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Course CodeBHT114
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Take a Course that has been training Commercial Herb farmers for decades!

Comments from Graduates of this course...
Thanks ACS, studying with you has been truly rewarding, because of your understanding, helpfulness and devotion to all students. I will certainly use the chance to study again with you! (Lerni)

(The course) has helped me achieve a 'greener' thumb. I now have lots more success with my garden. Beforehand, my thumb was the furthest from 'green' you could get! (Janice)

Duration: 100 hours


This course is divided into TWELVE UNITS.

Each unit comprises ONE or MORE LESSONS, as follows:

Unit 1 Introduction To Herb Culture

Lesson I

Introduction to herbs, definitions, uses. Classification of herbs; use of a botanical key.

Lesson II
Cultural Techniques...planting, soils, drainage, feeding, mulching, composting, pruning.

Lesson III

Propagation Techniques...propagation mixes, growing structures, cuttings, seed, separation & division, layering.

Lesson IV

Identification of plant health problems...pest & disease, frost, heat, water stress, etc.

Unit 2 Using Herbs

Lesson I

Processing and Use of Herbs

Medicinal, culinary, perfumes, dyes, oils, distillation processes, etc.

Lesson II

Harvesting & Storage, Air drying, oven drying, microwave drying, freezing, fresh storage, when & how to harvest.

Unit 3 The Mints (Lamiaceae)

Lesson I

Mentha species ... Peppermint, spearmint, applemint, wintermint, pennyroyal, corsican, ginger mint etc.

Lesson II

Lavender (Lavendula varieties) & thyme (Thymus).

Lesson III

Assorted Lamiaceae varieties: Lemon Balm, Hyssop, Rosemary, Bee Balm (Monarda), Basil, Savory, Marjoram, Sage.

Unit 4 The Daisies (Asteraceae)

Lesson I

Artemisia species...Southernwood, Wormwood, Tarragon, Mugwort.

Lesson II

Miscellaneous Asteraceae: Chamomile, Tansy, Safflower, Costmary, Yarrow, Calendula, Dandelion etc.

Unit 5 The Parsley Family (Apiaceae)

Lesson I

Parsley, Coriander, Dill, Caraway, Angelica, Cumin, Fennel, Lovage, Sweet Cicely etc.

Unit 6 The Onion Group

Lesson I

Chives, Leek, Garlic chives, Tree onion, Welsh onion, etc.

Lesson II


Unit 7 Other Herbs

Lesson I

Rosaceae (Rose, Burnet, Strawberry, blackberry, etc)

Lesson II

Miscellaneous: Lemon grass, Lemon verbena, Bay, Sorrel, Dock, Juniper, Horseradish, EveningPrimrose, etc.

Lesson III

Scented Geraniums, Australian Natives, Eucalyptus and Others

Unit 8 Pests & Diseases

Lesson I

Companion Planting

Lesson II

Natural Pest Control: Herb sprays, biological control, etc.

Unit 9 Landscaping with Herbs

Lesson I

Landscape Design Principles and Practices: How to draw a landscape plan

Lesson II

Home Gardening With Herbs: Cottage gardens, hedges & borders, tubs, baskets, kitchen gardens, herb lawns, herb indoor plants.

Lesson III

Public Landscaping: historic herb grdens (Knot gardens etc), herbs for low maintenance & colour inparks..etc.

Unit 10 Herb Farming 1

Lesson I

Establishing and Operating a Herb Nursery: Open ground vs container growing, nursery layout, potting soils, pots and labels, marketing, etc.

Unit 11 Herb Farming 11

Lesson I

Establishing & Operating a Herb Farm: Soil Preparation and management (plastic mulch, organic mulches, cultivation), rowcropping.

Unit 12 Herb Farming 111

Lesson 1

Evaluating Herb enterprises, assessing market demand. Deciding how to proceed.


  • Differentiate between different varieties of herbs in cultivation.
  • Explain the general cultural practices used for the growing of herbs.
  • Determine harvest and post harvest techniques for herb crops, including processing, storage and useof herbs.
  • Develop a production plan for a herb crop grown for harvesting.
  • Develop a production plan for a herb nursery.
  • Design a herb garden for a home or public garden.
  • Evaluate the production of herbs or herb products in a commercial business.


Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

-Distinguish, using illustrations and minimum but adequate comments; between major plant families which herbs belong to.

-Compile a resource file of fifty different sources of information regarding cultivated herbs.

-Prepare a resource collection covering one hundred different herb varieties.

-Develop guidelines for the general culture of herbs.

-Explain different propagation methods suitable for herbs.

-Demonstrate how to prepare cuttings for different herb varieties.

-Propagate different varieties of commercially farmed herbs, using appropriate, but different propagation techniques for each.

-Explain natural pest and disease control methods for a specified herb species.

-Explain the concept of companion planting, including examples of proven companion planting interrelationships.

-Write a maintenance schedule for either a herb garden, nursery or farm.

-Describe different harvesting techniques for herbs, by outlining the steps to follow for each.

-Determine criteria which are critical to success in the process of drying herbs.

-Compare different drying processes for herbs, with reference to: *equipment used *procedure *cost.

-Produce two marketable herb products by harvesting, and processing material from a herb plant.

-Prepare different herbal products for home use.

-Estimate the costs associated with processing four different herbs to a marketable stage, itemising the components of costs for each.

-Determine different species of herbs which have potential to be grown commercially as broad acre crops.

-Describe the process of producing a specified commercial herb crop being grown organically.

-Describe the process of producing a commercial herb crop being grown hydroponically.

-Compare broad-acre production methods, used for three different herbs, including: *propagation *planting *crop management *harvesting *post-harvest processing; by constructing a table or chart.

-Design a simple trial, to test the commercial potential of different varieties of a specific herb species.

-Conduct the simple trial you designed recording details of tasks undertaken.

-Analyse the results of the trial conducted to test the performance of a herb plants.

-Determine the variety with greatest commercial potential from those trialled.

-Prepare flow-sheet broad acre crop production schedules for herbs; one each from Allium, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Lamiaceae groups.

-Determine minimum facilities required to produce saleable plants in a specified herb nursery.

-Prepare a potting media suitable for growing a container herb plant of a specified species, as nursery stock.

-Describe the procedures used in a commercial herb nursery, to produce plants for sale.

-Differentiate between the procedures used for production of different products in a herb nursery, including: *Punnets of seedling herbs *Bare rooted plants *Standard container plants *Hanging baskets *Topiary.

-Grow a herb plant to a commercially acceptable standard, as a tubestock container plant, through all stages of production, without supervision.

-Prepare nursery production schedules for herbs from different minor herb groups.

-Explain the use of general landscape principles and practices in the designs of different herb gardens.

-Determine different applications for herbs in home gardens.

-Determine applications for herbs in public landscaping, referring to both difficulties and advantages in different situations.

-Design for a herb garden for a site surveyed by you, drawing showing the placement of at least 20 different varieties of herbs.

-Explain the reasoning behind the herb garden designed.

-Determine critical factors to establishing a new herb business.

-Analyse the business operations of a specified herb enterprise.

-Assess market demand for a herbal product, through a phone survey and information search.

-Compare the commercial potential of different types of herb enterprises, in your locality.

Extract from Course Notes:

Parsley Cropping

Three crops can be grown annually in most temperate areas without great difficulty.

A summer sown crop is harvested in autumn, an autumn sown crop is harvested in spring and a spring sown crop is harvested over summer.
Each crop is harvested continuously for a month or more before discarding.
As the crop gets older the quality can deteriorate.

The early harvest of the spring sown crop is generally the best quality.
Quality characteristics are a dark rich green colour, long stalks for bunching, clean unmarked leaves and a good water content (ie: not wilting at all).

Prepare a fine seed bed by cultivation using a disc plough first, then harrows or a rotary hoe.
Form up raised beds about 1.8m wide and rake the surface to level.
Plant three to four rows across each bed.
Control weeds using either mulch or by spraying weedicide before planting then following up with hand cultivation or hand weeding.
The amount of seed required varies from areas to area.
In Ohio in the U.S.A. growers achieve top yields with 12 to 20 lb of seed per acre.

Three main varieties are grown...

Petroselinum crispum var. crispum (Curley Leaf Parsley)

  • has very curly leaves
  • has aromatic leaves
  • used fresh, dried or dehydrated in foods, or as a garnish

Petroselinum crispum var. neopolitanum (Italian parsley)

  • has flat, not so curly leaves.
  • usually considered to have more flavour than others

Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum (Hamburg or Turnip rooted parsley)

  • less common
  • has an enlarged edible root.

 Do You Know these Herbs?

Anthemis tinctoria
Monarda fistulosa
Thymus doerfleri
Kaempferi decora
Mentha smithsoniana
Lavendula Butterfly
  • Reputation:
      -teaching Horticulture since 1979
      -exceptional faculty staff (see below)
  • Hands on: develop practical as well as theoretical skills
  • Uniqueness:
      -successful people are always those who can offer a skill or service that others can't
      -this course is different; our graduates have different skills to set them apart.
  • Relevance -curriculum developed in response to industry needs
  • Lots of help: personal, prompt attention from tutors
  • Holistic Courses: We teach more than just "facts"
      -success is only 20% about intelligence (and what you know)
      -you also need to build networking, problem solving & communication skills, and more!
      -this course helps you develop all of these things and more
  • Value: courses compare very favorably on a cost per study hour basis
  • Up to date: courses under constant review
  • Student amenities: This school is backed by over one of the most unique and comprehensive private collections of intellectual property in the horticultural industry. The principal and staff have written and published over 50 books and 150 gardening magazines, as well as 20,000 hours horticultural study programs. A team of 5 horticultural writers continue to develop and update new material continually. These resources together with web sites, an online student room, social media etc. provide a unique and comprehensive facility to support students studying with the school.

These are just some of the people involved with developing and updating courses; and tutoring our horticulture students

John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc.
40 years + in horticulture Graduated from Burnley Horticultural College in 1971,Nurseryman, Landscape Designer and Parks Director through the 1970's. One of Australia's most published garden writers, author of books published by Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, CSIRO and other major publishers; Editor for 4 different national gardening magazines; honored as a fellow of both the Institute of Horticulture in Australia and the Institute of Horticulture in the UK.

Gavin Cole B.Sc., M.Psych.
30 years + in horticulture. Renowned horticulturist and psychologist. Former operations manager for the highly regarded "Chelsea Gardener" landscape firm in London, garden writer and landscaper in both Brisbane and Adelaide in Australia.

Maggi Brown
40 years + in horticulture. Former education manager for "Garden Organic"; England's peak organic gardening and farming body.

Dr Lyn Morgan Phd
25 years + in horticulture. New Zealand based hydroponic consultant and author, with experience working everywhere from Asia to America.

Rosemary Davies Dip.Hort.Sc.
30 years + in horticulture; including Victorian Department of Agriculture Gradening Advisor, Gardening Editor/writer/author for major publishers and newspapers.

Diana Cole  B,A., RHS Dip Hort, NTEC Higher Dip in Garden Design
15 years + in horticulture and landscaping

Adriana Fraser Adv.Dip.Hort.
30 years + in horticulture. Consultant, teacher, garden write, manager of plant collections

Bob James B.App.Sc(Hort), M. Env.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt., PDC, Dip.An.Husb.

Yvonne Sharpe  Dip.Hort., M.Hort.

Martin Powdrill  B.Sc(Hons), M.Sc. PDC

Marie Beerman  B.Sc., M.Hort.  
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Meet some of our academics

Bob James Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry. He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Masters Degree in Environmental Science. He has worked a Grounds Manager at a major university; and a manager in a municipal parks department. Over recent years he has been helping younger horticulturists as a writer, teacher and consultant; and in that capacity, brings a diverse and unique set of experiences to benefit our students.
Dr. Lynette Morgan Lyn has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. Her first job was on a mushroom farm, and at university she undertook a major project studying tomatoes. She has studied nursery production and written books on hydroponic production of herbs. Lyn has worked on horticultural projects in countries from the middle east to the Americas and New Zealand to the Phillippines. Lyn has been a tutor with ACS since 2003 and has contributed to the development of a range of hydroponic courses.
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Maggi BrownMaggi is the classic UK "plantswoman". She can identify thousands of plants, and maintains her own homes and gardens in the Cotswolds (England), and near Beziers (in Southern France). Maggi is regarded as a leading organics expert across the UK, having worked for 20 years as Education Officer at the "Garden Organic" (formerly HDRA). Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS, Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .

Check out our eBooks

Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.
Commercial HydroponicsLearn how to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. This classic is now re-published with new images, a new layout and revised text. A must have resource for anyone who wants to grow hydroponically.
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more.