Fruit Production (Temperate Climate)

Course CodeBHT218
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


A great all rounded course that covers all aspects of fruit temperate fruit growing from soil management through to plant selection and marketing. All you need to know to set up that fruit growing farm.

Your fruit growing enterprise may be large or small, or a backyard operation - whichever it is or whichever you are looking to set up, the basics are the same, This course covers all those basics.

  • Learn How to Grow Fruit by distance learning
  • Start a fruit farm or work on an orchard
  • Work in fruit processing, marketing or service industries
  • Extend you horticulture skills
  • Indulge your passion

This course starts by introducing the fruit growing industry, and moves through most of the skills needed for successful fruit growing in a serious way. Topics covered include management, soils, planting, irrigation, pruning, cultural practices (including pest control), pome and stone fruits, and various vines, fruit trees and nuts.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Temperate Fruit Growing
    • Identify different types of fruit crops, which can be successfully grown in your region.
  2. Establishing an Orchard
    • Develop a plan for the establishment of an orchard.
  3. General Cultural Practices
    • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops in your locality (Part A).
    • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops in your locality (Part B).
  4. Tree Fruits
    • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops in your locality (Part B).
  5. Vines, Nuts & Berries
    • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops in your locality (Part C).
  6. Citrus
    • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops in your locality (Part D).
  7. Cultural Management of a Fruit Plantation or Orchard
    • Develop a calendar for cultural management of a fruit plantation, or orchard.
  8. Marketing Your Produce
    • Formulate appropriate methods for marketing specific fruit crops grown in your locality.


  • Identify different types of fruit crops, which can be successfully grown in your region.
  • Explain the nature of the fruit industry in your region (locality).
  • Determine the cultural requirements for different fruit crops.
  • Develop a plan for the establishment of an orchard.
  • Formulate appropriate methods for marketing specific fruit crops grown in your locality.
  • Develop a calendar for cultural management of a fruit plantation, or orchard.

What You Will Do

  • Compile a resource file different sources of information regarding commercial fruit varieties.
  • Compare the facilities used to produce different fruit crops, in a specified locality.
  • Determine criteria for selecting a fruit variety to grow as a commercial crop in your locality.
  • Select different fruit varieties with commercial potential for a specified location.
  • Analyse the physical layout of a specified orchard.
  • Determine the scope of commercial fruit growing in a specified locality.
  • Demonstrate standard soil tests to three different soils to determine:
    • Soil type
    • pH
    • Drainage
    • Water holding capacity
  • Evaluate the three different soils tested to determine their suitability for growing different fruit varieties.
  • Analyse the culture
    • Watering
    • Weed control
    • Soil management
    • Pruning
    • Fertilising
    • Pest control
    • Disease control
  • Determine soil management practices, including:
    • Nutrition
    • Soil structure
    • Cultivation
    • Weed control
  • Determine the susceptibility of four specified fruit species to pest and disease problems.
  • Explain how to control twenty different, specified pests and diseases, on different fruit varieties grown.
  • Develop sets of guidelines for pruning three different types of fruits.
  • Determine the factors which are critical to growing fruit trees in your locality.
  • Determine criteria to select a site for fruit growing in your locality.
  • Compare the physical layout of two different orchards you visit
  • Prepare a plan for establishing a fruit growing area, in your locality, including:
    • Concept layout plan drawn to scale
    • Materials list (including plants)
    • Cost estimates for establishment.
  • Analyse three different marketing systems in the fruit industry, including at local, national and international levels.
  • Explain four common reasons for price fluctuations in the fruit industry.
  • Compare different fruit crops in relation to different factors, including:
    • Storage requirements
    • Storage life
    • Harvesting time
    • Shelf life
    • Transport to market
  • Evaluate the presentation and packaging of three different fruits, for marketing through different marketing systems.
  • Analyse different marketing strategies used by a specific fruit grower.
    • Develop a marketing strategy, including:
    • Marketing stages
    • Marketing schedule (ie. timetable)
    • Estimated marketing costs
    • Handling procedures
    • Promotions, for a specific fruit crop.
  • Differentiate between the cultural practices undertaken by different growers, on the same crop, grown in different localities.
  • Determine the cultural practices necessary to grow different fruit crops for a twelve month period, on a specified site.
  • Prepare a monthly calender, covering a twelve month period, for cultural practices in a fruit plantation or orchard.

Tips for Fruit Growing

Most fruits take longer  than vegetables to become productive.  As such, you are advised to think carefully before deciding what fruit you might grow.  The majority of common tree fruits will take at least 3 to 4 years from the time you plant them until you are picking any crop of value.  Some may take more than twice this period to come into cropping.  All fruit are best to be removed for the first few years to allow the plant to establish properly.  (NB: There are some exceptions passionfruit for instance crops well in the first season).

APPLES (Malus pumila)
Wide variety of soils and climates, though best in cooler areas.  They will grow in wet climates or relatively dry areas (if mulched and irrigated). Cold areas which are prone to serious frosts and snow can be suitable as can areas which are almost to the sub tropics provided they have a cold period over winter. Usually space trees to 20ft apart or less if on a trellis (eg: espalier). They take 4 5 yrs to bear well.  Irrigation and fertiliser important, prune annually, fruits mainly on spur systems ... cut to promote spurs. Popular varieties include Granny Smith, Jonathan and Delicious (in Australia), Cox's Orange Pippin (in England), Delicious (Sth Africa).  Store in Controlled Atmosphere (C.A.) or Cool store.  Used for juice, canning or fresh.  Propagated by budding or grafting onto stocks raised by seed or layering.

APRICOTS (Prunus armeniaca)
Very hardy trees, need less feeding than other fruits, otherwise similar to peaches.  Spray program is important.  Commence with lime sulphur and carbaryl at bud burst.  Follow up sprays of Bordeaux and carbaryl every 6 8 weeks.  (Similar spray program is important for most soft fruit).  Prune annually.  Fruit occurs mainly on 2nd year old spur wood. Used in canning, jam, dried, juiced and sold fresh.  Grown by budding onto peach or myrobalan plum rootstock.

CHERRY (Prunus avium)
A temperature of  4 degrees C at full bloom will kill 90% of the flowers, however cold winter temperatures are needed for good fruit bud formation.  Sensitive to poor drainage.  Ideal site is a slope with good air drainage (ie: so frosts will move through the orchard to lower in the valley).  Regular liming is often practiced on heavy soils.  Cross pollination is essential.  Fertilise early spring annually. Fruit is processed and used fresh.  Harvest late spring - summer.  Propagated by budding or grafting selected varieties onto cherry rootstocks.

CUMQUAT (Fortunella sp.)
Treated similar to lemon.  Fruit usually used in Marmalade.  Propagated by budding onto citrus stock.

FIG (Ficus carica)
Ideally warm dry subtropical climate though it will produce well if protected in temperate regions.  Well drained loam or sandy loam and lots of sun (but no frost).  Ideally pH 7, 20 24ft. spacing between plants.  Avoid damaging roots by cultivation, takes 4 years to bare.  Relatively disease free.  Main problem is birds (Use netting).  Pick and pack in single layer boxes.  For dry fruit, usually let dry on the tree and harvest as it falls (in low rainfall areas).  Best varieties are White Adriatic and Brown Turkey.  Propagate by hardwood cuttings or tip layering.

GRAPE (Vitis vinifera)
Tolerates cold when dormant but not when in leaf; spring frost can be a problem.  Ideally sunny, sheltered and well drained position.  Grow on trellis.  Prune annually once established removing a large proportion of the previous season's growth at each prune.  Takes 3 4 years to reach full size and begin cropping. Fresh, dried and wine ... also some juice.  Wine and dried grapes count for over 80% of the crop.  Dried grapes produced in low rainfall areas only.  Wine industry is expanding.
Propagated by hardwood cuttings.

GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus X paradisi)
Ideally rich, moist, well drained soil.  Shelter from frost and wind.  More cold resistant than orange.  To 10 metres high.  Fruit used fresh, for juice or marmalade.  Ripens over warmer months.  Main varieties are Wheeny and Marsh's seedling.  Propagate by budding.

LEMON  (Citrus limon)
Grown in most areas on most soils provided adequate drainage.  Frost hardy.  "Meyer" is the best variety in cooler areas.  Irrigate and feed well, particularly when young.  Takes 3 to 4 years to start baring.  Used as fresh fruit, juice, jam and some manufacturing.  "Eureka" produces the largest tree.  "Lisbon" is a medium tree.  "Meyer" is a small tree.  Propagate by budding onto seedling grown citrus rootstock.  Popular rootstocks include: Citrange, Rough lemon and Sour orange.

LIME (Citrus aurantifolia)
Warm humid areas only; very frost tender. 2.5 to 5 metres tall.  Used mainly for juice.  Propagate: budding.

LOQUAT (Eriobotrya japonica)
Prefers temperate climate, most soils, prune for shaping only, grows 3 to 6 metres tall.  Fruit is not significant commercially.  Bud or graft onto Quince or Cretagus.

MANGO (Mangifera indica)
An important tropical fruit, very frost tender, hot climate essential, best on well drained sandy loam to loam soils.  Tend strongly towards biennial bearing (crop heavy one year and light the next).  Propagate some types from seed, others are budded onto seedlings.

MEDLAR (Mespilus germanicus)
Tree to 4 metres, grows on most soils if well drained, watering and feeding not vital, deciduous, wind sensitive.  Harvest fruit after it begins to fall ... it must detach easily from the tree.  Dip in salt solution when you harvest.  Stratify seed for 12 months then sow ... or graft onto quince.

NECTARINE (Prunus persica)
Same as for peach.

OLIVE (Olea europea)
Prefers hot and dry climate (low rainfall) grows elsewhere but needs heat to crop well.  Frost and drought resistant.  Valuable for oil, fresh fruit or pickled.  Propagate by cuttings or suckers.

ORANGE (Citrus sinensis)
Similar to lemon, however prefers a slightly warmer climate.  With some protection they will grow and produce cool temperate climates but not areas prone to severe frosts or snow. To 10 metres tall in ideal situations.  Fruit is used fresh, juices, candied, as jam and some manufacturing.  Propagated by budding onto same rootstocks as lemon.

PASSIONFRUIT (Passiflora edulis)
Grown on wire trellis, well drained site, best in cool position in temperate to tropical climate.  Vine declines after 4 to 5 years producing increasingly drier, woodier fruit.  Used for juice, fresh and some manufacturing.  Propagate by seed or grafting onto seedlings.

PEAR (Pyrus communis)
One of the hardiest and longest living fruit trees, most soils, spray for leaf slug and fruit diseases, fruits on laterals and spurs, prune annually in winter.  Propagate by budding and grafting onto quince or pear rootstocks.

PEACH (Prunus persica)
Temperate and sub tropical plant.  Requires cold winters to set fruit buds, very susceptible to waterlogging, drainage is extremely important!  Avoid frost when in leaf, ideally fertile, manured sandy loam.  Annual pruning and regular spraying important.  Fruit borne on 1 yr. old laterals.  Prune to both stimulate formation of new laterals, but also leave sufficient laterals for fruit in the following season.  Prune in winter.  Used for canning, fresh and juice.  Main canning variety is 'Elberta'. Propagate by budding onto Elberta peach seedlings or myurobalan plum stock.

PINEAPPLE (Ananas comosus)
Tropical; cool temperatures will stop fruiting, acid soils best, takes 1 1/2 to 2 years from planting to crop, a single plant will crop many years.  Weed control important.  Propagate by crowns, slips or suckers.  Responds to feeding.  Best crop is the first crop.  Used for canning, fresh and juice.

PLUM, EUROPEAN (Prunus domestica)
Tolerates cold better than the Japanese plum, withstands wet soils better than many other prunus, prune every winter to regulate fruiting.  Popularity decreasing.  Propagate by budding and grafting.

PLUM, JAPANESE (Prunus salicina)
Tolerates warmer conditions than European Plum though still a temperate crop, thinning fruit needed occasionally.  Prune annually in winter.  Fruit is more peach shaped than the European plum.  Unsuited to canning.  Increasing popularity.  Propagate by budding and grafting.

POMEGRANATE (Punica granatum)
Most soils provided drained, frost sensitive at bud swell, few pest problems, apply 5 kg of general fertiliser per plant per year when mature.  Prune to shape remove suckers and encourage spurs.  Used for fresh fruit and juice.  Holds in cool storage.  Fruit bruises easily.  Propagate by hardwood cuttings.

QUINCE (Cydonia oblonga)
Will grow on all soils, but better if fertile and drained.  Fruit forms on 1 year old wood, few pests, summer and winter pruning is worthwhile, main uses ... stewed, as jam or jellied. Propagate by budding or grafting.

TREE TOMATO or TAMARILLO (Cyphomandra betacea)
Rich, moist, well drained soils, frost tender but tolerates cooler climates if protected, wilts easily in summer, wind sensitive.  Prune to encourage branching.  Very severe pruning every few years will prolong life.  Fertilise late winter, prune at the same time (after fruit is picked); don't damage roots (avoid cultivation); grows to 4 metres tall, will live to 10 years or so.  Commercial potential is good.  Harvest Autumn - spring.  Used fresh, stewed, bottled, as chutney, frozen or jams.  Propagate by cuttings.


How Can This Course Help Me?

This course is designed to be of benefit to people who are interested in learning how to grow a range of different fruits suited to milder climates including cold temperate and mild to warm temperate regions. It will also be of value to those who are operating or working in an existing temperate climate fruit growing business.

Take this course if you would like to:

  • Develop a commercial fruit growing business in a temperate climate.
  • Find ways to improve an existing temperate climate fruit growing business - large or small.
  • Enhance your employability in a fruit growing businesses.
  • Improve your knowledge of horticultural and agricultural fruit growing techniques.
  • Grow fruits on a small scale e.g. for home use, in an orchard 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.


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