Organic Plant Culture

Course CodeBHT302
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

ORGANIC GROWING COURSE

Work with the environment and without the use of artificial fertilizers or sprays.

This outstanding and extensive, globally focused course develops a solid understanding of the principles and procedures underlying the cultivation of plants by natural methods.
  • Learn to grow fruit, vegetables and gardens without the use of chemicals
  • Home study: save yourself money, time and hassle
  • Learn to grow organic crops efficiently

Organic growing has increased in popularity over the past ten years due to the increasing awareness of safety in the garden and on the farm and the desire to produce food that is free from chemical inputs. For decades, farmers and growers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce crops for sale. Unfortunately it is only recently that we have become aware that many of those chemicals can sometimes cause health problems to humans, as well as long-term damage to the environment such as soil degradation, imbalances in pest-predator populations can also sometimes occur. As public concern grows, these issues are becoming increasingly important. However the organic grower or gardener should understand that not all organic practices always guarantee a healthy environment, over-cultivation for example can also lead to soil damage. Organic growing practices should aim to ensure quality of both the environment in which we live and of the produce we grow in our gardens and on our farms.

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Gardening styles
    • basic organic procedures, etc.
  2. Plant Culture
  3. Understanding Soils
  4. Fertilizers and Plant Nutrition
  5. Soil Management
  6. Pests & Diseases
  7. Mulching
  8. Seeds
    • Collecting, storing & sowing
  9. Vegetable Growing in your locality
  10. Fruit Growing in your locality.

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.

Aims

  • Explain the concepts and principles of organic growing, including the common techniques used in organic growing systems
  • Explain the concepts and principles of organic growing, including the common techniques used in organic growing systems.
  • Determine soil management procedures, which are consistent with organic growing principles.
  • Explain how pests and diseases are controlled using organic growing principles
  • Determine appropriate mulches for use in different organic growing situations.
  • Determine the appropriate use of seed propagation, in organic plant culture.
  • Plan the production of an organically grown vegetable food crop
  • Plan the production of an organically grown fruit crop

What You Will Do

  • Determine the roles of different organic farming and gardening organisations.
  • Explain how organic crops can be 'certified' as being organic in your country.
  • Explain the application of crop rotation in a specified garden, or farm.
  • Describe the construction of a 'No-Dig' garden, using materials readily available in your locality.
  • Explain the intended aims of a specific 'Permaculture' designed garden.
  • Explain different organic growing concepts, including:
    • biodynamics
    • sustainable agriculture
    • companion planting
    • fallowing
    • composting
    • recycling.
  • Explain how organic matter may benefit plants growing in different soils.
  • Compare the advantages with disadvantages of using organic versus non-organic fertilizers.
  • Determine different organic fertilizers that are commonly available in your locality.
  • Compare factors affecting the selection of different organic fertilisers, including:
    • Proportions of different nutrients
    • Likelihood of burn
    • Buffering characteristics
    • Where it is to be used
    • Method of handling
    • Cost
    • Availability.
  • Determine mulch materials readily available for organic growing in your locality.
  • Compare different mulches suitable for organic growing systems, in terms of:
    • Interaction with water (eg. repellence, absorbency, drainage)
    • Nitrogen draw down
    • Toxins
    • Rate of decomposition
    • Insulation properties
    • Weed suppression
    • Availability
    • Cost
    • Nutrient content
    • Ease of handling.
  • Explain how different, specified leguminous plant species, may be used to improve soil fertility.
  • Explain how different worm species may be used to improve soil fertility, on a specific site.
  • Determine how soils on a specific site may be managed, using organic principles.
  • Explain the different methods of natural control of pests and diseases, including:
    • Quarantine
    • Natural sprays
    • Physical controls
    • Plant selection
    • Use of natural predators
    • Environment manipulation.
  • Determine commercially available, naturally derived sprays that can be used in organic growing.
  • Explain the benefits of ten specified examples of companion planting, including:
    • Repelling pests away from crop plants
    • Attracting pests to bait plants
    • Improving soil (structure and nutrition)
    • Deterring growth of pests and diseases.
  • Develop criteria for evaluating pesticides, including natural pesticides, for use in an organic garden or farm.
  • Develop appropriate programs to control pests and diseases on different, specified cultivated plants.
  • Develop guidelines for seed variety selection, appropriate to organic plant culture.
  • Explain the importance of preserving seed sources of 'older' plant varieties.
  • Compile a catalogue of different, reliable seed sources for organic culture.
  • Explain appropriate methods for storage of different types of seed.
  • Explain various ways dormancy factors can affect seed germination.
  • Develop an annual timetable for planting different varieties of vegetables, appropriate to organic growing systems, in your district.
  • Compare the culture of different specified vegetable species, in organic with non-organic production.
  • Prepare organic production schedules for different food crops, including:
    • A vegetable
    • A fruit
    • A berry.

Organic growing has increased in popularity over recent decades due to the increasing awareness of safety in the garden and on the farm and the desire to produce food that is free from chemical inputs.
In the past farmers and growers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce crops for sale. Unfortunately it is only recently that we have become aware that many of those chemicals can sometimes cause health problems to humans, as well as long-term damage to the environment such as soil degradation, imbalances in pest-predator populations can also sometimes occur. As public concern grows, these issues are becoming increasingly important. However the organic grower or gardener should understand that not all organic practices always guarantee a healthy environment, over-cultivation for example can also lead to soil damage. Organic growing practices should aim to ensure quality of both the environment in which we live and of the produce we grow in our gardens and on our farms.

Organic growing of plants works with nature, rather than against it. It recognises the fact that nature is complex and accordingly endeavours to understand interactions between plants, animals and insects. It therefore encourages the gardener for example to learn about the life-cycle of pests and to use this knowledge to control them. It also recognises that the use of chemicals has to be replaced with labour and management. Organic gardeners have to manage pests rather then eliminate them. They need to be vigilant and have the ability to recognise problems and act quickly to minimise the spread of both pests and disease. They may also need to accept some insect damage to the plants they grow as inevitable.




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