Study the basics of horticulture and apply it to growing herbs at a professional level

A 700 hour course designed for those who work, or wish to work, in the area of growing and using herbs. This course is similar to other VHT002 horticulture certificates in its introductory (core) units, but devotes 50% of the course to topics specifically related to growing, harvesting, using, and marketing of herbs and herb products.

The Core Units are divided into the following sections:
1. Introduction to Plants -Taxonomy, plant families, pressing plants, basic botany.
2. Plant Culture -Planting, potting, plant selection, pruning, irrigation, tools and machinery.
3. Soils and Nutrition -Soil structure, chemistry, nutrition, potting media.
4. Plant Identification and Use -Seed harvesting, storage, germination treatments, cuttings, etc.
5. Pests, Diseases and Weeds -Identification and treatment (chemical and non-chemical).

Accredited through International Accreditation & Recognition Council

How this differs to the Certificate in Herbs

This course is a broader based course. It teaches you a little less about herbs and a little more about horticulture than the other certificate. For someone already working in the herb industry, the Certificate in Herbs is likely to be more relevant. If you are new to this industry, either course is good; but keep in mind that a more broad based understanding of horticulture can sometimes offer more options for employment and career development when you graduate.

Certificate - Herbs and Horticulture


The objectives of the course are to:

  • understand the binomial system of plant classification and to develop resource contacts for information about herbs.

  • develop a broad perspective of the scope of herb species and varieties, their culture and uses, and an insight into which varieties are more commonly available.

  • make a detailed study of the most commonly grown herb varieties.

  • know how to make a wide range of herb crafts and cook a wide variety of herb flavoured foods.

  • develop an awareness of medicinal and toxic chemical properties of herbs (both in general and selected specific terms).

  • develop an awareness of the work procedures involved in operating a herb farm and how to harvest and provide post  harvest treatments to herb produce.

  • develop knowledge of how to plan and manage a maintenance program in an ornamental garden or park.

  • design and implement a marketing program for a business operating in the herb industry.

Course Structure

  • 700 nominal hours

  • 30 lessons

  • 30 assignments

The course involves the following areas of work:

*CORE STUDIES - involves at least 300 hours, divided into 15 lessons, approximately half of the course.

*ELECTIVE STUDIES - a further 300 hrs of study, specifically on herb identification, using herbs, herb farming and landscaping with herbs.



Through these specialised stream studies, the student will attempt to achieve the following objectives:

*List and describe a range of contacts and resources.

*Use prescribed reference books and other resources to gain relevant information.

*Review the way plants are classified.

*Compile a list of dried herbs commonly sold through retail shops.

*Explain the differences in the way plants perform in different microclimates within the same area.

*Visit and report on the operation of a herb farm.

*Prepare lists of herbs suited to growing in different situations.

*Explain the benefits of organic growing.

*Describe appropriate weed control methods to use when growing herbs.

*Demonstrate competence to harvest, dry and store herbs.

*Demonstrate and make up three different herb crafts.

*Describe how different herb crafts are made.

*Cook a complete meal using herbs to appropriately flavour all courses and beverages.

*Produce a saleable culinary herb product (eg: herb biscuit or confectionary).

*Describe the use of herbs in different types of beverages and foods.

*Describe different herb medicines.

*In broad terms, compare herbal medicines with pharmaceutical.

*Develop a "safe" preventative program of herbal medicines using only herbs and dosage levels which are widely and clearly accepted as having no side effects.

*Describe a herb farming venture which has a high viability potential.

*List herb products which are in high demand.

*Describe a program to market produce from a herb farm.

*Undertake harvesting and drying several different herbs, under a variety of different conditions.

*Describe the harvest and post harvest requirements of different herbs.

*Describe several problems which affect post harvest quality and explain how quality is affected.

*Record methods of obtaining herbal oils.

*Prepare a detailed maintenance program for an ornamental garden.

*Describe maintenance procedures for a variety of different ornamental garden situations.

*Conduct simple inexpensive tests on three different potting mixes.

*Analyse and report on the results from soil tests conducted.

*Describe suitable soil mixes for container growing different types of plants.

*List a range of both natural and artificial fertilisers.

*Describe fertiliser programs to be used in different situations with ornamental plants.

*Write an advertisement.

*Design an promotional leaflet to promote a plant variety.

*Explain basic management procedures and basic staff management skills.

*Show a reasonable level of communication skill.

*Develop a business plan and prepare a budget.

*Design a workplace (in a herb related business) to optimise efficiency and workplace safety.

*Gather appropriate information required prior to preparing a landscape design.

*Draw a sketch plan for an ornamental garden.

*Describe various ways container plants can be used to create different landscape effects.

*Calculate how to estimate materials and labour in order to quote for a landscape job.

*Analyse existing garden designs and the garden's effectiveness.

*Prepare detailed drawings for the construction of at least one garden feature (eg. A seat, wall).

*Explain the differences between furnishings and other features which can be incorporated into a garden.

*Analyse an existing park and show how redevelopment would improve the facility.

*List the choices available in surfacing treatments, advantages and disadvantages of each, and where it

 might be most appropriate to use each.

*Be familiar with alternative materials and their respective characteristics in terms of quality and cost.

*Produce and photograph how to use herbs to create topiary and hedging.

*Conduct detailed studies of a range of commonly grown herbs (including Mints, Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Garlic, Chamomile and Parsley).

*Analyse a range of herbs (at least 150 varieties), their identification, culture and use.


Core studies cover the following:


1.  Introduction to Plants

Nomenclature and taxonomy, the plant kingdom, genus, species, hybrids.


2.  Parts of the Plant

How plants grow, plant structure, parts of the flower and leaf, modification of stems and roots.


3.  Plant Culture - Planting

How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous,evergreen and herbaceous plants.


4.  Plant Culture - Pruning

Purpose for pruning, rules for pruning, how to prune.


5.  Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery

Different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system, designing an irrigation system,maintenance in the garden and for tools.


6.  Soils & Media

Soil classifications, testing soil, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.


7.  Soils & Nutrition

Fertilisers - deficiencies and toxicities, N:P:K ratios, salting, fertiliser programming, compost.


8.  Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings

How to propagate plants with the two easiest techniques, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants. 


9.  Propagation - Other Techniques

Other methods to increase plant numbers - budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.


10. Identification and Use of Plants

How are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.


11. Identification and Use of Plants

Problems with plants and choosing plants for problem sites.


12. Identification and Use of Plants

Indoor and Tropical Plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.

13. Pests

Identifying and controlling pests, chemical and natural methods for control, chemical safety precautions.

14. Diseases

Identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.


15. Weeds

Identifying and controlling weeds, chemical terminology.