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Commercial Vegetable Growing
Commercial Vegetable Production 100 Hours Certificate Course
Learn About Commercial Vegetable Growing
Commercial Vegetable Production course online. Learn about growing vegetables with this excellent online distance learning course.
A good definition of a vegetable is “any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food: e.g. tomato, bean, beet, potato, carrot, onion, asparagus, spinach, and cauliflower”…..Dictionary.com
Vegetables are very important to maintaining a well balanced diet in human nutrition, being low in carbs and fat, but high in vitamins, minerals and other dietary fibres. They can be consumed both raw and cooked and are part of the “5 a day” recommended for healthy living, by nutritionists.
Growing vegetables for a profit is much easier when the grower has acquired the basics to production techniques. Planning, planting, soil management, greenhouse production, pest and weed management, harvesting and post-harvesting techniques, to name just some of what is needed, are all important, for a successful and profitable crop.
Learn everything you need to know by taking this Vegetable growing programme. With unlimited tutor support, you will gain an expert knowledge of producing vegetables for profit, that you can apply to the work place. If you want to start your own business growing and selling vegetables, this is the course for you. If you are a farmer or farm worker, wanting to maxamise your commercial vegetable production potential, then this course will also benefit you.
Lesson Structure: Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
There are 8 lessons:
1 Introduction to Vegetable Growing
- Making the farm Pay
- Understanding economic principles – supply and demand, scale of economy, etc.
- Planning for the farm
- Production planning
- Financial planning and management
- Land care and land management
- Personal welfare
- Risk management – spreading risk, quality management, contingency planning, liquidity
- Creating a sustainable farm enterprise
- Planning for sustainability
- Planning for drought
- Crop selection
- Alternating crops, broad acre or row crops
- Growing Brassicas -Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Pak Choi, Broccoli, Radish, Turnip
- Growing Legumes -Beans, Broad Beans, Peas
- Growing Lettuce, Onions, Potatoes
Cultural Practices for Vegetables
- Explain general cultural practices used for vegetable production.
- Crop rotation
- Plant foods
- Cover Crops
- Legumes and inoculation
- Growing various cover crops -Barley, Buckwheat, Canola, Lucerne, Field pea, Lupins, Oats, Sorgham, Clover, etc.
- Ways of using a cover crop
- Cultivation techniques
- Crop Scheduling
- Planting Vegetables -seed, hybrid seed, storing seed, sowing seed
- Understanding Soils
- Dealing with Soil Problems
- Plant nutrition and feeding
3 Pest, Disease & Weed Control
- Weed control -hand weeding, mechanical, chemical and biological weed control methods
- Integrated Pest Management
- Non chemical pest control
- Understanding Pesticide labels
- Understanding the law in relation to agricultural chemicals
- Plant Pathology introduction
- Understanding Fungi
- Understanding insects, virus and other pathogens
- Insect control -quarantine, clean far5ming, chemicals, biological controls
- Review of common diseases
- Review common pests
- Review common environmental problems
- Review common weeds
Hydroponic & Greenhouse Growing
- Introduction to hydroponics
- Types of systems
- Nutrient solutions
- NFT and other systems for vegetable production
- Growing in a greenhouse (in the ground or hydroponics)
- Components of a Greenhouse System
- Types of Greenhouses and common greenhouse designs (venlo, mansard, wide span, multi span, poly tunnel, Sawtooth, Retractable roof, etc)
- Shade houses, Cold Frames
- Environmental Control -heating, ventilation, lighting, etc
- Controlling moisture (misting, fog, etc)
- Review of various vegetables – Cucurbits (Cucumber, Melon, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Zucchini)
Growing Selected Vegetable Varieties
- Determine specific cultural practices for selected vegetable varieties.
- Tropical Vegetables – Sweet Potato and Taro
- Less common vegetables – Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke, Asparagus, Chicory, Endive, Garlic, Leek, Okra, Rhubarb
- Other Crops -Beetroot (Red Beet), Capsicum, Carrot, Celery, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, Parsnip, Spinach
- Water and Irrigation
- Internal Drainage
- Flood, Sprinkler and Trickle irrigation
- The objective of irrigation
- Transpiration and Wilting Point
- When to irrigate Timing irrigations
- Detecting water deficiency or excess
- Understanding soil moisture
- Pumps, sprinklers and other equipment
- Water hammer
- Improving Drainage
- Managing erosion
Harvest & Post-Harvest
- Introduction to harvesting
- Post harvest treatment of vegetables
- Cooling harvested produce
- Harvesting tips
- Storing vegetables
- Standards for cost efficiency, quality and quantity
- Options for Marketing Produce
- Market Research
- How to sell successfully
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.
Learning Goals: Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
- Select appropriate vegetable varieties for different situations.
- Explain general cultural practices used for vegetable production.
- Explain the management of potential problems, including pests, diseases, weeds, and environmental disorders, in vegetable production.
- Explain alternative cultural techniques, including greenhouse and hydroponic production, for vegetables.
- Determine specific cultural practices for selected vegetable varieties.
- Determine the harvesting, and post-harvest treatment of different vegetables.
- Develop marketing strategies for different vegetables.
Practical (Set Tasks)
- Compile a resource file of sources of information regarding vegetable varieties.
- Describe the classification of different vegetables into major groups.
- Prepare a collection of plant reviews of different vegetable varieties.
- Determine three appropriate cultivars from each of different species of vegetables to be grown on a specified site.
- Prepare a planting schedule of vegetable varieties, to be planted over a twelve month period, in your locality.
- Differentiate between soil management practices for different vegetable varieties.
- Explain the establishment of vegetables by seed.
- Explain how to establish three different vegetables from seedlings.
- Prepare a table or chart showing the planting distances, and planting depth of seed for different vegetable varieties.
- Describe the application of pruning techniques to the production of specified vegetables.
- Prepare a crop schedule (ie. production timetable) for a specified vegetable crop.
- Prepare a pressed weed collection of different weeds.
- Differentiate between different specific techniques for weed control in vegetable crops, including different chemical and different non-chemical methods.
- Determine pest and disease problems common to different specified types of vegetables.
- Identify appropriate control methods for the pest and disease problems you determined (above).
- Develop pest and disease control programs, for the lifespans of different vegetables.
- Determine the environmental disorders occurring with vegetable crops inspected by you.
- Explain the methods that can be used to prevent and/or overcome different environmental disorders affecting vegetables.
- Determine the potential benefits of greenhouse vegetable production in a specified locality.
- Differentiate between the characteristics of different types of greenhouses.
- Compare vegetable growing applications for different environmental control mechanisms used in greenhouses, including:
- Different types of heaters
- Different types of coolers
- Describe how a specified commercial vegetable crop might be grown in a greenhouse visited by you.
- Compare vegetable growing applications for the major types of hydroponic systems
- Open and closed systems
- Aeroponic culture
- Determine reasons for choosing to grow vegetables in hydroponics rather than in the open ground.
- Explain how a specified vegetable can be grown in an hydroponic system.
- Determine two commercially viable varieties suited to growing in a specified locality, from each of the following different types of vegetables:
- Determine specific cultural requirements for growing each of the vegetable varieties selected (above) on a specified site.
- Describe the culture of less commonly grown vegetables chosen by you.
- Produce a log book, recording all work undertaken to grow a crop of different vegetable varieties, suited to your locality.
- Describe different harvesting methods, including both manual and mechanical techniques, used in vegetable production, for specified vegetables.
- Identify the appropriate stage of growth at which different types of vegetables should be harvested.
- Evaluate commonly used harvesting techniques of vegetables.
- Evaluate commonly used post-harvest treatments of vegetables.
- Determine post-harvest treatments to slow the deterioration of different specified vegetables.
- Develop guidelines for post harvest handling, during storage, transportation and marketing, of a specified vegetable variety.
- Analyse vegetable marketing systems in your locality.
- Explain the importance of produce standards to marketing in different vegetable marketing systems.
- Explain the impact of quarantine regulations on transport of different types of vegetables, in your locality.
- Explain an appropriate procedure for packaging a specified vegetable for long distance transport.
- Develop marketing strategies for different specified vegetables.
Your tutor for this course is:
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.
Assessment is based on a combination of completing all assignments and sitting for a final short one and a half hour exam, in your own location.
If you don’t cope well with exams then you may elect to undertake a project instead. This is a popular option.
In addition, most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson placed before the assignment. This is an opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge and skills and practical experience. This ADL feature is an added bonus not found at most online schools. Set Tasks are not required for assessment.
Some courses also have optional Self-Tests which are available on our online learning platform. These are not available by correspondence or by USB, and do not form part of your overall grade.
How our courses work
- Choose Your Learning Method
You choose how you would like to receive your course material, i.e., Online, USB or Correspondence. The choice is yours. You may also work on online or offline.
- Tutor Allocation
Every student is assigned their own dedicated tutor who is an expert in their subject area. They provide as much or as little individual contact as you require. You can contact your tutor whenever you need – your hours are not limited.
- Feedback and Assignments
Tutor Feedback is an essential component in helping you understand the subject matter. Tutor feedback is given in the form of notes written on the assignment. We encourage you to contact your Tutor where help with clarification and understanding of course material may be required.
Your assignments are located at the end of each lesson. You submit them for marking whenever you are ready. There is no time limit.
- Set Tasks and Self-Tests
Most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson before for the assignment. This is where you get the opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge, skills and practical experience. Many modules also have short Self-Tests.
Once all assignments have been completed you may then elect to sit for a one and half hour exam in your own location. If you prefer not to take the exam you do have the option to undertake a project instead.
Once the exam or project part of the course is completed, your Certificate is then processed. Please allow approximately 4 weeks for this.
- Design Your Own Qualification
ADL offers students the flexibility to self-design their own qualification – bundling together a combination of 100-hour modules into a qualification higher than a certificate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here is a list of the most often asked FAQ’s.
Q. Why should I enrol with the Academy for Distance Learning?
A. Here at ADL, our students are our priority – we treat everyone as a unique individual.
Q. Do I need to buy text books?
A. No, as each module has been written by highly qualified industry professionals. The content of the material is presented in such a way that text books are not required. However, if you require additional reading your tutor will be able to supply a list.
Q. What happens if I have to stop studying for a while? (eg. become sick, go on holidays, have a baby, move house, etc)
A. It’s OK to take a break and start up your study at a later point in time. Just let us know.
Q. Is there an age limit?
A. There is no maximum age limit. We do however, have a minimum age limit of 18 years. Below that age parental consent would be required.
Q. Are your courses up-to date?
A. Our courses are revised and updated on a rotation system.
Q. Do you have a Cancellation policy?
A. Yes. We have a cancellation policy that is fair and equitable. For further details please click here.
Q. Will I have any opportunity to engage with other students?
A. We have a Student Community group based on facebook! If you don’t have a facebook account already, you could make one just for talking with fellow students on the group.
Q. When can I enrol/start?
A. You may enrol and start at any time of the year – it’s all self- paced.
Q. Can I study from anywhere in the world?
A. Our courses are available to anyone, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. The course content is relevant to any country, culture or economy.
Q. How long do I have to complete the course?
A. You complete the course at any time that is convenient for you.
Q. Completing a 100 hour module – how long will it take?
A. For some students a 100 hour module will take approximately to 3- 6 months to complete. Others take less time and some even longer.
Q. Assessment – how does it work?
A. For each 100 hour module you are assessed by assignments (at the end of each lesson) and a final one and a half hour exam (or you may elect to complete a Project, instead of sitting the exam) – the choice is yours – you sit for the exam in your own location.
Q. I don’t cope well with exams – what can I do?
A. You may elect to undertake a Project (set by your tutor) instead of sitting the exam. Projects are completed from your home and can usually take a couple of weeks to complete.
Q. If my assignment is not up to standard is there an opportunity to resubmit my work?
A. Yes –
Q. How many assignments do I need to complete for each module?
A. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment – so if a course has say, 10 lessons, there would be 10 assignments.
Q. I am having difficulty attending workshops/industry meetings, what can be done?
A. If your course requires attendance at workshops, conferences, or industry meetings; alternative arrangements can be made in your country.
Q. What qualification will I receive?
A. For individual modules, you would be awarded a Certificate endorsed by TQUK (Training Qualifications, UK), providing you complete all assignments and the exam. If you just want to complete only the assignments and not sit for the exam or finish a Project, then a Letter of Achievement would be awarded. For more details on qualifications available please click here.
Q. Can I customize my diploma/higher qualification?
A. Not all educational institution’s certificates /diplomas meet everyone’s needs. The opportunity to Design Your Own Diploma at the Academy (subject to our approval) is an added bonus, not found at other colleges. You choose modules that you think will help you in achieving your goal.
Q. What do I get when I complete the course? Will I receive a transcript?
A. At the completion of all courses and providing all assignments and exam requirements have been met, you will receive your Award and a Transcript.
Q. Our tutors – who are they?
A. We appoint Tutors and require that they must be currently active in their industry, with at least 5 years’ experience in their chosen profession.
Q. Can I contact my tutor at any time?
A. Yes – you have unlimited access to your tutor via email through our Online Classroom. You can always leave a message with ADL requesting your tutor to contact you. You decide on how much or how little contact you wish to have.
Q. Practical work – How is this done?
A. To find out more about this part of the course please visit the section on How Our Courses Work here.
Excerpt from the Course
Hydroponics: an introduction
Hydroponics is the process used to grow plants without soil and literally word 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.
Hydroponics is not an easier way to grow plants. It is a more controlled way of growing plants!
Growing in hydroponics can offer the following advantages:
- It can reduce the physical work involved in growing.
- It can reduce the amount of water used in growing.
- It can save on space – more can be grown in the same area.
There are six basic types of hydroponic systems:
- Water Culture
- Ebb and Flow (or flood and drain system)
- Drip (with either a recovery or non recovery process)
- NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
Over time the basic models have evolved and resulted in hundreds of different variations.
The Wick System
This is passive with no moving parts, and is also the simplest type of hydroponic system. The nutrient solution is drawn into the growing medium from the reservoir with a wick. The grower using this system can use a variety of growing medium such as perlite, vermiculite, coconut fibre, and so on. However, large plants tend to draw and use the nutrient water at a faster rate than the wick can supply it
The Water Culture System
This is the simplest active system to use. A styrofoam platform floating on the nutrient solution holds the plants. Oxygen is supplied to the roots of the plants through a bubbling air stone that is attached to an air pump. Water culture is the system is most often used for leafy vegetables such as lettuce that require fast growth and ample water. It is not suitable for most other plants that require a longer growing period.
The Ebb and Flow System
This is a versatile system that floods the grow tray with the nutrient solution for a short period and then drains the solution back into the reservoir using a submerged pump and timer. The timer cuts in several times a day and as it cuts in, the nutrient solution washes onto the tray. As it cuts out, the solution drains back into a reservoir. The frequency is dictated by the type of plants being grown and the growing medium used. Several types of growing mediums such as perlite, rockwool, gravel, or grow rocks can be used in this system. It is advisable to use a medium with greater water retention abilities such as rockwool as the incidence of root dehydration during power outages is lessened.
These are simple to operate, very widely used, and the most popular system worldwide. A submersed pump is controlled by a timer and when the timer turns on the nutrient solution drips onto the base of each plant using a drip line. There are two types of drip systems:
- The Recovery System – where the excess (drained off) nutrient solution is recovered in a reservoir and then recycled. This system uses a less expensive (and less precise) timer than the following system. It is more efficient in that it recycles nutrients and due to this does not need to be as precise as the non-recovery system. However, this system needs to be carefully monitored to ensure that the nutrient solution does not vary too much in pH and strength due to the recycling process.
- The Non-Recovery System – where the excess nutrient solution is not collected or recycled. It needs to be more precise than the former system to ensure that the plant gets the correct level of nutrient solution and that the runoff is kept to a minimum. This system does not need the same level of maintenance as the former system as the nutrient solution is not recycled so pH and nutrient levels should always be correct.
These do not use a growing medium but instead the plants are supported by a basket and the roots dangle in the nutrient solution. There is a constant flow of nutrient solution which means that no timer is required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray using a tube where it flows over the roots of the plants, and then drains back into the reservoir. This is an inexpensive method as it does not require the expense of replacing the growing medium for each successive crop. Roots dry out rapidly, however, during power outages or equipment failure when the supply of nutrient solution is interrupted.
The Aeroponic System
This is probably the most high-tech type of hydroponic gardening. Once again, like the previous system, the plants are suspended in the air. The root system is periodically (every few minutes) misted with the nutrient solution using a timer and nutrient pump on a short cycle for a few seconds at a time. Due to root exposure in this system they can dry out rapidly during power outages or equipment failure.
EBook to compliment this course
Profitable Farming EBook
A complete guide and reference book for the entrepreneurial farmer ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
By John Mason
Profitable Farming eBook course online. This full colour e-book will set you on the path towards profit in a world where markets, technology and climates are changing as never before. It is not enough for today’s farmer to do things as they have always been done, but change need not be bad news!
Profitable Farming shows that for the farmer who is willing to think laterally and has planned ahead, there are many new opportunities for making money from the land –whether by changing the core business of a farm or simply diversifying for extra income and security.
The book features a comprehensive survey of new enterprise possibilities, but more importantly, it explains why change might be warranted and how to change with the minimum of risk.
Topics covered include:
- Specialized crops and livestock;
- Farm tourism;
- Reducing costs through self-sufficiency and energy conservation;
- Long-term planning and management of resources;
- Value adding to produce;
- Dealing with degraded land;
- Working with climate change;
John Mason is a qualified horticulturalist, the founder and principal of the Australian Correspondence Schools and is author of many successful gardening, farming and horticultural books published by Kangaroo Press. He is also author of Sustainable Agriculture published by Landlinks Press.
Chapter 1 : Introduction
Creative ideas for profitable farming; What has changed; How to adapt/secrets of success
Chapter 2 : Solutions to Beat the Economic Squeeze
Spending less; Self sufficiency; Making decisions; The basic essentials; Basic non-essentials; Preserving & processing your food; Vegetables you can freeze; Harvesting & preserving; Drying; Energy use & conservation; Energy conservation techniques; Renewable energy sources compared; Some more on wind power; Using firewood
Chapter 3 : Making the Farm Pay
Conservation and management of resources for long term sustainability; Native vegetation and farms; Important reasons for using trees; Landcare programs; Sharing equipment; Rehabilitation; Hostile environments; Water management
Chapter 4 : Alternative Enterprises
New enterprises; Overcoming limitations; Some ideas for new enterprises; Some selected enterprises to consider in greater detail; Viticulture; What to plant; Setting up; Sesame seed; Mung beans; Plant fibre crops; Nuts; Cut flowers and foliage; Organic farming; Agroforestry; Hydroponics; Herbs; Essential oils; Methods of extracting essential oils; Farming medicinal herbs; Cultivation of herbs; Broad acre cultivation; Traditional plant row spacings; Expected yields of selected herbs; Postharvest handling of herbs; Deer; Ostriches; Emus; Alpacas and llamas; Goats; Aquaculture; Horse industry applications; Value adding; Farm tourism; Services you could or should offer
Chapter 5 : Towards Better Planning
A way of thinking; Economic principles; Scale of economies; Change or die; A planning procedure; Decisions; Plan drawing of the farm; Risk; Quality systems; Contingency planning; Liquidity; Financial records; Controlling growth
FAQ - RHS Theory Qualifications
If you require further details about any of the RHS industry recognised qualifications please, call one of our friendly RHS Course Advisors on +44 (0)1227 789 649 or email: [email protected]
Q: When can I Enrol/Start My RHS Course With ADL?
A: Anytime, Anywhere. There are no enrolment deadlines.
Q: I live Overseas. Can I Study From Overseas?
A: You can study any of the RHS theory qualifications overseas. All courses are offered in English. You will need to email RHS Qualifications direct to arrange sitting for your examination overseas.
Q: Is There a Time Limit for Completing an RHS Qualification?
A: At present there are no time limits. However, RHS is contemplating in the future, the introduction of course time-lines.
Q: Are There Any Entry Requirements (Pre-Requisites)?
A: The RHS Theory courses do not require prerequisites, previous experience or any knowledge of horticulture. You just need passion for all things horticulture.
Q: What Course Should I Start With First? I Am New To RHS Qualifications.
A: We highly recommend that you start with Level 2 – Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.
Q: What Does ADL Course Material Include?
A: Includes Power Point Presentations, Videos and written course lessons.
Q: When Do Exams Take Place?
A: Exams are held on fixed dates in February and June of each year. You should register as a candidate at least 3 months before these dates, so please do not leave exam registration to the last minute
Q: Where Do I Take My Exams?
A: UK: You take the exams at the RHS Wisley Centre, located between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey or at other authorised RHS centres around the UK.
Overseas: please email RHS qualifications direct for centre information.
Q: Exam Pass Marks?
A: Module – pass 50%. Commendation 70%.
Qualification: 50% pass for all modules.
Commendation awarded for all modules.
Each question carries a value of 10 marks.
Q: I’m Not Happy With My Exam Results?
A: You have the opportunity to re-sit your exam at the next opportunity.
There are no restrictions on the number of re-sits you can take. The highest mark you achieve will remain.,