Hydroponic Supply and Consultancy

Learn to start or manage a hydroponic business or consultancy.

Course Code: VHT119
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Develop a foundation of skills and knowledge, enabling you to confidently advise customers buying hydroponic supplies; and provide support through developing guidelines for the successful culture of plants.

A Course For

  • Hydroponic Shop Managers and Staff
  • Hydroponic Equipment and Materials Manufacturers and Suppliers 
  • Others working with hydroponic growers who need a better knowledge of hydroponics; such as irrigation suppliers, greenhouse suppliers, environmental equipment suppliers.

This course does overlap significantly with Hydroponics I and with Home Hydroponics, and you should avoid doing more than one of those three. The difference is that Home hydroponics is a less intensive academic load, and geared to the hobbyist; while hydroponics I is a broad based course, while this course is written specifically for people who are in a position of supplying services or products to hydroponic growers, both amateur and trade.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Hydroponics – Nature and Scope
  2. Types of Hydroponic Systems
  3. Introduction to Plant Nutrition and Understanding Nutrient Labels
  4. Introduction to Growing Media
  5. Basic Hydroponic Systems and Components
  6. Nutrition Management
  7. Climate Management Equipment
  8. Common Pests and Diseases
  9. Deficiencies, Toxicity and pH Control
  10. Troubleshooting Systems

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Understand the nature and scope of hydroponics and hydroponic systems.
  • Compare a range of hydroponics systems.
  • Understand plant nutrition requirements and interpret nutrient solution labels.
  • Compare different types of growing media for use in different systems.
  • Describe the components needed for different types of systems.
  • Explain the basic management of nutrient solutions in a hydroponic system.
  • Become familiar with methods of climate control and equipment required.
  • Develop awareness of common pest and disease problems in hydroponics and products to control them.
  • Describe means of controlling plant deficiencies, toxicities and system pH levels.
  • Review methods for controlling problems to maintain system and plant health.

Hydroponic Services are a Big Industry


Understanding hydroponics is essential to anyone who works in the industry whether in sales, marketing, system design and installation, or growing produce. Even those who sell components online or part time will benefit from a sound understanding of what successful hydroponics involves.   

Anyone who grows hydroponically, hobbyist or commercial grower, needs to buy equipment and materials not only to build their system; but also to operate it. Hydroponic suppliers are the shops and manufacturers who provide these things that are needed to grow hydroponics.

So, what is hydroponics? Hydroponics can simply be said to be the process used to grow plants without soil. It literally means ‘working water’. The grower is taking ‘control’ of the plant's root environment, and losing the benefit of 'mother nature's' finely-tuned mechanisms which normally control that part of the plant's environment. A hydroponic grower provides the optimal levels of food and water that plants need for growth in the form of nutrient solutions. They can also control the environment in a variety of ways to influence plant growth, such as by providing artificial light, humidity, or by manipulating temperatures. 

Hydroponics is not an easier way to grow plants! It is a more controlled way of growing plants!
 

Although all the various components of a hydroponics enterprise can be bought ready made and imported to the site for use, some components such as grow beds or benches for NFT channels, reservoir tanks, sump tanks and crop support can be made on site. It very much depends on the grower's budget and the availability of materials. Other components such as pumps and pipes will need to be purchased but these can be installed by the grower to save on outside labour costs if required. The choice of materials required will also be governed by the type of system to be installed. 

A wide variety of different components can be used to create a hydroponics system. These include specially constructed tanks which could suit commercial grade systems as well as small home systems, through to plastic barrels or bottles for introductory and backyard systems. Some growers recycle materials for use in homemade systems but they should not use anything which has been in contact with poisonous chemicals, anything which has been painted, or anything which has corrosive metal parts since these might all harbour harmful residues. Plastics such as PVC which are safe for use with drinking water are best. Other plastics may degrade and break down over time releasing harmful chemicals.


Choosing the Right Sized System


 Obviously, the size of the system a grower chooses will be dictated by factors such as the amount of available space, the amount of produce they wish to harvest, material costs, construction costs, running costs, maintenance costs, and so forth.

If they only intend supplying produce for themselves, family, or friends, then clearly a small system is all that is needed. If they are looking to sell produce, then they might need to have a good idea of how much they can realistically offload for profit without having wastage.




WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR?

  • Hydroponic equipment and materials manufacturers
  • Managers and senior staff of hydroponic shops
  • Any other suppliers who service hydroponic farms or growers; and who need to develop a greater ability to understand and interact with hydroponic growers.
  • Horticultural consultants, teachers, or anyone else providing advice, who want to expand their knowledge into the area of hydroponics.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

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We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
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You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

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We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Yvonne Sharpe

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled 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.

Parita Shah

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

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