Outdoor Plant Production (Crops) Online Course

Outdoor plant production - market gardening.

Duration 100 hrs (12 months)
Exam Optional
Tutor Support Yes unlimited by email
Qualification Certificate


Gain skills and knowledge necessary to grow and sell many different crops. Study in your time and at your own pace. This course provides a thorough knowledge framework in outdoor production of common crops.

Learn about site & crop selection, soil management, cut flowers, vegetables, berries, nuts, herbs, tree fruits, other crops, managing a market garden and more.

Course Aims:

  • 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.


Detailed Course Outline

This course is made up a number of lessons or units.  Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.  Click below to read about each of the lessons and what you will learn.

There are 10 lessons in this course:

Crop Production Systems

  • Scope and nature of Crop Production
  • Purpose for Growing –Subsistence crops, Marketable Crops
  • Finding reliable resource information
  • Types of Cropping –row crops, broad acre, hydroponics, container crops, etc
  • Monoculture vs Polyculture
  • Citrus
  • Berry Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Vines
  • Pome Fruits
  • Stone Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cut Flowers
  • Nursery Crops
  • Fibres
  • Oils Seeds
  • Other Crops
  • Review of six different crops

Organic Crop Production

  • What is organic growing
  • Organic certification
  • Organic Growing Techniques
  • Composting
  • Factors that affect Nitrogen release from organic sources
  • Mycorrhizae
  • Versicular – Arbuscular mycorrhizae
  • Non mycorrhizal plants
  • Crop rotation
  • Using Legumes for soil improvement –nitrogen fixation
  • Rhizobium bacteria
  • Soils and Nutrition
  • Review of six different crops

Soil and Nutrition

  • Understanding what is in soil-solid particles, air, water
  • Soil structure –types of particles (gravel, sand, silt, colloids)
  • Peds
  • Water and Air
  • Soil Temperature
  • Soil Life –earthworms, bacteria, mycorrhizae
  • Improving soils
  • Sampling soils for testing
  • Naming a soil type
  • Soil problems
  • Loss of soil fertility –causes, implications, control
  • Erosion–causes, implications, control
  • Salinity –causes, implications, control
  • Soil compaction –causes, implications, control
  • Soil acidification –causes, implications, control
  • Build up of dangerous chemicals –causes, implications, control
  • Increasing organic matter
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Adding non organic materials to soil –lime, sulphur, gypsum, etc
  • Cation exchange capacity
  • Ph –acidity and alkalinity
  • Nutrient availability
  • Conductivity
  • Salinity
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Choosing a fertiliser
  • Total salts
  • Diagnosis of nutrient problems
  • Natural Fertilisers
  • Manures
  • Blood and bone
  • Rock dusts
  • Seaweed
  • Review of six different crops

Nursery Stock Production

  • Container or Field Growing
  • The Process -Propagation, Transplanting, Growing on, Marketing
  • Growing in containers
  • In ground nursery production
  • Propagation in the nursery –seed, cuttings
  • Potting up plants
  • Potting machines
  • Choosing what to grow and how to grow.
  • Nursery Standards
  • Cost Efficiencies
  • Quality control
  • Starting a production nursery
  • Revamping an existing nursery
  • Scope and nature of different plant products
  • Review of six different crops

Tree Fruit Production

  • Scope of tree fruits –deciduous and evergreen
  • Site selection for an orchard or plantation
  • Rootstocks
  • Field preparation
  • Production and training systems
  • Understanding Pollination
  • Understanding chilling requirements
  • Grading the harvest
  • Mechanised grading
  • Grading in different countries
  • Post harvest handling equipment
  • Review of six different crops

Soft Fruits Production

  • Scope –berries, bush and vines.
  • Growing grapes
  • Selecting a site for grapes
  • Climatic effects on grapes
  • Harvesting and marketing grape production
  • Strawberry Production
  • Where to plant strawberries
  • Grading soft fruits
  • Strawberry growing
  • Raspberries
  • Chinese Gooseberries (Kiwi Fruit)
  • Cape Gooseberry
  • Gooseberry
  • Mulberry
  • Blueberry
  • Elderberry
  • Currants
  • Cranberry
  • Bramble berries
  • Review of six different crops

Vegetable Production

  • Groupings of vegetables –brassicas, root and bulb crops, leaf and stem crops, cucurbits, fruit crops, etc
  • Factors affecting production
  • Planting methods –direct seeding, seedlings, crowns, tubers, offsets, etc
  • Seed sources –hybrid seed, collecting seed, etc
  • Storing seed
  • Sowing seed outdoors
  • Sowing seed under cover
  • Transplanting seedlings
  • Buying seedlings
  • Choosing what to grow
  • Review and comparison of around 40 different types of vegetables
  • Mushroom production
  • Harvesting and grading vegetables
  • Review of six different crops

Cut Flower Production

  • Scope of cut flower production
  • Harvesting and Storage
  • Grading
  • Cut flower standards
  • Alstroemeria
  • Antirrhinum
  • Amaryllis
  • Anigozanthus
  • Aster
  • Carnation
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Dahlia
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Gladiolus
  • Iris
  • Narcissus
  • Orchids
  • Roses
  • Stocks
  • Review of six different crops

Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops

  • Growing Herbs
  • Propagating herbs
  • Review of 16 significant types of herbs
  • Harvesting herbs
  • Nut Production
  • Comparing eight significant nut crops
  • Walnut production
  • Chestnuts
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Macadamias
  • Pecan
  • Hazelnut
  • Filbert
  • Pistachio
  • Cashew
  • Review of six different crops

Crop Production Risk Assessment

  • Assessing the workplace –factors to consider
  • Consequences of an undesirable event
  • Keeping a work site safe
  • Duty of care –employer duties and employee duties
  • Manufacturer and other person duty of care
  • Protective clothing
  • Safety with tools and equipment
  • Safety with electricity
  • Tool maintenance
  • Harvest and storage risk
  • Review of six different crops

When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It's okay if you don't want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.

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    Course Tutor

    Agriculture spans a wide variety of specializations.  Who your tutor is will depend on which area of agriculture you are studying.  Upon enrollment you will be assigned your own personal tutor who is there to support you throughout your studies.

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    Graduate from your course knowing that you have what it takes to reach your next step.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I pay in installments?

    Yes! We offer great payment plans, however full payment up front is the cheapest. You can choose the best payment plan for you from the course page, or call us on 07 55368782 to talk to one of our course consultants for a custom plan.

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    Do I get a discount if I enroll in a second course?

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    Do I have to sit an Exam?

    No. If you are enrolled in a Certificate course (100hrs), the exam is optional. You will be issued with a certificate which proves that you are competent in all units, if you choose not to sit the exam.

    Do you have set start dates?

    There are no set start dates, you may start at any time. Our courses are all self-paced. As our home page says, ‘Courses for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’. ‘Anytime’ includes the start time of your choice. However, we do encourage our students to submit assignments on a regular basis. Wherever possible, we suggest developing a study routine.