An alternative to large, industrial, monoculture farming – growing diverse crops on a market garden or smallholding
Market gardening produces a wide range of crops, throughout the growing season, from a relatively small area of land. The smaller, diverse output means produce is frequently sold locally and direct: from an ‘on farm’ stand or shop to consumers, at farmers’ markets, to restaurants, to wholesale markets and local food stores. Direct-to-consumer selling achieves a higher price and together with the growing popularity of fresh, high quality, local and organic food (sold at a premium) and the smaller start-up investment required, this business model can be profitable and sustainable. This course is ideal for those who intend to or already run a market garden, commercially growing produce from their own holding. It would also be useful for leisure learners who are keen allotment holders or interested in self-sufficiency. As well as exploring techniques to grow a range of vegetables and cut flowers, you will also study topics such as soil structure, crop rotation, natural and artificial fertilisers, irrigation, drainage and the weather and its effect.
Your first set of course materials will be sent to you when you enrol. You can start as soon as you want and progress through the course at your own pace, studying when and where you choose.
This flexibility makes it easy to fit learning around work and family commitments.
The extensive course materials have been developed by gardening experts and are clear and straightforward, so your studying is easy and enjoyable. As you complete each lesson, your tutor will promptly return your marked assignment with constructive feedback and guidance. (You can also contact your tutor or the support team for help at any point during your studies.)
The course includes all the required study materials.
There is no formal examination. On successful completion you will be awarded an HCC Certificate. You have 2 years to complete the course.
We are proud of our friendly, caring ethos and aim to do all we can to help you succeed.
Our tutors are all experienced, highly qualified and passionate about sharing their love of their subject. You can phone or email your tutor throughout the course – to ask questions, for advice, encouragement or to draw on their wealth of knowledge.
You can also contact the support team who are here to help you Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Lesson 1 – Capital and land investment. Rotation of crops. Salad crops. Journals.
Lesson 2 – Climate, temperatures, rainfall. Water supplies and irrigation needs.
Lesson 3 – The weather and its effect. Irrigation equipment. Onions, parsnips and squash.
Lesson 4 – Drought; soil moisture deficit. Leaching. Peas: fresh and frozen. Cultivars.
Lesson 5 – Soils, texture and crumb structure. Celery, sweet corn, turnip. Storage.
Lesson 6 – Drainage; soil permeability. Organic manures and composting. Cabbages.
Lesson 7 – Nitrogen and nitrogen pollution, slow release fertilisers. Brussels sprouts.
Lesson 8 – Plants and the use of phosphates. Spraying machines. Cauliflowers.
Lesson 9 – Potassium, magnesium, iron, boron. Lime; pH, soil analysis. Asparagus.
Lesson 10 – Shelter belts, frost and wind. Pesticides. Commercial cut flower production.
If needed you have 2 years to complete the course. Many students are able to complete this course in approximately 6-12 months*.
*Timescales are approximate and depend upon application and motivation.
There are no exams. On successful completion of this course you will receive an HCC Certificate*, graded to show the standard you have reached. The HCC’s reputation means this can be highly regarded on a CV and, combined with your portfolio of coursework, is evidence of your achievements (whether you are applying for a job or a more advanced study course).
* The HCC Certificate will be issued once you have successfully completed your course and finished your course payments.
RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation
RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting
You do not need previous gardening knowledge or experience to enrol on this course.