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Crops I (Outdoor Plant Production)

Course CodeBHT112
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Grow better Vegetables, Herbs, Fruit or Cut Flowers Out Doors

Ten lessons in this course will cover: site, crop selection, soil management, cut flowers, vegetables, berries, nuts, herbs, tree fruits, other crops, managing a market garden and more.

Who Should Do this Course:

  • Farmers, Growers, Anyone starting or buying a small farm, or large
  • Anyone wanting to take a first step toward working in horticultural crop production
  • Gardeners, horticulturists, farmers seeking to broaden their skills and knowledge
  • Garden and Self Sufficiency Enthusiasyts who want to grow more of their own home produce

This is a module originally developed for the UK accredited, RHS Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Crop Production Systems
  2. Organic Crop Production
  3. Soils and Nutrition
  4. Nursery Stock Production
  5. Tree Fruit Production
  6. Soft Fruits Production
  7. Vegetable Production
  8. Cut Flower Production
  9. Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops
  10. Crop Production Risk Assessment

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.


  • Explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops.
  • Evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  • Explain the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  • Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  • Explain techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  • Explain techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  • Explain the commercial production of outdoor-grown cut flowers.
  • Describe the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  • Identify the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

-books written by our principal John Mason and the staff
click for details or to purchase


How Can Crops be Grown Out Doors?

There are a broad range of different outdoor crop production systems. The main systems used for commercial cropping are:

Row cropping – the most commonly used production system; used to grow vegetables and herbs, cut flowers, fruit and nut 

trees, field-grown nursery stock. Advantages of row cropping include ease of access for machinery and people during planting, crop maintenance and harvesting. This system enables good water management (i.e. it is suitable for tri

igation systems) and weed control (using mulches between plants and mowing between rows).  ckle irr

Broad acre – most commonly used for large-scale vegetable and grain production. Also used for cut flowers, turf 

growing, and large-scale orchards (e.g. fruit grown for canning and juicing). 

Hydroponics – a specialised and intensive system most commonly used to grow leafy vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries. Can be used to grow many other crops including cut flowers and root vegetables.

Containerised systems – used for growing nursery stock outdoors.

Trellising systems – used for supporting and training deciduous and vine fruits.

Hedging – used for tree and berry fruits, and nuts. Also used for growing nursery stock plants (to provide cutting propagation material).

Monoculture vs. Mixed Culture
Monoculture farming involves growing one type of crop or raising one type of animal. This system has been widely practised in recent years, and is favoured by many growers because it potentially gives good economic returns. By only growing one crop farmers are able to specialise and refine their growing techniques, and to concentrate their efforts in developing markets and investing in specialised equipment.

Mixed culture farming involves growing a variety of crops or animals. Until the Industrial Revolution and the advent of chemical fertilisers, all farmers made their living through mixed culture farming, and nowadays many growers are turning back to this system. This system has several important benefits:

  • In most cases it is more environmentally sustainable than monoculture farming. Growing a wide range of different plants for different purposes can significantly enhance the land’s productivity over a period of time. This means that as well as growing several different cash efficient crops at any given time, the farmer grows other plants such as windbreaks and companion plants to improve the farm’s sustainability.
  • The farmer is buffered against economic loss caused by market over/under supply or by the loss of one crop from pest/disease attack or unfavourable growing conditions
  • Crops can be spread over the whole year, allowing better use of resources (such as farm equipment) and better management of labour and finance.







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