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CERTIFICATE IN FRUIT GROWING VHT047

Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Develop skills and knowledge in fruit growing

  • Learn about the different aspects of fruit growing.
  • Learn about site and crop selection.
  • Learn about organic certification.
  • Understand the appropriate use of different cropping systems.
  • Understand nutrition and soil requirements for different crops.
  • Consider how to manage crops and protect them from pests and disease.
  • Learn more about the harvesting of produce.
  • Study how different produce is marketed.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Learn about the different systems for producing fruit crops

  • Learn about soils and nutrition.
  • Learn about the production of different types of crop - soft fruits, nuts, berries.
  • Learn about the different types of outdoor cropping system.
  • Learn from highly knowledgeable tutors with real industry experience.
  • Learn about the different types of growing systems and requirements of crops with the Certificate In Fruit Growing.
  • Students will study the all important elements of site and crop selection which form part of the framework for the production of outdoor crops.
  • This is an ideal course for those serious about growing their own fruit crop at home, or those looking to embark on a career in the fruit production industry.
  • The Certificate In Fruit Growing has a nominal duration of 600 hours of study.
  • ACS Courses offer students the flexibility to start when they want to and to study at their own pace (perhaps fitting studies around existing work or home commitments).
  • Full support is given to students throughout the period of their study.

COURSE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT

The Certificate In Fruit Growing comprises six Core Modules.

The course elements are summarised, below.  Please click on the module titles to follow the links to more detailed information on each.

CORE MODULES

Crops I BHT112
The Crops I module comprises 10 lessons covering all aspects of the production of different crop types (tree fruit, soft fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, and nuts).  The broad based studies will equip the student with useful knowledge on the principles of crop production – the types of crop to select, appropriate sites, managing nutritional requirements and the different systems used for growing crops outdoors.

Nut Production BHT219
A module for the enthusiast or commercial grower. Nut Production consists of 8 lessons, aiming to provide students with a sound foundation for growing a wide variety of nuts, particularly in temperate climates.  Those studying with this module will learn to identify different nut crop varieties and determine the cultivation and propagation practices applicable to these.  As well as looking at the harvesting of a nut crop, the module includes lessons on the marketing of nuts and risk assessment and management in the workplace.

Berry Production BHT309
Berry Production is an 8 lesson module which covers all aspects of the propagation, care and cultivation of common, and uncommon, berry fruit, from soils to the marketing of produce.  The module includes sections on the growing of well know varieties of berry (e.g. strawberry, blackberry, gooseberry etc.) as well as lesser known berries (such as lignoberry, pepino, mulberry etc.).  The module concludes with a lesson concerned with the marketing process of commercially produced berries.  Research and tasks required to complete this module will allow students a degree of specialisation in particular berries that interest them.

Viticulture BHT220
This is a ten lesson course covering the history of viticulture, the current state of the industry, wine and table grapes, dried grapes, cultural practices (trellising, soils, planting, pruning, irrigation, pests & diseases); vineyard design, improving quality, harvest and post harvest procedures, wine making, marketing and much much more.

Fruit Production - Warm Climate BHT217
This is an 8 lesson module concerned with the production of fruit in a warm climate.  The module looks at the establishing and management of an orchard and is completed with a lesson on the marketing of produce.

Fruit Production – Temperate Climate BHT218
This 8 lesson module covers the identification of different types of fruit crops suitable for growing in a temperate climate, and the establishment and cultural management of an orchard.  Upon completion of the module, students will be able to determine the cultural requirements for fruit crops and will have developed a plan for the establishment of an orchard.  Practical elements of the module include studying of different storage methods for fruit, their packaging and how they are marketed.

WHAT CAN BE GROWN?

There are several things to consider in order or fruit to grow well: choosing the correct site, the right plants to suit your climate and allocating enough space for each tree or plant are important decisions. These are things that cannot readily be improved by cultural practice alone.

Fruiting plants will become a part of the framework of a landscape, impacted by everything else in the landscape. If you try to skimp on space they will never perform as well and will also never look good.

Commercial fruit farms commonly grow a limited range of fruit cultivars. They may grow only citrus or only deciduous fruit trees; or perhaps only grapes. There are benefits in this approach (economies of scale, marketing, etc.) but with this reduced biodiversity, comes disadvantages such as greater susceptibility to pest and disease.

Home gardens are often more bio diverse. They may fit in at least a few fruiting plants and there is a large variety to choose from: creepers like strawberries, cane fruits such as raspberries, climbers and vines including Chinese gooseberry, passion fruit, grapes and various fruiting shrubs such as currants, blueberries, feijoa, trees such as apples, pears, quinces and persimmons, tropical fruits and several varieties of citrus fruit.

Most common deciduous tree fruits take at least 3 to 4 years to crop well from planting. Strawberries crop well in the first year. Blueberries take several years to produce strongly. Walnuts and chestnuts can take 5 to 7 years before you get reasonable crops.

BERRY FRUIT

Berry fruit have certain advantages both as a commercial crop or in a home garden. Notably they are intensive crops, able to produce a lot more in a smaller space. As such, a viable strawberry farm may only require a few greenhouses, whereas a viable apple or citrus orchard may require several to many acres.

Unlike other fruits, most berries are small plants, able to be grown in smaller places, they are faster to mature, and often give you a crop in their first year. Though most berries come from temperate climates, you can also grow at least some types in much warmer areas, as long as they receive ample water and appropriate protection.

STRAWBERRIES

These are one of the most popular berries for both outdoor and indoor growing; in the ground, in hydroponics or in home gardens. They can be grown in a wide range of climates ranging from cool temperate regions to cooler positions in tropical areas.

Strawberries bear fruit for up to six months, with each plant yielding up to half a kilogram of delicious fruit each year. Strawberries are used fresh, marketed frozen, processed in foods such as jam and ice cream, or used to flavour drinks such as milkshakes.

They will benefit from protection against frosts, and against cold and wet conditions during autumn or steamy wet conditions that would encourage fungal rots and other diseases. Movable plastic tunnels known as cloches can give some protection and controlled environment hot houses. A bird net will make sure you get the fruit and not the birds!

Strawberries prefer deep, well drained, slightly acid soils, but avoid heavy clay soils. They are heavy feeders, so apply of large amounts of well-rotted organic matter such as composts and manures, prior to planting – but don’t add too much nitrogen rich fertilizer as you will get a lot of leaf growth at the expense of fruit. Side dressings of blood and bone or cow manure, with a couple of hands of sulphate of potash added per bucket, to stimulate fruit set and applied during active growth periods are also beneficial. Regular watering is also important for good fruit production.

Strawberries are usually planted form runners in the autumn or late winter. You can buy young plants in pots in spring too, and they may already be fruiting. This is a more expensive option, but is especially rewarding for children.

Installing a trickle irrigation system with individual drippers to each plant will give much higher yields in summer to autumn in warm climates or during dry spells.

Strawberries are prone to a viral disease which makes it necessary to treat plantings as a short term proposition.  Plants are usually cropped for 2 3 years and then new plantings are carried out using certified virus free runners – it is better not to use runners from your own plants or those of friends as these are bound to be diseases (which only spreads the problem).

Harvest strawberries in the cooler part of the day every second day or so, pick them with the fruit stem intact except when you are making jam. This reduces the likelihood of fungal problems occurring. Store them in cool conditions e.g. fridge. If the berries are to be kept for any length of time they should be frozen.

RASPBERRIES

Raspberries prefer a cool protected, moist, but well drained site with acid soil, and are preferably grown on raised mounds. Raspberries need the support of a trellis or stake to grown on. The plants need a climate with some winter chilling to produce good crops. They are heavy feeders so they need regular applications of well-rotted compost or animal manures; make sure the soil is well prepared and add a handful of blood and bone per square metre of bed to add extra nitrogen.

Summer fruiting canes produce fruit on two year old canes (stems) called floricanes.  After the canes produce a crop they are removed in winter – once the canes are two years old the plant will have new canes (primocanes) that haven’t yet fruited as well as fruited canes – all the fruited canes need to be removed in winter at ground level, leaving the primocanes to fruit the following season; new shoots appear from the rootstock at ground level. Tie these un-fruited canes to the support. Autumn flowering varieties fruit on that season’s growth so they can be cut down to ground level after fruiting and new canes tied into a trellis in spring when they arise. Propagate by suckers, root cuttings or tip layers.

Raspberries are harvested in summer as they ripen – about twice weekly.  Store the fruit in cool conditions as soon as they are picked.  The fruit is generally eaten fresh, frozen or used for jam. Approx. 12 plants are adequate for a family. As they tend to sucker make sure you have a mowing strip either side of the bed – this prevent them overtaking your other garden beds.

HOW THE COURSE WORKS

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

To complete the course -

  • There is an assignment at the end of each lesson. So if there are 10 lessons in a module, there will be 10 assignments.
  • At the end of each module, there is also an examination which you can take at a time and location to suit you.

To pass the course you are required to pass all assignments and exams. (Course fees do not include exam fees).

Each of the modules mentioned can also be studied as a standalone course if you prefer.

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

If you are serious about learning more on the subject of fruit production then this course will be ideal for you.

  • You will learn to not only about selecting the right crop, but also understand the appropriate systems and environment for growing that crop.
  • You will learn principles and theories applicable to growing fruit both at home and in a commercial environment.
  • Generate a personal income from the sale of home produce or pursue a career in commercial fruit growing.
  • In addition to increasing your skills and knowledge on the successful production of a fruit crop, you will learn about other essential factors such as the storage, marketing, and transportation of fruit crops.

The course is studied by distance learning and you can start at any time to suit you.

So why not get started? Why Delay? Enrol Today!

You can enrol on the Certificate in Fruit Growing at any time. If you have any questions or want to know more - please get in touch with our specialist Horticulture tutors today. They will be happy to help you.

Meet some of our academics

Timothy WalkerB.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed. Former Director, Oxford Botanic Gardens.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
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) .


Check out our eBooks

CitrusThe Citrus ebook will provide you with some unique and practical insights into growing and getting to know more about citrus plants. The ebook covers getting to know more about the citrus plants, including botany and taxonomy of the plant, cultivating citrus plants, getting the most out of your citrus plants by ensuring that your plants are healthy, citrus propagation and many of the different citrus cultivars. Once you know how to grow healthy citrus plants and are getting a bumper harvest, we have also included some recipes for making the most of your delicious, homegrown fruit.
Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.
Food PreservingA great supplement for students of nutrition, self sufficiency or even horticulture, the Food Preserving ebook is a great introduction into all things preserving.
Growing StrawberriesStrawberries are a significant large crop in many countries and a popular crop for home gardeners the world over. More than 3.5 million tonnes of strawberries were produced in 75 countries in 2005 and by 2010 the world’s top 10 producers harvested almost 3 million metric tonnes, this extended to global production of over 4.5 million tonnes by 2012; a growth of almost 13% in 5 years. Although the United States, Turkey, Spain, Mexico the Netherlands, remain amongst the top producers, other countries are steadily increasing their production with Greece and Egypt increasing their production level by over 30% between 2007 and 2014, Chile too is an emerging and increasing producer.