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Herbs (Introductory Course)

Course CodeAHT108
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

A COURSE FOR THE AMATEUR HERBALIST

  • Learn to grow and use herbs at home
  • If you love herbs and want to learn more under the guidance of international herb experts: study this 

" I have never found the staff at any other learning institution as supportive as the staff at ACS. This gives one a lot of peace of mind and confidence to go on - at every squeak from my side, you guys have always been there, immediately to sort me out. The feedback on my lessons has always been really good and meaningful and an important source of my learning. Thanks!..." - Student with ACS

 
Herbs are fascinating, fun and useful. Whether you want to grow them to provide an interesting garden, or are hoping to learn more about using them in cooking, craft or for health and well being: learning more about herbs through this course will no doubt enlighten and enrich you in ways beyond your expectations.

Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Herbs
    • herb plant identification
    • plant names
    • general characteristics of herbs
    • the history of herbs
    • herb resources (nurseries, seeds, clubs, etc).
  2. Herb Gardening
    • planting
    • propagation
    • soils, plant nutrition
    • and container growing.
  3. Landscaping and Companion Planting
    • introduction to companion planting
    • herb garden design.
  4. Growing Herbs to Harvest
    • herb products
    • setting up a herb farm
    • making compost.
  5. Herbs for Cooking
    • herb crafts
    • herb ingredients
    • cooking with herbs.
  6. Herbs for fragrance, health and beauty
    • dyes
    • mordants
    • oils
    • other herb crafts.

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

  • Define “herb”
    • Identify herbs suitable for hanging baskets, indoor growing, and appropriate methods of propagation for at least 50 herb species
    • Define “companion planting”
    • Give examples of appropriate companion planting
    • Build an efficient compost heap
    • Identify appropriate herbs for culinary uses
    • Identify some medicinal uses for herbs

What You Will Do

  • Collect and identify 30 different herb specimens
    • Learn the basics of plant identification
    • Make contact with herb farms to ask about their operation
    • Propagate herbs by cuttings
    • Prepare a soil suitable for growing herbs
    • Design and plant a herb garden
    • Visit retailers to investigate the types of herb products available
    • Prepare food containing herbs
    • Harvest and dry a herb correctly
    • Prepare one other type of herb product

Try Growing Herbs in Pots or Hanging Baskets
 
Well-planted hanging baskets and pots can transform a garden. They brighten up even the gloomiest corners, and provide interest in small awkward spaces. When suspended from a wall or fence, baskets add height in an otherwise flat area. In a new-build, where the garden is still a mess of rubble and bare soil, pots and baskets are the garden.
 
For people who have only balconies or small terraces, especially in inner cities, pots and baskets become their essential ‘green space’. 
 
Herbs are superb plants. Evergreen herbs, and there are many to choose from, provide colour year-round. Annuals give us those fabulous hits of flavour that tells us summer is here! They are fragrant, colourful, an essential nectar source for beneficial insects, and of course we can eat them! Our food would be far less interesting without the range of flavours herbs provide.
 
Put these two together, and you have the perfect combination: herbs flourishing in pots and hanging baskets.
 
 
Which Herbs to Grow
 
We all have our favourites, but the most popular would probably be thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, basil, parsley, chives, mint, chervil and coriander. Some of these are annuals (die back at the end of the season), some herbaceous (die back and are dormant over winter, but re-grow each spring), and some evergreen. All will need to be managed differently although with care, they can all be grown together.
 
Annual herbs, such as basil and coriander, like sunny locations, fertile soil and plenty of water to keep them growing. They don’t survive winter weather in cool areas, so a basket or pot filled with basil will need to either be removed, or re-planted with something else at the end of summer.
 
Perennial herbs, which die back in winter but re-grow each spring, such as chives and mint, will also need winter-interest added to the pot or basket. Or an evergreen shrubby herb can be added to the mix, providing winter focus.
 
Evergreen herbs, such as rosemary, sage and thyme are not only useful in the kitchen all year round, but also provide winter interest. They can grow quite large and often do better in pots as they need room for their roots. But with good management, a large basket will also work for them.
 
Tips for success:
  • Use a good quality potting mix. There are composts now especially designed for containers. These will give better results. 
  • Use a soil-less compost: it will be lighter
  • Incorporate some water-retaining gel into the potting mix to retain moisture. Wet this before mixing into the compost, otherwise, as it expands, it will push the compost up and over the sides of the container.
  • Slow-release fertiliser pellets can be mixed into the compost at the time of planting up.
  • Line porous pots with a plastic liner to slow down evaporation. Remember to leave a hole at the base for drainage.
  • If your basket is plastic or metal, line firstly with a decorative material, then put an inner lining of plastic to retain water. Again, leave drip holes in the base.
  • Once planted up, to reduce moisture loss, cover bare compost between plants with a layer of coarse grit, or chipped bark. Use decorative pebbles for pots on the ground where weight is not an issue. Where weight is an issue, use shells; they are much lighter 
  • Install a drip-irrigation system if possible.
  • Consider using ‘self-watering’ baskets with an in-built reservoir. These tend not to be very big.
 
 


Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled 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.


Check out our eBooks

Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.
Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmThis is both a guide to “how to propagate plants” as well as an exploration of the possibility of starting a small nursery or herb business that could eventually grow into a blossoming business! It's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. Since it was first published by “Grass Roots” in 1981, we have lost count of the hundreds of people who have told us how this book kicked off a successful business or career for them. 63 pages
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more. This book has nine chapters covering the following topics: an introduction to herbs, cultivation, propagation, pest and diseases, herb gardens, an A-Z plant directory, using herbs, features for herb gardens, herbs in pots - 113 colour photos 61 pages
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.