Course CodeAHT108
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


This course aims to familiarise you with the use and culture of what are traditionally the most common herb plants.  It should provide you with a sound framework upon which you will be able to develop your knowledge of herbs. This is a course for the amateur who likes to use herbs at home.  If you are serious about growing or using herbs commercially, you are better to do our Herb Culture Course (Ht371).
Herbs have been gathered or grown, and used in all parts of the world for thousands of years. They have a history about them which is fascinating, and a diversity of uses.Many of the more popular herbs are some of the easiest, hardiest & fastest garden plants to grow. There is generally little cost involved in growing these plants except for your own labor. These factors, coupled with a growing preference for natural alternatives to the widespread artificial chemical use that is common in today's society, have resulted in a revival of interest in the use of herbs.


What is a Herb?

The scientific definition of a herb is a plant which has no persistent stem above the ground (ie: The leaves and stem die back to the roots after a period of growth). By this definition, strictly speaking, you would call plants such as Daffodils and Dahlias herbs as well as things such as mint and garlic.


A more popular definition of a herb is:

Any plant whose roots, bark, stems, leaves, seeds or flowers are used for culinary flavouring, medicinal or perfumery purposes.

Herbs are essentially plants which are grown because of the characteristics derived from the oils or other chemical components to be found in their tissue.


Herbs come in all shapes and sizes, from bulbs and perennials to woody trees and shrubs. Many are scented plants; all provide something which is useful, for example, in cooking, cosmetics, craft, pest control, or medicinally. Herbs are often grown by themselves as a "special herb garden", though there is no real reason why they can't be mixed in with other plants throughout the garden. Many people grow herbs in containers, as tub plants or baskets, kept on a patio, in a window box or even as indoor plants. Whatever way you choose, growing herbs will add a new and exciting dimension to your gardening. Even old hands at herb gardening continue to be amazed by the diversity of herb varieties and their uses. Buy and try a few today, and surprise yourself.


Lesson Structure

There are 6 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Herbs
    • Indentying Herbs
    • General characteristics of herb plants
    • History of herbs
    • Herb resources (nurseries, seeds, clubs, etc).
  2. Herb Gardening Methods
    • Planting
    • Propagating Herbs
    • Soils
    • Ferilisers and nutrition
    • Growing herbs in containers.
  3. Landscaping and Companion Planting
    • Introduction
    • Companion Planting
    • Herb garden design.
  4. Growing Herbs to Harvest
    • Herb products
    • Setting up a herb farm
    • Making compost.
  5. Herbs for Cooking
    • Herb crafts
    • Herb ingredients
    • Cooking with herbs.
  6. Herbs for fragrance
    • Health and beauty
    • Dyes, mordants
    • Oils
    • Other herb crafts

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Define “herb”
  • Identify herbs suitable for hanging baskets, indoor growing, and appropriate methods of propagation for at least 50 herb species
  • Understand “companion planting”
  • Give examples of appropriate landscaping with herbs
  • Propagate and grow herbs in the garden
  • Build an efficient compost heap
  • Identify appropriate herbs for culinary uses
  • Identify some medicinal uses for herbs

What You Will Do

  • Collect and identify 30 different herb specimens
  • Learn the basics of plant identification
  • Make contact with herb farms to ask about their operation
  • Propagate herbs by cuttings
  • Prepare a soil suitable for growing herbs
  • Design and plant a herb garden
  • Visit retailers to investigate the types of herb products available
  • Prepare food containing herbs
  • Harvest and dry a herb correctly
  • Use herbs in other ways in crafts, cooking, etc.

How Can Herbs Be Used?

Herbs are quite versatile and can be grown in a variety of situations. These include:
    Where Do you Get Your Plants

    Your herb garden can be grown from division, seed or cuttings,or else purchased in pots. They can be readily purchased in small or larger pots, however most herbs grow so fast that smaller pots are generally the most economical means of buying most types.

    Large pots are usually better for the slower growing woody herbs such as Rosemary, Lavender, Bay Tree and so on.
    When purchasing your plants make sure the foliage is lush and healthy and that there is no sign of pest or disease attack

    Find Out More about Herbs -Talk with one of our Horticulturists.
    Explore the potential of herbs; and how you can learn about herbs through this course.

    Meet some of our academics

    Adriana Fraser Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves. In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certificate in horticulture and a few years later, completed a Advanced Diploma in Horticulture amongst other qualifications. Adriana has worked across a broad spectrum of the horticulture industry and has developed a strong network of contacts in horticulture around Australia and beyond. She has written and contributed to many books and magazine articles. She has a passion for plant knowledge and sustainability and a natural understanding of how people learn about horticulture and has taught in various institutions and organistions as well as ACS. Adriana has been a tutor with ACS since the mid 90's and based on the feedback from past students has been an overwhelming success in helping people develop their skills and further careers in horticulture.
    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

    Food PreservingThe Food Preserving ebook covers everything you need to know on preserving a wide range of food. Make the most of your bumper fruit and vegetable crop and learn to preserve them to eat at a later time in the year.
    Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
    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.
    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.



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