Learn to Grow and Use Herbs
- Start a Herb Business
- Grow herbs, Harvest Herbs, Make Herb Products
If you have a passion for herbs and want to get really serious; this is a course that can provide a foundation for a business or career.
If you already work on a herb farm, in a nursery or in the production or sale of herb products; this course can expand your understanding of herbs and help you explore possibilities that you may not have even considered.
“Love the magic of herbs? Then this is the course to start you in your herb career – it will enable you to consider opening a herb farm, or working in this exciting and field. A great course that will challenge you to expand your knowledge and become a true expert.” - Adriana Fraser Adv.Dip.Hort, ACS Tutor.
There are 30 lessons as follows:
2. Overview of Herb Varieties
3. Soils & Nutrition
4. Herb Culture
5. Propagation Techniques
6. Pests & Disease Control
7. Harvesting Herbs
8. Processing Herbs
9. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts
10. Using Herbs: Herbs for Cooking
11. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs
12. Herb Farming
13. Herb Garden Design
14. Constructing a Herb Garden
15. Managing a Herb Nursery
18. Lamiaceae Herbs
20. The Asteraceae (Compositae) Herbs
21. The Apiaceae Family
22. Other Herbs
23. Topiary & Hedges
24. Producing Herb Products A
25. Producing Herb Products B
26. Producing Herb Products C
27. Marketing in the Herb Industry
28. Budgeting & Business Planning
29. Workforce Design & Management
30. Major Research Project
What's in Each Lesson?
A typical lesson involves set reading (which we provide), a set task (eg. research or practical), a written assignment (to be submitted), and preparing plant reviews. This involves photographing different herbs, identifying their names, and writing descriptions about them. Most students do this by visiting gardens or plant nurseries; or by collecting herbs for their own collection, and photographing those. If your access or mobility is limited, you can collect photos from magazines or online.
If you have difficulty identifying herbs; our expert tutors can help by looking at your photo and description.
It may seem tedious to some students; but the best way to learn about herbs is by observing different ones, discussing them and considering their attributes and distinguishing characteristics. We've been teaching herb identification this way for decades and it really works well.
Making a Career out of Herbs
have been cultivated by man for thousands of years; both farmed for the
products they can provide (eg. cut flowers, perfumes, medicines,
culinary products), and used as a landscaping plant in our gardens.
This course provides a foundation for a great diversity of career
options; from nurseryman to farmer and landscaper to product
How Can Herbs be Used in Landscaping?
While herbs can be grown alongside any other plants in your garden, they provide their best display when given their own section – no matter how large or small.
Size doesn’t matter when it comes to a herb garden. There are spectacular herb gardens of several acres and others which neatly fit into a small courtyard. Whatever size herb garden you wish to create, even if it is only a combination of herbs with other plants or a herbaceous border, you’ll need to work to a plan.
Herbs can become either a small or a large part of a garden (or farm), depending on two things:
- The requirements of the household for herbs, either in cooking or perhaps in craft and medicines.
- The preference which the home owner has for herbs above other plants or the desire to create a character in the garden which is achieved through the use of herbs.
If only a few different types of herbs are required for cooking (perhaps parsley, mint, chives and garlic) these can be grown in any corner of the garden, in part of the vegetable patch or simply in containers. But if the home owner is more serious, herbs may be given their own garden area.
In some situations, herbs might be mixed with other plants to create an old world cottage garden affect. In this situation, herbs can become the common thread which runs through the entire garden.
What are some of the Different Types of Herb Gardens?
Formal Herb Gardens
Almost any geometrical form can be used in a formal herb garden but it should be symmetrically arranged on two sides of a central line. That central line should normally extend from a doorway, gate or another point of entry into the garden.
The central axis forms a line along which the eye is drawn, and as such a garden feature should normally be located at the end and perhaps in the centre of that axis. Examples of such features are a fountain, sundial, arbour or a statue.
Formal herb gardens should consist of well-defined lines such as walls or continually cut edges. Hedges are ideally suited to edge beds in a formal garden. They should always be cut so as to slope slightly from the top to the bottom. Rosemary is one herb that is particularly suited to hedges. Some formal examples to consider are a circular pattern similar to a wheel with the rim and spokes being the paths and the spaces in between being beds; or a rectangle, square, triangle or octagonal shape, divided by a path down the centre.
Many herbs are perennial plants growing strongly throughout the warmer months and dying back to their root systems in winter. These are the true ‘herbaceous’ plants – there are many exceptions of course including the much used rosemary, bay, lavender and other small and large woody shrubs considered ‘herbs’.
A garden bed made up of permanently green trees and shrubs often has a strip at the front (edging a lawn or path) planted with perennials. They grow strongly in spring, flower in spring and summer, and create a different appearance to the garden in those warmer months. When the plants die back in winter, they leave a bare strip, creating a more open feeling to the garden bed – an atmosphere which is a distinct advantage when the weather is less inviting.
Ideal herbs for such a perennial border include: Apple mint, lemon balm, bergamot, fennel, angelica, sage, tansy, yarrow, chives, Russian garlic, and hyssop.
Many herbs suit rock gardens well, growing in confined spaces and being tolerant of fluctuant water conditions in the soil. Be aware of the varying growth habits of different types of herbs. The danger in a rock garden is that one type of herb (such as yarrow) might take over and compete to the detriment of others.
The Cottage Garden
The cottage garden concept involves planting perennials and herbs together, perhaps, with fruit trees and some old world shrubs to create a potpourri effect. The cottage garden provides a blend of textures and colours which will be attractive at all times of the year.
How might Herbs be Used in a Landscape?
Creating a Sense of Distance
Coarse textured plants such as aloe, angelica and geraniums and bright coloured foliage plants create the impression that they are close, while fine textured plants such as rosemary, some thyme species and dark coloured foliage plants create the impression that they are further away than they actually are. Therefore, if you plant coarse textured, bright coloured plants in the foreground, and fine textured, dark coloured plants in the background, you will create a sense of the garden being bigger than it really is.
Hanging baskets or shrubs can be used to block views which may distract the attention of people from garden features. By creating a green barrier in all but the line of view where you want attention directed, the feature is highlighted.
Making Walls Higher
Baskets or pots of herbs placed on the top of a wall will do two things:
- Increase the height of the wall.
- Change the top of the wall from a hard line to a soft line.
Baskets of herbs may be hung at varying heights and distances apart to create barriers with varying degrees of density. The plant curtain my simply filter the view, allowing you to see through, but perhaps taking the distraction of the outside area away thereby creating a sense of enclosure. A lot of baskets hung close together may completely block the view, darkening the area enclosed by the herb plant wall.
Foliage Above Eye Level
Sometimes a plant is needed to break the uniform height of the ceiling or the floor in a room (indoors or out). Breaking the even line this way will reduce the formality of the area and create a more relaxed environment. Often, a basket from the ceiling will do this job better than a container on the ground (or floor), and in this way the level of spaciousness is maintained.
Topiary is a very old form of horticultural art which involves pruning plants into shapes such as balls, pillars, pyramids, arches or even the shape of an animal or building. Many herbs are well suited to topiary and there are a couple of ways of going about it. One involves making a framework out of metal or wire and growing the plant over the frame, pruning it to keep to the shape of the frame.
You can create simple wire frames by bending thick wire yourself with the aid of pliers. To get circular shapes, bend wire around a large tub or barrel.
One of the simplest forms of topiary is a wire circle on top of a straight pole. Use a wooden stake for the pole and tie the wire circle to the top. More complex shapes such as animals can be brought pre-made from some of the “boutique style” garden shops in larger cities. Climbing or creeping herbs are some of the best to train on wire frames.
Hollow wire mesh frames are sometimes filled with moss which is kept moist to support the growth of creeping plants such as Corsican mint or pennyroyal.
A more traditional method of creating topiary is to train a plant from an early stage by pruning and staking if support is needed. Generally the more woody herbs are preferred for this method of training, mainly because they don’t have the support of a frame and need strong enough stems to hold their shape. Stakes can be used if extra support is needed.
Whatever method you use, frequent pruning is the key to achieving a good topiary. Once topiary gets too far out of shape, it can be almost impossible to return to the original form.
STUDY THIS FOR A FUTURE IN THE HERB INDUSTRY
The herb industry is more significant than most people realize, supplying not only garden plants, herbal medicines and scented oils; but providing important ingredients for all sorts of products that we use every day, from toothpaste to detergents and deodorants.
This is a course for only the serious student, who wishes to establish a business or forge a career working with herbs or herbal produce.
Graduating from this course will arm you with knowledge and awareness to start a more viable future in the herb industry, and at the same time it will serve as a statement to potential employers, clients and customers; letting them know that you indeed have knowledge of herbs that goes beyond most working in the industry.
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