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Crops I (Outdoor Plant Production)

Course CodeBHT112
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

The Perfect Introduction to Crop Production 

Learn about how to choose the right system to grow a range of different horticultural crops from row crops to broad acre crops and tree fruits.

See how soil is related to production yield and quality, how organic methods can be applied to any crop and which types of systems are better suited to particular crops.

This diverse distance education course is the ideal introduction to developing knowledge about different crop groups so that students can see where their interests lie and go on to develop them further.    

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Crop Production Systems
    • Explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops
  2. Organic Crop Production
    • Evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  3. Soils and Nutrition
    • Understand the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  4. Nursery Stock Production
    • Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  5. Tree Fruit Production
    • Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  6. Soft Fruits Production
    • Develop an understanding of the techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  7. Vegetable Production
    • Develop an understanding of the techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  8. Cut Flower Production
    • Develop an understanding of the commercial production of outdoor cut flowers.
  9. Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops
    • Develop an understanding of the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  10. Crop Production Risk Assessment
    • Understand the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops.
  • Evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  • Explain the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  • Explain techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  • Explain techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  • Explain the commercial production of outdoor-grown cut flowers.
  • Describe the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  • Identify the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

What Should You Grow?

Horticultural crops can include a wide variety of things:  Fruit, Berry Fruit, Nuts, Vines, Vegetables, Cut Flowers, Bulbs,  Container Plants, Loose rooted plants, Herbs and their products, Seed, Fibres, Teas, Coffees etc.

Any of these crops may be grown either on a large scale, commercially; or on a much smaller scale either to sell, or for home use.

For small scale production horticulture it is very important to be sure of your market or intended use and grow for that market or use.  It is difficult for the small scale producer to compete with the large scale grower for the open market.

HOW THEN DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO GROW?
Are you producing for your own needs, for the market, or for both? 

A. IF PRODUCING FOR YOUR OWN NEEDS:   (Subsistence crop)   
Your market is assured here.  It is difficult to go wrong provided you do the following:
You must have or develop the skills required.
Check and be sure that you can grow each particular crop cheaper than what you might buy the product for BEWARE, even though it may seem ridiculous, it is often possible to buy something for less than it might cost you to grow it.

B.  IF GROWING TO MARKET:
Your market is rarely assured, and when it is, there are disadvantages attached to the advantage of a guaranteed market.

  • Study the demand of alternative crops under consideration and select high demand crops.
  • Consider the crop's keeping quality.  Crops which keep for short periods only (eg: Peaches) are more of a risk than ones which keep well (eg: Almonds).
  • Consider when the crop will be sold and the likely changes in demand throughout the year.
  • Consider the relationship between cost outlay and return.  Some crops require large capital outlay before any return can be obtained (eg: Walnut orchard property and labour etc. can be tied up for up to 10 years before reasonable crops start to be obtained from the trees).
  • Consider the scale on which that crop is normally grown commercially.  Crops grown on large scales (eg: Wheat) are subject to scale economies i.e. they need to be grown on large scales to achieve a reasonable cost efficiency.
  • Consider how well established that particular sector of the horticultural industry is, and study what other people growing that crop are doing.  If everyone plants a particular crop because there has recently been a high demand next year may result in an over production of that crop, and very cheap prices.
  • How suitable is that crop to the soil and climate of your area.
  • Consider your own experience and technical ability in relation to the ease of production of the particular crop being considered.  Some crops are very difficult to grow; others are easy.  If you are inexperienced, start with the easy ones.
  • Consider likely transportation and marketing of crops
  • Consider the time the crop takes to mature and length of production of the particular crop considered (eg: Radishes can be harvested 4 to 6 weeks after sowing if grown right. Pear trees take 4 years before you get a worthwhile crop, but will keep bearing for over 100 years).
  • What are your existing resources (eg: Manpower, machinery area available, money etc) and what crops are these resources suited to.
  • Consider market presentation and preferences before beginning a venture.  Some crops require a larger capital outlay to package and present at market than others (eg: Some fruits need to be packed in special boxes).  Red apples sell better in some places than green apples. Container plants sell better in plastic containers than in tins.

Why Study With Us?

Education doesn't stop with finishing school or completing a certificate or degree. Education is a lifelong pursuit. Whatever you have studied previously goes towards your own foundation - your knowledge and your skill set. But it's never too late to add to that foundation. Here at ACS we promote learning because we recognise the importance of continually striving to improve your understanding, and the benefits it will bring to you, both now and into the future.

How Can This Course Help Me?

This course is designed to be of benefit to people who are interested in learning how to grow different types of crops including vegetables, tree fruits, soft fruits, and cut flowers. 

Take this course if you would like to:

  • Develop a broad understanding of crop growing.
  • Find ways to improve a crop growing business.
  • Enhance your employability in crops growing businesses such as orchards, nurseries and farms.
  • Improve your knowledge of horticultural and agricultural growing techniques.
  • Grow crops on a small scale - either for home use or on a small property.

This course may be studied by itself or along with other 100-hour modules as part of a self-designed proficiency award, certificate or higher level qualification.

 



Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.
Gavin ColeB.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".


Check out our eBooks

Organic GardeningCreate a healthy, well-balanced garden. Attract abundant beneficial insects to pollinate your plants. Have healthy, fertile, organic soils teeming with life. Use this book as a guide to establish lush gardens laden with fruit, vegetables, herbs and ornamentals - without the use of chemicals. The ebook covers: soils and nutrition, pest and disease, natural weed control, conservation and recycling. 179 pages, 170 colour photos
Commercial HydroponicsLearn to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. A classic, republished with new images, a new layout and revised text. Contains unique advice on growing 102 different plants hydroponically! 74 pages
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more. This book has nine chapters covering the following topics: an introduction to herbs, cultivation, propagation, pest and diseases, herb gardens, an A-Z plant directory, using herbs, features for herb gardens, herbs in pots - 113 colour photos 61 pages
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.