Develop a Broad Knowledge Base in Growing Crops
This comprehensive course provides students with a solid background into growing a variety of crops.
Learn about how to increase crop yield and quality in outdoor and indoor production systems. Find out how crop production is influenced by soil types, soil pH, temperature, pests and diseases.
Prepare yourself with knowledge you can use in a range of crop growing situations and workplaces, or use what you learn to establish your own production farm.
An exceptional qualification for anyone who wants to excel in a Career in Production Horticulture.
- has been developed and is taught by a team of exceptional horticulturists, all highly qualified and with years of industry experience. Our faculty -your teachers -are people who have worked in the real world, any most continue to work in horticulture outside of education, giving us an up to date perspective on the industry today, and where it is moving.
What You Study
There are 8 modules (subjects) to be studied, plus 100 hours work experience.
The modules are divided into 6 core modules and 2 elective modules.
This can be made up of paid or voluntary employment, industry conferences or seminars. We expect you will be able to undertake this however if you're unable to complete it you can alternatively study a module from the school called Workshop 1 which comprises of three problem based learning projects. This option is easily undertaken anywhere in the world. Another option is the Industry Project.
Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Crop Production is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Growing Crops in a Protected Structure such as a Greenhouse
Greenhouses are used to grow commercial crops all around the world; in the ground, in containers, and using hydroponic culture.
Greenhouses allow us to produce crops for an extended period, or out of season.
Common greenhouse crops include vegetables, cut flowers and certain berry fruits.
A greenhouse is only as good as its user! You can grow all sorts of plants in a greenhouse, and achieve all types of things, which you might not be able to achieve otherwise, whether growing as a hobby or commercially.
However the greenhouse is only a tool which enables you to keep your plants a little warmer and perhaps control a few other aspects of their growing conditions. You must know what conditions the plant needs and try to create those conditions with your greenhouse. Greenhouses are very labour intensive you must watch the greenhouse carefully and adjust the way you are managing it if the conditions start to vary from what is desired. In the summer this may mean monitoring it every day, particularly if the greenhouse does not have automatic watering and ventilation systems.
You need to decide what you will grow in the greenhouse, and be aware that different plants have different requirements. It may not be possible to grow a great variety of plants in the greenhouse and get the very best out of each one...if each of those plants has different growth requirements.
The Greenhouse Business
The greenhouse is an expensive outlay the cost of which will naturally vary according to your needs, however no matter how large or small the set-up is it will take some time to “pay for itself”. In order to choose the type of greenhouse structure that will suit your budget, productivity requirements and also enables you to have an efficient and productive system within your specific nursery environment, it is important to be aware of the many designs that are available, and to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each design.
Before choosing a greenhouse facility an overall business plan should be formulated. This means that even if the initial choice is modest, a long term plan that includes the prospect of growth within the business allows for the addition of extra structures and facilities. This will serve to save money in the long term as the need to move structures due to bad placement or discard structures due to unsuitability is hopefully eliminated. Systems should be chosen so that they can be added to later on, as the business grows, at the least possible cost.
A business strategy should include: Marketing, production, financial and human resources plans. However the overall business plan should be formulated after you have researched and considered the following strategic elements:
Identify your market and customer needs
Define your mission
Set your business goals
What are your objectives?
Research business opportunities and issues that will affect your business
Formulate a basic business strategy
Implement and evaluate the strategy
The Greenhouse System
Thinking of a greenhouse as a system, rather then a structure, will help to reduce problems in the future, consider the following points before choosing a greenhouse system:
Site - is it accessible? Take into consideration delivery of materials, access to (and for) customers, available light, wind and other climatic factors i.e. snow, topography, drainage, restrictions through local government by-laws and regulations, what planning permits do you require?
Environmental control systems including heating, ventilation and the ability to conserve energy.
Water supply and irrigation systems
Availability of other services such as electricity and gas
The plant production system- including the inputs and outputs of the system
The availability of labour
WHAT WILL THIS COURSE DO FOR YOU?
You will develop the skills and knowledge required to work in production horticulture at management level.
This course is different to many others. It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with the horticulture industry as you study. The industry is changing faster than ever; and will continue to change; and for ongoing success you need to become "connected" and remain "connected", so that you see and adapt to recent changes, and ongoing changes as your career moves forward.
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