PRACTICAL HORTICULTURE COURSE - DISTANCE LEARNING
Learn to be a Horticulturalist with the best practical skills!
A practical approach to horticultural education..
How do you learn the practical side of horticulture by distance education?
Although all ACS courses are practically and well as theoretically focused - this course was developed for those people who feel that they will gain more from a course that places MOST of the learning experience on learning theory - through practice. There are lots of practical horticultural tasks to develop your skills and knowledge covered in this course. So if you are a student that prefers practical learning, then this course is the ANSWER, and it really does work! Best taken online, or on CD, where you can make full use of interactive learning tasks and coloured photography on the computer.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Seed Propagation (including seed identification)
Potting up and After Care of young plants
Maintenance of Established Plants
Practical Plant Identification
Pest and Disease Identification
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.
What You Will Do
Test soils to determine characteristics which would be valuable to management of any given soil in a horticultural situation
Identify sandy loam, silty loam, and clay loam soils by feel; and pH testing by soil indicator; and relate to plant selection
Identify and sow a range of different types of seeds, in different situations, in a way that will optimise successful propagation.
Propagate a range of plants using different vegetative propagation techniques
Pot up and provide after care for a range of propagated seedlings and cuttings.
Plant a range of (different types) plant material.
Maintain the desired growth type and habit for a range of plants.
Identify significant woody plants including: Trees; Shrubs; Groundcover; & Conifers
Identify a range of significant plant problems including pests, diseases and others.
Identify a range of non woody and indoor plants of horticultural significance.
Conduct a risk assessment of a horticultural workplace to determine safe working practices and select appropriate personal safety clothing and equipment.
Tips -Practical Gardening over Winter in response to Climate Change
Climate Change and global warming is impacting everywhere; Sub tropical areas and temperate areas are both recording unseasonal temperatures -and this calls for practical adaptations to how we garden everywhere.
Some years are difficult than ever to predict garden problems that may transpire over winter. What problems are we likely to face this winter then; and how do we handle them? Many years of drought has changed the populations of insects and diseases - not only pests but also predators. Things are out of balance - and it may take a season or two to restore it!
Temperature extremes are affecting both local indigenous fauna and garden plants; if vegetation dies or thins, it affects the buffering capacity of local environments (ie. with more vegetation, low temperatures don’t go as low and hot days don’t get as hot. Once plants die due to extremes, the area becomes even hotter in summer or colder in winter. Strong winds now rip through the remnant vegetation, foliage dries out faster then water can be up-taken by the roots - causing wilting and more damage.
Unexpected cold snaps can bring frosts or cold winds – in the tropics plants may not be acclimatised to these swift changes in temperature. Cold reduces growth and also flowering and fruit development and can even kill parts or all of a cold sensitive plant.
To protect from frosts cover plants with hessian or some other physical protection such as horticultural fleece.
Alternatively put sprinklers on for a few hours just before dawn when the chance of frost is greatest (i.e. the slightly higher temperature of the water is often enough to prevent frost damage).
Pests and Diseases
With the recent rains, pests and diseases now have a great opportunity to flourish – however the population of predators is low, their population won’t boom until after the pests have boomed and provided them with a food supply.
You Can Help Restore Balance in Your Garden
- attract birds to the garden
- buy and Introduce good parasites to eliminate aphis, mites etc
- use natural controls (eg. biological traps) for pest populations until natural predators build
- be vigilant - inspect often and use a “soft” spray like pyrethrum to control populations before they explode
- understand the life cycles of pests and diseases – this is the best way to prevent or combat problems
- learn to identify pest and disease problems – so you can choose the appropriate treatment
- avoid blanket spraying – this will eliminate a struggling predator population’s chance of re-establishing
- practice bio-diversity - to attract natural predators and confuse pests
- practice crop rotation in the vegie patch to prevent build up of pests and diseases
- mulch after rains only to establish healthy plants
- healthy soils grow healthy plants - add compost and well decomposed animal manures – this helps problems from starting in the first place
- plant to suit the situation – it is best to choose plants suited to your area rather then change and area to suit your plants
- feed and water your plants regularly – stressed plants attract pest and disease problems
- thick mulching can help buffer temperatures, both hot and cold, and keep moisture in the ground
- reduce materials like stone, brick, ceramic and asphalt - these can act as heat banks in heat waves; and in a cold snap will get colder faster than a bank of trees, shrubs or even grass
- protect your garden and plants from hot or cold wind with thickly planted edges or hedges