Develop the knowledge and skills for working in a production nursery
- Learn about plant
identification and taxonomy.
- Study greenhouse management, heating and cooling, and irrigation.
- Understand plant propagation techniques, plant nutrition, and different growing media.
- Learn about plant maintainenance - pest and disease control.
- Learn about sales methods relevant to the industry.
This 11 lesson course was designed in collaboration with nursery hands at the Greening Australia Hamel Nursery, south of Perth. It teaches the skills for day to day work in a production nursery.
COURSE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
The course is divided into 11 lessons as follows:
1. Introduction to the Nursery Industry. Production systems, transport regulations, PVR.
2. Plant Identification and Taxonomy. Systematic botany, plant families, leaf and flower parts.
3. Nursery Structures and Buildings. Greenhouse management, structures for nurseries.
4. Potting Mixes. U.C. soil mixes, understanding soils, growing media.
5. Seed Propagation. Quality, sources, storage, germination treatments.
6. Cutting Propagation. Stock plants, hormones.
7. Other Propagation Techniques. Tissue culture, division, separation, layering, grafting.
8. Plant Nutrition in the Nursery. Nutrition management.
9. Pests and Diseases Control. Hygeine.
10. Other Nursery Tasks. Nursery irrigation, modifying plant growth.
11. Marketing and Sales. Sales methods.
- Understand plant propagation techniques and efficiency and quality control measures for the nursery.
- Understand means of identifying and naming plants through International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
- Describe pros and cons of different nursery structures and understand effective management techniques.
- Describe different types of potting mix, their uses and pros and cons.
- Discuss different sources, maintenance of genetic identity, hybridisation techniques, storage and germination; of seeds.
- Understand different means of propagating cuttings.
- Understand alternative methods of propagation and their appropriate uses.
- Discuss the importance of major and minor elements to plant health and the effect of their deficiencies upon plant nutrition.
- Understand the effects of pests and diseases on the livelihood of the nursery and the importance of good hygiene standards in their control.
- Understand different methods of controlling plant growth.
Course Duration: 100 hours.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU MAY DO IN THIS COURSE
- Speak with a nurseryman who sells plants to research shipping plants to other localities.
- Collect, dissect and observe flowers and leaves from six different plant species belonging to two plant families.
- Speak to some of the nurserymen you have contacted throughout the course to date.
- Find out what you can about their preferences for different types of greenhouses and different shade houses.
- Prepare two different types of propagating media; a soil-less potting media for general use in container growing of plants and a general potting mix containing some soil.
- Contact and collect catalogues from at least six different seed suppliers.
- Collect seed from at least three different plants growing in gardens or bushland and sow this seed.
- Contact (by phone) at least six different nurseries to research seed sourcing.
- Prepare a pot of cuttings and estimate the cost of production for each cutting produced.
- Obtain some pieces of wood and practice preparation of grafts and buds. Prepare three other grafts on a living plant.
- Visit or contact a nursery or stock agent who supplies fertilisers. Research the various types of fertilisers available and their appropriate applications.
- Obtain a soil-less growing medium (such as vermiculite, perlite, sand and so on or a mixture), which has had no fertilizers added to it at all. Fill 4 pots with this medium and plant 4 seedling plants into the pot. Obtain some different types of fertilizers and feed three of the pots, each with a different fertilizer...do not feed the fourth pot at all. Grow for 2‑3 weeks and then observe the differences in growth between each pot.
- Identify as many pest or disease problems as you are able to for a given set of plants.
- Contact three irrigation companies to find out what types of irrigation equipment are available for nursery irrigation. Try to get a comparison on prices between the cheaper systems and the more expensive systems which are available.
- Visit two different nurseries to research the techniques which are used in modifying plant growth.
Why Study This Course
- This course was developed by experienced professionals with a particular emphasis on real-world relvance.
- Studying this course will prepare students for all aspects of nursery work from preparing potting mixes to propagation, and caring for plants to marketing them.
- Students will gain an insight into daily nursery work and best practices.
Those who complete this course will have knowledge and skills which could help them to get a foot in the door in employment in a plant nursery - retail or wholesale. The course is most suited to people working in, or hoping to work in, the following areas:
- Nursery and Propagation
- Market Gardening
- Crop Production
- General Horticulture
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