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NURSERY HANDS COURSE VHT102

Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn the skills for working in a production nursery

  • A course designed specifically for nursery hands.
  • A useful qualification - with worldwide application.
  • Developed and taught by industry experts.
  • Learn about greenhouse management, growing media, propagation, and much more.

 

 

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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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.

AIMS

  • 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
  • Hydroponics
  • General Horticulture
     


 

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Meet some of our academics

Dr Lynette Morgan (Horticulture)Lyn worked with Rivendell Mushroom Farm between 1986 and 88; and then as a research assistant and technician for a few years while undertaking university studies. In 1991 she graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons) which covered broad horticultural sciences, as well as nursery vegetable and fruit production. Throughout the 90's she worked in both the nursery industry and horticultural crop production, before establishing her own business "Suntec" which has built an exceptional international reputation providing consulting services; particularly in hydroponic crop production. Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
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.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.


Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing Flowering BulbsContaining 187 pages of great facts on growing bulbs and stunning colour pictures, the Growing and Knowing Flowering Bulbs ebook is an essential read for students, professional horticulturalists, hobby gardeners and anyone who is interested in knowing more about flowering bulbs.
Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
Getting Work in HorticultureExplore what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse this industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
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.