
Ron Finley´s gardening workbook PDF
The workbook accurately reflects what is in the videos, which makes it easy for you to dip in and out of the videos. Plus, the workbook is an enjoyable read.
The PDF format masterclass uses for their workbooks is ideal. It makes them really easy to download and read anywhere you want. They look great even when viewed on a mobile.
Why I recommend this gardening masterclass
If you want to get started with growing your own food, you will be able to do so immediately after taking this course. Somehow he has managed to distill the essentials of gardening down and present it in a course that you can easily complete before lunch.
More about Masterclass courses
It is great to see the Masterclass platform branching out and starting to provide practical courses that teach people skills they can use in their everyday life. I´ve used the Masterclass pass that enables me to access all of their 80 odd courses for a single payment to learn all kinds of things. Virtually all of these courses were great, but I am actually enjoying their more recent masterclasses more.
As you can see from my full Masterclass review, you get a lot for your money with this online course provider. If you have not already done so, I urge you to sign up and start your learning journey by taking their most recent courses first.