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Hydroponic Supply & Consultancy - An Introduction


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Hydroponic Supply & Consultancy - An Introduction

Price: £340.00Course Code: VHT119
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Hydroponic Supply & Consultancy - An Introduction

This Hydroponic course would be suitable for:

  • Hydroponic Shop Managers and Staff,

  • Hydroponic Equipment and Materials Manufacturers and Suppliers

  • Other working alongside a hydroponic power supply

If you plan on studying this course, ensure that you only study Hydroponics I or Home Hydroponics. The difference is that Home Hydroponics has a less intensive academic load and is geared for more personal use, while Hydroponics I is a more broadly based course.



Learning Goals: Hydroponic Supply and Consultancy
  • 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


Lesson Structure: Hydroponic Supply and Consultancy

There are 10 lessons in this course:

1   Hydroponics – Nature and Scope

  • Introduction to Hydroponics: What's Needed in Hydroponics?, Advantages of Hydroponics, Basic System Components, Other Equipment, Types of Hydroponics System
  • Hydroponics - A Global Industry in the 21st Century
  • Hydroponics - Is it as Good as Growing Plants in Soil?
  • Directory of Supliers 
  • International Societies
  • Suggested Further Reading

2  Types of Hydroponic Systems

  • Introduction
  • What Makes up a System?: The Location, The Container or Grow Bed, Watering/Nutrient Application Equipment, Trellising, Root Media
  • Two Simple Systems
  • Types of Hydroponic Systems: Solution Culture, NFT Systems, Alternative Layouts for NFT, Aggregate or Media Culture, Rockwool Culture
  • Historic, Hobby and Lesser Used Systems: Gericke Method, Bengal Method, Wick Method, Sand culture, Bucket and Gravity Feed, Hanging Basket Method
  • Methods of Solution Dispensation: Closed System, Open System, Drip Irrigaton Systems, Sub Irrigation and Ebb and Flow Systems
  • Techniques: Drip, Slop, Wick, Misting, Dry Fertilisation, Capillary, Injector or Proportioner System, Organic Soil-less Mixes

3    Introduction to Plant Nutrition and Understanding Nutrient Labels

  • Inroduction
  • Plants: Plant Growth Factors
  • How Plants Grow: The Structure of a Plant, Roots, Stems, Leaves, Reproductive Parts
  • Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake
  • Plant Nutrients for Growth: Macronutrients (major elements), Micronutrients (minor elements)
  • The Role of pH in Plant Growth: What is pH?
  • Understanding Hydroponic Nutrient Formulae: Elements, Writing Chemical Names, Nutrient Solutions, What Does a Plant Need?
  • Symptoms of Nutrient Deficiency 

4    Introduction to Growing Media

  • Growing Media
  • NFT System Choices: Capillary Matting
  • Types of Media (For Aggregate Culture): Vermiculite, Sand, Gravel, Perlite, Pumice and Scoria, Expanded Plastics, Scoria, Expanded Clay, Rockwool
  • Organic Media: Sawdust, Peat Moss, Coir Fibre (coconut fibre), Composted Bark, Other Substrates 

5    Basic Hydroponic Systems and Components

  • Introduction: Choosing the Right Sized System
  • Materials for NFT Systems
  • NFT Cannel Size and Solution Volume
  • NFT Channel Slope
  • NFT Delivery and Drainage
  • Sizing Tanks and Nutrient Reservoirs
  • Materials for Substrate Systems: Concrete, Metal, Timber, Plastic
  • Irrigation Design: Pumps and Pipes
  • Specific Materials for Use with Aggregate Systems: Sand, Gravel Aggregates
  • Materials for Use with Rockwall
  • Materials for Use with Sawdust
  • Aeroponics

6    Nutrition Management

  • Introduction
  • Fertiliser Salts for Formulations
  • Nutrient Formulations
  • Nutrient Formulation Stock Solutions
  • Nutrient Formulation: Formulas for different systems, Stage of growth - growth vs. bloom formulas
  • Making up Hydroponic Stock Solutions from Fertiliser Salts
  • Adjusting Nutrient Solutions Using Electrical Conductivity Measurments: Conductivity, Conductivity and Hydroponics, Adjusting the pH

7    Climate Management Equipment

  • Introduction: Greenhouses, Growing Plants in a Greenhouse, Other Growing Structures
  • Equipment for Environment Control: Environmental Control, Environmental Factors That Influence Plant Growth
  • Plant Needs
  • Temperature Control: Heat Loss, Heaters, Principles of Temperature Control
  • Light Factors: Photosynthesis
  • Artificial Light
  • Horticultural Maangement in a Greenhouse: Plants and Water
  • Culture and Management of Some Greenhouse Crops: Pollination, Fruit Cracking, Ventilation, Types of Fans, Optimum Growth Requirements for Certain Plants, Greenhouse Benches, Greenhouse Cooling, Fog, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Plants that respond to CO2, Automation

8    Common Pests and Diseases

  • Introduction 
  • Pest & Disease Control Measures: Good Hygiene, Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Common Pest & Diseases
  • Pests: Aphids, Thrips, Whitefly, Caterpillars, Leaf Miners, Mites, Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects, Leafhoppers, Slugs and Snails, Flies, Other Pests
  • Common Diseases: Botrytis – Grey Mould, Mildew Diseases, Rusts, Rots, Bacterial Diseases, Viruses, Nematodes

9    Deficiencies, Toxicity and pH Control

  • Nutrient Deficiencies & Toxicities: Nutrient Mobility and Deficiencies, Other Modes of Detection, Nutrient Toxicities
  • Controllers: Salinity Controllers
  • Nutrients & pH: pH Controllers

10   Troubleshooting Systems

  • Introduction
  • EF (CF) & Nutrient Solution Levels: EC and TDS meters
  • Maintaining Nutrient Levels
  • Nutrient Solution Management
  • Nutrient Temperatures
  • Organic Hydroponic Nutrient Solution Problems
  • Water in Recirculating Systems
  • Water in Run-to-Waste Systems
  • Water Treatments

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.


Your learning experience with ADL will not only depend on the quality of the course, but also the quality of the person teaching it. This course is taught by Susan Stephenson and Andy Patterson. Your course fee includes unlimited tutorial support throughout from these excellent teachers. Here are their credentials:

Susan Stephenson
BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 



Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.

Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.

Susan is a Professional Associate and exam moderator and holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.

She also supervised the Area Arboriculture Team and was Exhumations Officer€“ in charge of collecting discovered remains and arranging identification (if poss) and interment of same.


Andy Patterson
PGCE Biological Sciences; Doctor of Naturopathy (pending); Registered Nutritional Therapist; Permaculture Design Consultant (PDC); BSc(Hons) Ecology;


Andy has been a biology and science teacher since 2002, and a natural health therapist since 1998. His original degree was in Ecology and is well experienced in the Life Sciences generally, from biology, medicine and clinical sciences to horticulture, ecology and the environment. he divides his time between a therapy clinic; teaching, tutoring & lecturing. Andy is a passionate believer in the power of education to transform people’s lives, and gives 100% support to helping students achieve their goal. 

Andy has worked as a Biology lecturer in a number of post age 16 colleges, and 11-18 year age schools across the country during a 13 year career. This has included work as an Assessor for exam boards, 1 on 1 tutoring, working with small groups and whole classes. He worked on an award winning national Nuffield- STEM initiative using innovative educational techniques to develop sustainability awareness with KS3 school children. He has also managed a large vocational science area in a busy college and developed a successful Premedical curriculum which has helped many students on to successful medical careers


Excerpt From The Course

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.


Course Info
Course StartAnytime, Anywhere
Course Hours100
Recognised Issuing BodyTQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation.
Course CodeVHT119
Course PrerequisiteNo
Course QualificationLevel 4 Certificate in Hydroponic Supply and Consultancy - An Introduction
Exam Required?Finalised with exam/test
UK Course Credits10 Credits
US Course Credit Hours3 Credit Hours
Study SupportStudy Support: You'll be allocated your own personal tutor/mentor who will support and mentor you throughout your whole course. Our tutors/mentors have been specifically chosen for their business expertise, qualifications and must be active within their industry. Tutors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through our Moodle Student Support Zone online. Tutors are there to provide assistance with course material, discuss, explain and give advice and support throughout the whole programme. Their feedback is vital to your success.



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