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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

An extensive course in herb production for developing your business and your knowledge.

  • Study in your own home at your own pace.
  • Learn more about herb production and growth.
  • Improve your job prospects or your own business.
  • Learn from industry experts – our tutors!

“A herb growers course designed for those serious about entering the herb growing industry – covers all types of herbs from culinary through to ornamental and medicinal. This course will give you the confidence to succeed in this interesting field.“
Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA ACS Tutor

This course has been operating for decades and is designed for people who are involved, or wanting to become involved in the business of herbs. It covers less horticulture and focused more strongly on herbs than the Certificate  in Horticulture -Herbs. This course is more appropriate for the small business operator who not only grows herbs but also harvests and value adds (e.g. perhaps producing herb products).

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Extend Your Knowledge and Passion for Herbs

Hundreds of people have studied this course over the years. Many have gone on to work in or establish herb farms or nurseries. Others have moved into businesses that deal with culinary or medicinal herbs or some other facet of this extremely diverse industry.

For others, the course has been more about indulging a long standing passion, than building a career.

Whatever your reason for being interested in herbs; this course offers an opportunity to learn from a team of professionals who have worked with, grown, used and written about herbs for decades. Our principal wrote his first book on herbs (Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm) in 1982 and has grown hundreds of species over the years. Our UK based tutor, Maggi Brown worked for Garden Organic near Coventry for 20 years, growing, using and writing about herbs. Other members of our team have worked with herbs across the UK, and from the south to north of Australia.

Tutor Comment

“A herb growers course designed for those serious about entering the herb growing industry – covers all types of herbs from culinary through to ornamental and medicinal. This course will give you the confidence to succeed in this interesting field.”

Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor


Start Date: Start at any time.

Course Structure: There are thirty lessons including a special project in this course, each requiring about 16 hours work.

Course Duration: 600 nominal hours.

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Herb Varieties
  3. Soils & Nutrition
  4. Herb Culture
  5. Propagation Techniques
  6. Pests & Disease Control
  7. Harvesting Herbs
  8. Processing Herbs
  9. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts
  10. Using Herbs: Herbs for Cooking
  11. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs
  12. Herb Farming
  13. Herb Garden Design
  14. Constructing a Herb Garden
  15. Managing a Herb Nursery
  16. Lavenders
  17. Mints
  18. Lamiaceae Herbs
  19. Garlic
  20. The Asteraceae (Compositae) Herbs
  21. The Apiaceae Family
  22. Other Herbs
  23. Topiary & Hedges
  24. Producing Herb Products  A
  25. Producing Herb Products  B
  26. Producing Herb Products  C
  27. Marketing in the Herb Industry
  28. Budgeting & Business Planning
  29. Workforce Design & Management
  30. Major Research Project

EXAMS: Two exams must be sat and passed; one for the first 15 lessons and the other for the last 15.

Enrolment Fees do not include exam fees.

Grow Herbs Anywhere (Just about)

You don’t need to have an allocated herb garden to grow and enjoy a range of herbs.

Different types of herbs can be grown together, but herbs can just as easily be grown alone or alongside or between other plants. They can be used as edging plants, as under-planting, as bed fillers or in those difficult spots, where little else will grow.

Herbs are fantastic when interspersed throughout the garden – for example, thymes are great edging plants for garden borders or rose beds, golden marjoram looks lovely in a perennial border, and garlic or onion chives make good edging and accent plants. They can also be used under roses to help deter pests. Others such as artichokes can play an important architectural role in your garden, adding height, interest and drama to an otherwise ordinary planting scheme. Herbs such as curry plant, rosemary, sage and lavenders can be trimmed as hedges to edge garden beds or to delineate one area from another.

Some herbs like mint will do well along shady fence lines, but you should use a root barrier (dug into the ground) to prevent it spreading too far, otherwise it may take over your garden! There are species which grow well in between pavers like low-growing thymes which bear flowers in white, pink, mauve or magenta in spring and summer - these tough, sun and heat loving species will thrive in these conditions. Winter and summer savory also do well in very hot and dry spots – just trim these back at the end of winter to encourage new spring and summer growth.

Almost all herbs make exceptional pot plants – you could group several smaller growing types (e.g. thyme, parsley, chives and oregano) in a single large pot, or plant just one large species such as a bay tree, rosemary, or sage plant in the centre of the pot. Herbs can also be utilised against your front fence (a spot where weeds usually love to take hold) or as an alternative to grass on your nature strip or verge, that way the entire neighbourhood can enjoy them too.

If you have a damp, poorly-drained spot in the garden then the mints (Mentha spp.) will thrive there (again, a root barrier would be advisable). Alternatively, try Vietnamese mint (Polygonum odoratum). Like common mint, this species also likes lots of water and will thrive in shady or semi-shaded spots.

Using Herbs to fill Gaps in the Summer Garden

Summer can be both a joy and curse for your garden: a joy, because things can grow faster, but a curse because pests and diseases also develop faster. And when they do, it’s not uncommon for plants to die unexpectedly, leaving a big gap in the garden. It might be a bare spot in a bed of shrubs or a vegetable patch; or perhaps an empty pot amongst a cluster of very attractive potted plants.

Things to know about gaps:

  • A bare space can be a magnet for weeds.
  • Bare soil can be vulnerable to wind or water erosion.
  • If plants died in this spot there can be remnants of the disease left in the soil (if you replant the same type of plant, it may be immediately attacked).
  • A micro-climate has been changed - the bigger the plant that died, the bigger the change. Consider a large shrub or small tree: it may have been protecting surrounding plants, and its departure may leave those plants exposed to the elements.

Most herbs are fast-growing and relatively hardy plants, and that makes them ideal for filling in gaps that open up in the garden. I plant chives to edge veggie beds and plant herbs such as parsley, thyme and oregano to fill in empty spaces. Parsley, for example, will grow quite well under smaller fruit trees - as will chives. Thyme and oregano will do well in dry spots or under roses.

Where the Course Might Take You?

Even though generalisations might be able to be made about growing herbs, every type of plant is a different type of plant.  Every species has it's own cultural requirements.  It must be treated in a certain individual way and, depending on the climate and location in which it is grown, it will respond differently to different types of treatments.

Herbs come in all shapes and sizes, from trees to ground covers; and their cultural needs are as variable as the shape an size. Some herbs are very tolerant of adverse conditions; while others are not.

This course will show you how to grow herbs; develop your awareness of hundreds of different types of plants that have herbal properties; and help you to explore career and business opportunities that might present in the herb industries.

People who work with herbs include: nurserymen, herb farmers, perfume makers, soap makers, food processors, herb farmers, pharmaceutical companies, natural therapists, and others. 

Operating a herb farm, for example; is not just a matter of being able to produce a good product.  You have to produce a product which is saleable, and then sell it. You can know all about herbs, and still be an unsuccessful herb farmer, if you are unable to show some degree of business sense.

Learning to identify, grow and use lots of different herbs is a first step, toward what can potentially become a lifelong passion and career. Beyond the course; you may go in any one of many different directions with the learning you develop.

What Next?

Register to Study Today - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol right now.


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Meet some of our academics

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.
Jacinda ColeJacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.
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

Starting a Nursery or Herb FarmIt's often amazing how much can be produced, and the profit that can be made from a few hundred square meters of land. To work efficiently and profitably, a nursery or herb farm must be both well organised and properly managed. As with any business, it is essential to be confident enough to make firm decisions as and when needed. This e-book is your ticket to a fragrant future.
HerbsLearn to identify and grow dozens of commonly grown herbs. Explore how to use them. Herbs 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.
WeedsThis book helps you understand different types of weeds, and how to control them. Many of the more commonly occurring weeds around the world are both illustrated and described.
Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsThe Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs ebook is ideal for students, professionals and home gardening enthusiasts alike. Fruit, Vegetable and Herbs provides an overview in techniques to produce food in the garden. Topics covered within this course include 1/ Food from the garden, 2/ Deciding what to grow, 3/ Successful growing, 4/ Fruits, 4-1/ Deciduous fruit trees, 4-2/ Citrus fruits, 4-3/ Tropical fruits, 4-4/ Berries, 4-5/ Nuts, 4-6/ Vine crops, 4-7/ Using produce, 5/ Vegetables, 6/ Mushrooms, 7/ Special growing techniques