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Qualification - Certificate In Horticulture (Herbs)

Course CodeVHT002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)700 hours


There are two parts to this course: Core studies to provide a broad foundation in the identification and culture of plants; and stream studies which are focused only on herbs.

" I wanted to study herbs .... ACS offered the best option - study at home, at my own pace and still tutor contact when I needed it. I was undecided in the facet of herbs that I wanted to specialise in - that was until I completed an assignment to produce three herbal products. My tutor tested my products and encouraged me to set up a small business making and distributing a range of natural herbal cosmetic and household products. His guidance has helped me establish an interesting and profitable business from my studies"
- Catherine, studying Certificate in Applied Management


The Core Units are divided into the following sections:
1. Introduction to Plants -Taxonomy, plant families, pressing plants, basic botany.
2. Plant Culture -Planting, potting, plant selection, pruning, irrigation, tools and machinery.
3. Soils and Nutrition -Soil structure, chemistry, nutrition, potting media.
4. Plant Identification and Use -Seed harvesting and storage, germination treatments, cuttings, etc.
5. Pests, Diseases and Weeds -Identification and treatment (chemical and non-chemical).


Through these specialised stream studies, the student will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

  • List and describe a range of contacts and resources.
  • Use prescribed reference books and other resources to gain relevant information.
  • Review the way plants are classified.
  • Compile a list of dried herbs commonly sold through retail shops.
  • Explain the differences in the way plants perform in different microclimates within the same area.
  • Visit and report on the operation of a herb farm.
  • Prepare lists of herbs suited to growing in different situations.
  • Explain the benefits of organic growing.
  • Describe appropriate weed control methods to use when growing herbs.
  • Demonstrate competence to harvest, dry and store herbs.
  • Demonstrate and make up three different herb crafts.
  • Describe how different herb crafts are made.
  • Cook a complete meal using herbs to appropriately flavour all courses and beverages.
  • Produce a saleable culinary herb product (eg: herb biscuit or confectionary).
  • Describe the use of herbs in different types of beverages and foods.
  • Describe different herb medicines.
  • In broad terms, compare herbal medicines with pharmaceutical.
  • Develop a "safe" preventative program of herbal medicines using only herbs and dosage levels which are widely and clearly accepted as having no side effects.
  • Describe a herb farming venture which has a high viability potential.
  • List herb products which are in high demand.
  • Describe a program to market produce from a herb farm.
  • Undertake harvesting and drying several different herbs, under a variety of different conditions.
  • Describe the harvest and post harvest requirements of different herbs.
  • Describe several problems which affect post harvest quality and explain how quality is affected.
  • Record methods of obtaining herbal oils.
  • Prepare a detailed maintenance program for an ornamental garden.
  • Describe maintenance procedures for a variety of different ornamental garden situations.
  • Conduct simple inexpensive tests on three different potting mixes.
  • Analyse and report on the results from soil tests conducted.
  • Describe suitable soil mixes for container growing different types of plants.
  • List a range of both natural and artificial fertilisers.
  • Describe fertiliser programs to be used in different situations with ornamental plants.
  • Write an advertisement.
  • Design an promotional leaflet to promote a plant variety.
  • Explain basic management procedures and basic staff management skills.
  • Show a reasonable level of communication skill.
  • Develop a business plan and prepare a budget.
  • Design a workplace (in a herb related business) to optimise efficiency and workplace safety.
  • Gather appropriate information required prior to preparing a landscape design.
  • Draw a sketch plan for an ornamental garden.
  • Describe various ways container plants can be used to create different landscape effects.
  • Calculate how to estimate materials and labour in order to quote for a landscape job.
  • Analyse existing garden designs and the garden's effectiveness.
  • Prepare detailed drawings for the construction of at least one garden feature (eg. A seat, wall).
  • Explain the differences between furnishings and other features which can be incorporated into a garden.
  • Analyse an existing park and show how redevelopment would improve the facility.
  • List the choices available in surfacing treatments, advantages and disadvantages of each, and where it might be most appropriate to use each.
  • Be familiar with alternative materials and their respective characteristics in terms of quality and cost.
  • Produce and photograph how to use herbs to create topiary and hedging.
  • Conduct detailed studies of a range of commonly grown herbs (including Mints, Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Garlic, Chamomile and Parsley).
  • Analyse a range of herbs (at least 150 varieties), their identification, culture and use.



The Herb Stream is divided into the following sections:-
1. The Industry Of Herbs 2. Local Herbs
3. Processing Herbs 4. Herb Crafts
5. Culinary & Medicinal Uses 6. Cultivation Of Herbs
7. Herb Farming 8. Marketing & Management
9. Principles Of Landscaping 10. Landscape Materials, Constructions & Costs
11. Landscape Designs Using Herbs 12. Lamiaceae Family Herbs
13. Asteraceae Family Herbs 14. Apiaceae Family Herbs
15. Garlic & Other Herbs

A 700 hour accredited course designed for those who work, or wish to work, in the area of growing and using herbs. This course is similar to other C12CN002 horticulture certificates in its introductory (core) units, but devotes 50% of the course to topics specifically related to growing, harvesting, using, and marketing of herbs and herb products.
Accredited through International Accreditation & Recognition Council

Why study here? ....ACS is different in many ways

  • Established since 1979, Internationally recognised (IARC)
  • Support from an international team of highly qualified herb experts
  • Courses are continually reviewed and revisions are happening every month of the year
  • Courses are "experiential" based learning (This is different to many other schools)



Learning Facilities

ACS follows the old fashioned idea that “the student comes first”. Our staff are told to treat every student as an individual and respond promptly to their enquiries; and the facilities we have developed and continue to develop, are all focused on that goal. Facilities include:

  • Offices in two time zones (UK and Australia) –which means an international team of academics are responding to students 5 days a week and 16 hours a day.
  • An online student room with unique resources that are only available to students studying our courses, including online library.
  • Bookshop offering quality downloadable e books
  • A data base of 20 million words of unique information written by our staff over 3 decades that can be drawn upon if needed by academics for use in supporting our students.
  • Systems that ensure assignments are tracked, marked and returned to students, fast -commonly within a round 1 week & rarely more than 2 weeks (note: many other colleges take longer).
  • The school is active in social networking and encourages students to connect with us and each other.
  • No automated handling of student phone enquiries. When you call you get a real person; or leave a message and a real person will call you back within a day, but more commonly within an hour or two.
  • No additional charges for extra tutor support over the phone or email.
  • Free careers advice for graduates –It is our policy to provide support and advice to our students even after they graduate. If a graduate needs help with getting a CV together, or advice on setting up a business or looking for work; they only need ask.
  • The quality of academic staff is higher than many other colleges.


 How our Courses Differ

  • Courses are continually improved –we invite feedback from all graduates and change courses immediately the need is detected.
  • Courses are relevant to the whole world –we try hard to teach make the learning transferable to any region or country because the world is increasingly a global economy
  • Courses written by our staff, teach different skills to standard courses; giving a unique mix of skills and knowledge to provide a career advantage. Do you want an accredited certificate and the same skills as 100 other job applicants; or one of our courses with skills that no other applicants have?
  • Certificates and diplomas are longer. They teach you more, and our qualifications have built a reputation amongst academics and industry as being a very high standard for this reason.
  • We are focused on helping you learn in a way that improves your capacity to understand your discipline, apply knowledge, and continue learning and developing your capabilities beyond your course.

These things cannot be always said of other colleges.


Career Opportunities

Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and the means of understanding and dealing with issues you encounter in the workplace.

When you have completed an ACS course, you will have not only learnt about the subject, but you will have been prompted to start networking with experts in the discipline and shown how to approach problems that confront you in this field.

This and every other industry in today’s world is developing in unforeseen ways; and while that is unsettling for anyone who wants to be guaranteed a particular job at the end of a particular course; for others, this rapidly changing career environment is offering new and exciting opportunities almost every month.

If you want to do the best that you can in this industry, you need to recognise that the opportunities that confront you at the end of a course, are probably different to anything that has even been thought of when you commence a course.


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.

Check out our eBooks

Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmThis is both a guide to “how to propagate plants” as well as an exploration of the possibility of starting a small nursery or herb business that could eventually grow into a blossoming business! It's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. Since it was first published by “Grass Roots” in 1981, we have lost count of the hundreds of people who have told us how this book kicked off a successful business or career for them. 63 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.