Protected Plant Production

Course CodeBHT223
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Plants in a Greenhouse

  • Learn to grow crops or other plants in a greenhouse, shade house or other protected environment
  • Discover ways to grow plants in places they might not normally be grown
  • Learn techniques to grow plants faster and out of season, for the nursery trade or fruit, vegetable and flower markets

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Structures for Protected Cropping
  2. Environmental Control
  3. Cladding Materials and their Properties
  4. Irrigation and Nutrition
  5. Relationship between Production techniques and Horticultural practices
  6. Harvest and Post Harvest Technology
  7. Risk Assessment


  • Describe and Evaluate the type and shape of modern growing structures
  • Describe and evaluate environmental controls in protected cropping
  • Explain the nature of solar radiation, transmission properties of glass and its substitutes
  • Determine the water requirements of a crop; and methods of irrigation.
  • Relate horticultural principles to the production and harvesting of a range of crops.
  • Evaluate the factors involved in marketing protected crops
  • Evaluate the factors involved in marketing protected crops
  • Undertake risk assessment.

What You Will Do

  • Identify the main types of growing structure
  • Relate use of structures to shape and type of construction
  • Identify the range of environmental factors controlled within a growing structure
  • Describe the use of the equipment used to measure and monitor these factors
  • Name and describe a range of types of environmental controls
  • Evaluate the use of IT facilities for environmental control
  • Describe the meaning of daylight and explain the role of sunlight and diffused light
  • Relate time of year to the quantity and quality of available light
  • Evaluate how the shape and orientation of a structure will affect light transmission
  • Assess the effectiveness of glass and cladding alternatives for light transmission
  • Describe the durability and insulation properties of glass and alternative materials
  • Select and describe appropriate systems of irrigation for plants grown in situ
  • Select and describe appropriate systems of irrigation for container grown plants
  • Specify and evaluate systems for incorporating plant nutrients into the irrigation water
  • Explain the effects of environmental control on a range of plants
  • Relate the essential features necessary for successful plant establishment and development to their underlying scientific principles.
  • Describe the production of a range of crops
  • State the optimum stage of growth for harvesting a range of crops
  • Describe the harvesting systems for protected crops
  • Explain how shelf life can be affected by pre and post harvesting treatment of the crop
  • State the factors to be considered when marketing crops
  • Evaluate alternative marketing outlets
  • Relate packaging & presentation to marketing
  • Assess benefits to the grower and customer, of grading a crop before marketing
  • Determine elements of risk in the practical operations associated with protected plant production.
  • Identify safe working practices

What are the Options for Covering a Greenhouse
Through constant research new covering materials (or new ways of using old materials) are improved and released onto the market. Materials are developed to suit regional climatic conditions or even microclimates. Manufacturers for example have addressed issues such as excessive dripping, UV breakdown of the cladding and heat retention in poly-houses. This now makes the Poly-house an attractive proposition for a lot of growers as it is also a very cost effective and easily dismantled alternative to houses that have rigid cladding.
When choosing covering materials for a growing structure it is important to consider:
  • Insulation (the materials ability to hold heat in).
  • Light transmission (how much of the light reaching the greenhouse will travel through the covering). Some materials will become increasingly opaque over time reducing the amount of light being transmitted.
  • Cost (some materials are far more expensive initially to buy).
  • Durability (how much wear and tear they can withstand).


  • Farmers and farm workers growing cut flowers, fruits, herbs, vegetables or other crops in a protected environment
  • Equipment suppliers (dealing with greenhouses, farm supplies, hydroponic equipment, etc.
  • Plant nurserymen
  • Horticultural consultants
  • Horticultural teachers
  • Research workers 

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