Hydroponics III

Learn to manage hydroponic systems and equipment; compare different options (including organic hydroponics, with tuition from experts incl. Dr Lyn Morgan and John Mason, author of Commercial Hydroponics.

Course Code: BHT321
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn more about Managing Hydroponic Systems
 
A HYDROPONICS COURSE THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO THE NEXT LEVEL!

For people who already understand a lot about hydroponics
This course has been developed by industry professionals with decades of experience advising hydroponic businesses and farms.
It was developed to complement Hydroponics I and II; and is intended as training for serious growers and industry professionals.

It takes you through a carefully constructed process of learning; to help you understand the management of a hydroponic system; embed that understanding, raise awareness of the broader industry and help you to connect with sources and resources that are relevant to hydroponics, and will assist you in maintaining a "currency" in your perspective on the industry.
 
Learning to manage hydroponics is more than just gathering factual information: it also requires an ability to choose the right information to apply to the situation at hand; as well as an ability to understand and apply that information appropriately. A book or web site can give you information; but you need to move through a process of learning, and be guided by competent teachers in order to properly learn something: and that is what this course can do for you. 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Options for Managing Plant Culture
    • different approaches to cultural operations in hydroponics
    • Organics vs. hydroponics:Nutrient differences in food products
    • Is hydroponic food more or less healthy than organic?
    • How feasible is organic hydroponics?
  2. Planning a Hydroponic Operation
    • site and crop selection
    • matching a system with a crop, materials, resources & services required.
  3. System Design Components
    • pumps, hardware, media, pipes, size, type, and so forth
    • Components for different types of culture.
  4. Managing a Hydroponic System in Hot, Humid Conditions
    • tropical, subtropical climates
    • greenhouse environments
    • summer in temperate areas.
  5. Water Management
    • water quality measures
    • treatments
    • runoff
    • testing
    • purifying water
    • water in recirculating and run-to-waste systems.
  6. Nutrient Formulation
    • standard formulations
    • detecting toxicities & deficiencies.
  7. Controlling Nutrient Levels
    • using EC and pH measures of concentration levels
    • solution temperatures
    • maintaining nutrient levels.
  8. Pest and Disease Management
    • nutrient and pH manipulation for control of pests & diseases
    • integrated pest management
    • common pests and diseases.

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

  • Describe different approaches to cultural operations
  • Demonstrate an awareness of similarities and differences between organic and hydroponic production techniques
  • Describe how to plan a hydroponic operation through site and crop selection, matching a specific crop, materials, resources and services required, and site layout; for different specific crops.
  • Discuss system design components such as pumps, grow beds, solution tanks, media and pipes in terms of size, type, and options for different cultures and specific crops.
  • Provide details of how to manage a hydroponic system in hot, humid conditions such as in tropical or subtropical areas, or in summer, in temperate areas, for specific crops.
  • Explain options for water management such as water sources, quality, testing, treatments, and use in recirculating and non recirculating systems.
  • Recommend awareness of natural and other methods of pest and disease control such as biological controls, as part of IPM and nutrient and pH manipulation for different pests and diseases.
  • Explain and recommend different standards of nutrient formulation, and advanced methods of detecting toxicities and deficiencies in specific crops.
  • Recommend methods to control nutrient level concentrations by taking EC, pH and temperature measurements, and maintaining nutrient levels for different specific crops.

What You Will Do

  • Learn about the following:
    • Hydroponics versus Organic Crops
    • Feasibility of Organic Hydroponics
    • Hydroponic Food Health
    • Types of Hydroponic Culture -Water, Sand, Aggregate, Rockwool, Sawdust, Other
    • Planning a Hydroponic Sustem
    • Site Appraisal
    • Climate -temperature, frost, snow, humidity, light, dust, wind
    • Water Supply
    • Other Resources
    • Site Preparation
    • Site Layout
    • Matching a System with a Crop
    • Grow Bed and Tank Construction
    • Pumps and Pipes
    • Materials for Different Types of Culture based Systems
    • Materials for use with Sand Culture
    • Materials for Use with Aggregate Culture
    • Materials for Use with Rockwool Culture
    • Materials for Use with Sawdust Culture
    • Materials for Use with NFT
    • Aeroponics
    • Water
    • Chilling
    • Humidity and Temperature
    • Pest Control
    • Types of Tropical Culture
    • Sand Culture in Hot Humid Places
    • Ebb and Flow Systems
    • Modified Dynamic Root Floating (DRF) System
    • Deep Flow and Chilling
    • Water Sources -mains water, rain, underground, surface
    • Water Quality
    • Hard Water
    • Water pH
    • Water EC
    • Sodium Chloride
    • Turbidity
    • Smell and Colour
    • Iron Content
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • Water Recirculating Systems
    • Water Treatments
    • Compounds for Formulations
    • Dutch Classification of Nutrient Formulae
    • Nutrient Formulae
    • Nutrient Deficiencies and Toxicities
    • Nutrient Mobility
    • Detecting Nutrient Deficiencies
    • Toxicities
    • Nutrients and pH
    • EC and Nutrient Solution Levels
    • Maintaining Nutrient Levels
    • Nutrient Temperatures
    • Integrated Pest Management
    • Common Pests and Diseases

WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU USE WITH WATER CULTURE?

The type of components required in a water culture system will depend on the scale of the operation. For instance, jars may be appropriate in amateur and home hydroponics setups but are unlikely to be required in a commercial scale operation, save perhaps for storing nutrient solutions in. Generally speaking though, a commercial scale water culture venture will have a greater number of components, and in larger sizes.

Water culture systems are the simplest in terms of the types of components required. In a basic system, plants may sit in polystyrene rafts which float on top of tanks containing water enriched with nutrient solution. An alternative is to use a litter tray which sits on the top of the tank. This has a wooden frame and the base is made from plastic with holes for plant roots to pass through. The crown of the plants can be supported with polystyrene pieces.

An air pump is needed to oxygenate the solution and provide air to the plant roots. The pump is connected to an oxygenating stone or perforated pipe. This type of system lends itself well to growing head lettuce.

A recirculating water culture system is slightly more complicated. In this type of system, the nutrient solution is pumped through the beds and is returned through PVC pipes to a main reservoir. As the solution leaves the beds it passes through baffles which also help to aerate it. At least one change of solution is needed per hour for a large 30m bed with 10-12cm of nutrient solution.

In a continuous flow system, nutrient solution is pumped continuously over the plant roots to ensure that the solution reaching the plant roots is perpetually oxygenated.

In some commercial systems, UV sterilising units have been used to kill pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the solution as it is returned to the grow beds from the reservoir tank. However, these units do not combat all pathogens. For instance, pythium is unaffected. They also appear to reduce some of the micronutrients in solutions and, in particular, they precipitate iron into hydrous ferric oxide.

Sensors can also be included to measure levels of electrical conductivity (EC) and pH. The EC can be increased through automatic injections of calcium nitrate triggered by sensor readings. Injections of potassium hydroxide are used to increase the pH reading (raise the alkalinity), and injections of sulphuric, phosphoric, or nitric acids can be used to lower pH readings (make it more acid).

Water chillers can also be installed to reduce water temperatures of solutions during hot conditions. These also oxygenate solutions and circulate them in addition to chilling. Those with stainless steel drive shafts are better in nutrient solutions.
 
 
 
 

WHY CHOOSE THIS COURSE OVER OTHER HYDROPONIC COURSES?

This course has been developed for either:

  1. To be used as part of a sequence of study (combined with Hydroponics I & II; to provide a college or more advanced academic level of training in hydroponics); or
  2. For someone who already understands the mechanics of hydroponics; or the growing of plants, but needs to learn more about how to connect these two skills together.

Graduates will learn more about how different plants should be managed in a hydroponic system. You may know how to grow vegetables in soil, but translating that knowledge to hydroponics requires a different mindset to working with soil.

Your knowledge of both hydroponics and of plant culture will expand as you proceed through this course, and as that happens, you will begin to see more possibilities for growing crops hydroponically in commercial situations.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

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

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

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.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

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.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


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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.

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.

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.

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