Urban Gardening 2019 Series: How To Have A Healthy Garden | FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE
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Urban gardening 2019 series: How to have a healthy garden

Date and Time

The workshop is over two Saturdays:

  • 6 and 13 July 2019, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day

Note: this is a single event workshop, split over two Saturdays. This means the workshop starts on July 6, then continues the following Saturday, July 13. In other words, workshop participants will need to attend both days: 6 and 13 July 2019 (time 0900-1700 each day).

What is the workshop about? Should I attend?

If you are a:

  • urban gardener
  • gardening hobbyist or enthusiast
  • farmer, or
  • landowner thinking of using your land for farming

then this workshop is for you. This workshop provides you with just enough science and technical knowledge about:

  • the properties of soils and what make them fertile or healthy,
  • maintaining or improving soil fertility for your plants and trees, and
  • diagnosing and overcoming common plant problems such as nutrient deficiencies, pests and diseases attacks, and watering.

No knowledge of soil or plant science is required, only a keen interest in gardening! You should attend this workshop if you wish to go beyond the cursory knowledge and into a deeper understanding of healthy soils and plants.

What topics are being taught?

The workshop is split over two full Saturdays, where for each day, the lecture begins in the morning for three hours (with a break), followed by lunch, then hands-on practice for the next three hours in the afternoon, either in the lab or field.

At the end of the course, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What makes a healthy soil? How do I know if my soil is fertile?
  2. Are all soils the same?
  3. What are the important plant nutrients?
  4. What kind of fertilizers should I apply and how should I apply them?
  5. What is and how important is soil organic matter and composting?
  6. How much should I water my plants?
  7. How can I overcome attacks by pests and diseases on my plants?
  8. What are some examples of natural fertilizers and pest control?


Programme for 6 July 2019 (Saturday)

Activity Time
Welcoming address
  • Head of the Dept. of Land Management
0900 – 0905
Briefing on the Urban Gardening Workshop
  • Dr. Christopher Teh Boon Sung, Chairperson
0905 – 0915
  • Creating the perfect soil: Art or myth?
    • The differences between soil types
    • Making our own soil: potting mix
  • Common problems of our soils
    • High soil acidity
    • Low soil nutrients and diagnosing nutrient deficiencies
0915 – 1045
Tea break 1045 – 1115
  • Correcting for soil acidity: Liming
  • Correcting for low soil nutrients: Fertilization
    • What type and how much fertilizers to apply?
    • Differences between organic and mineral fertilizers
1115 – 1300
Lunch 1300 – 1400
Practical (hands-on) work
  • Soil types demo and potting mix
  • Look under the microscope: Soil micromorphology
  • Fertilizer types demo and fertilizer calculations
1400 – 1700


Programme for 13 July 2019 (Saturday)

Activity Time
  • How to build up organic matter in our soils
    • Mulching
    • Composts
  • Plant watering
    • How much to water?
    • Common watering problems
    • Watering methods
0900 – 1030
Tea break 1030 – 1100
  • How to protect our plants from pests and diseases?
    • Diagnosing problems
    • Natural control for pests and diseases
1100 – 1230
Lunch 1230 – 1330
Practical (hands-on) work
  • Compost making
  • Look under the microscope: soil microbes
  • How to make our own natural pest control
1330 – 1630
Closing, feedback, and certificate presentation 1630 – 1700


Medium of instruction


Workshop fee

The workshop fee is RM500 per person, but payments received on or before 31 May 2019 will receive a 10% discount.

Dates Fees (RM)
On or before 31 May 2019 (Early bird) RM450
After 31 May 2019 (normal) RM500

The fee includes notes handouts, lunch, and snacks. Please bring your own notebook and stationery for notes taking. Also, dress suitably for outdoor gardening work.

Workshop registration

Register Online

Venue of the workshop

Block B, Dept. of Land Management, Faculty of Agriculture, Uni. Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor

Your trainers

Dr. Christopher Teh Boon Sung
Soil and water conservationist
Fac. of Agriculture, UPM

Dr. Christopher Teh, Ph.D. is a lecturer in agriculture at the Dept. of Land Management, Uni. Putra Malaysia. His field of specialty is in soil and water conservation. He has several publications in books, journals, conference proceedings, and newspapers. He was the contributor for the Dear Plant Doctor monthly column in The Star newspaper, running for 10 months, for promoting and helping urban gardeners. He has also won several teaching innovations awarded by his university for teaching excellence.

Dr. Tan Ngai Paing
Soil chemist
Fac. of Agriculture, UPM

Dr. Tan Ngai Paing holds a Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Science, specializing in understanding the nutrient dynamics in soil and plant system. His research focuses on the effective use of plant nutrients for plant growth especially in oil palm trees; evaluating the effectiveness of different fertilizers and identifying plants with better nutrient uptake ability. In the university, he teaches courses such as Fundamentals of Soils Science, Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, and Sustainable Soils Management.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wong Mui Yun
Plant pathologist
Fac. of Agriculture, UPM

Associate Professor Dr. Wong Mui Yun obtained a Ph.D. in the field of Plant Pathology and Biotechnology. Her interest in agriculture started when she was enrolled in a Bachelor of Agricultural Science program at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She has been a lecturer/researcher in UPM for 14 years. Besides teaching, her research interests include plant disease diagnosis, biological control and molecular plant pathology focusing on plantation crops, rice, fruits, and vegetables. She is also actively involved in giving professional services especially to the oil palm industry and the community at large.


Uni. Putra Malaysia Garderners' Gold MY




Download the workshop flyers (PDF, 4.18 Mb)


Contact: Dr. Christopher Teh Boon Sung (Tel: 03-8947 4858; cbsteh@yahoo.com)

Updated:: 28/02/2019 [chris]


Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan
+603-9769 4802
+603-9769 4004