Comprehensive training for those developing a career in horticultural crop production. You will gain a very solid foundation in production horticulture, studying topics such as: propagation techniques, plant nutrition, planting systems, nursery standards, handling and storage best practice, and pest and disease control.
Your first set of course materials will be sent to you when you enrol. You can start as soon as you want and progress through the course at your own pace (you have 2 years to complete it), studying when and where you choose. As you complete each lesson, your tutor will promptly return your marked assignment with constructive feedback and guidance.
Lesson 1 – Orchard Planning – Choice of site; modifying the microclimate, frost protection, windbreaks; soil: depth, texture, drainage, structure, pH and nutrient status. Specific apple replant disease.
Lesson 2 – Planting Systems – Land and tree preparation; pollination and fertilisation. Apples, pears, plums, cherries; improving fruit set. Soil, leaf, fruitlet and fruit analyses; correcting nutrient deficiencies.
Lesson 3 – Top Fruit Production System – Rootstocks, dwarfing control; tree shape; pruning and training: apples, pears, plums, cherries; chemical growth control; crop thinning; harvest and storage.
Lesson 4 – Soft Fruit Production – Planting preparation. Strawberries: fertigation, biological control; raspberries: biennial cropping, forcing; pollination; blackberries: varieties, pruning, training; gooseberries: training, diseases; other soft fruit.
Lesson 5 – Vegetable Production Markets – Economics, labour; propagation techniques; plant raising; sowing rates; bare-root transplants; module containers; plant spacing; bed systems; seed-beds; irrigation; weed control; plastic mulches; day-degrees; storage and cooling.
Lesson 6 – Plant Propagation – Principles and practice: provenance and trueness to type, F1 seed, clones; seed germination; composts; vegetative propagation: stock plants, anatomy, micropropagation; named propagation examples.
Lesson 7 – Trees and Shrubs – British Standards for nursery stock; code of practice for plant handling: packing, storage, treatment. Planting techniques; aftercare; pests, diseases, disorders; trees and the law; selection and suitability; choice criteria.
Lesson 8 – Aspects of Pest and Disease Control in Fruit – Virus diseases of apples, pears and plums; fungal pathogens; insect pests of apples, pears, plums and strawberries; supervised control concepts; integrated pest management; use of sex hormones for pest population surveys; weed control.
Lessons 9 – Aspects of Glasshouse crops
Lesson 10 – Hardy Ornamental Nursery Stock
Successfully complete this course and you will achieve the HCC Certificate*.
* The HCC Certificate will be issued once you have successfully completed your course and finished your course payments.
Throughout your training, you will be able to ask questions, receive feedback and further develop your knowledge by contacting our experienced tutors by phone or email.
You do not need previous gardening knowledge or experience to enrol on this course.
If needed you have 2 years to complete the course. Many students are able to complete this course in approximately 6-12 months*.
*Timescales are approximate and depend upon application and motivation.
Successfully complete this course and: