Learn to grow your own vegetables at home: be healthier, save money - potatoes and tomatoes, lettuce and carrots to brassicas and more.

Course Code: AHT102
Fee Code: S1
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn how to grow vegetables at home!

Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegetables 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. And you will also know that you and your family are eating the freshest, healthiest chemical free produce.

Learn to grow your own vegetables with us and the reap the delicious rewards of your harvest! 

“Lots of people are keen to grow their own food, and this course helps them gain the skills required to create their own vegetable gardens. It is easy to understand, practical, and can be adapted to your own garden requirements.” - Tracey Morris Dip.Hort., Cert.Hort., Cert III Organic Farming, ACS Tutor.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Ways of growing vegetables
    • Understanding plant names
    • Resource guide
  2. Cultivation and Planting
    • Different growing methods (organic gardening, hydroponics, permaculture etc)
    • Vertical gardening and its types
    • Planting methods (seeds, transplanting or offsets, crowns tubers etc)
    • Understanding soil and nutrition
    • Soil pH
    • Composting
  3. Review of Major Vegetable Varieties
    • Conditions favourable for planting
    • Cultivation practices of commonly grown vegetables
    • Brassicas (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish, turnip etc)
    • Legumes (Beans, Pea etc)
    • Lettuce
    • Onion
    • Potatoes
  4. Pest, Disease & Weed Control
    • Natural control methods
    • Cultural control method (mulching, crop rotation, resistant varieties etc)
    • Physical control methods (traps, repellent devices etc)
  5. Hydroponic and Greenhouse Growing
    • Growing vegetables in greenhouses
    • Type of greenhouse
    • Greenhouse problems
    • Hydroponics
    • Type of hydroponic growing systems
    • Nutrient solutions and pH
    • Cultivation of tomato
  6. Lesser Grown Varieties and Herbs
    • Crop scheduling
    • Cultivation of less commonly grown varieties
    • Amaranth
    • Artichoke
    • Asparagus
    • Cassava
    • Chicory
    • Common Mint
    • Dandelion
    • Endive
    • Fennel
    • Garlic
    • Ginger
    • Horseradish
    • Okra
    • Rhubarb
    • Yams
    • Sweet potato
    • Taro and many more
  7. Irrigation
    • The do’s and don’ts of watering
    • Ways to reduce water needs
    • Different watering systems
    • Designing water system
    • Micro-irrigation
    • Cultivation of other vegetables
  8. Harvesting, Storing & Using Vegetables
    • Harvesting of different vegetables
    • Storing vegetables
    • Preserving and processing
    • Bottling
    • Pickles
    • Sauces
    • Freezing
    • Blanching
    • Methods of freezing different vegetables


  • Identify a range of different vegetables
  • Determine sources and significance for information on vegetable growing
  • Describe the planting and cultivation of a range of different vegetables.
  • Describe production of some of the varieties of vegetable which are widely and commonly grown by home gardeners.
  • Evaluate and determine treatments for a range of common pest, disease and weed problems that affect vegetables
  • Determine and describe methods for producing a range of vegetable crops out of season.
  • Describe production of some of the varieties of vegetable which are less commonly grown by home gardeners.
  • Determine and describe ways of managing the water needs of vegetables in a home garden.
  • Describe when and how to harvest different types of vegetable crops.
  • Describe a range of methods for storing and using vegetables after harvest.

What You Will Do

  • Compile a resource file of organisations related to home vegetable growing
  • Compile reviews of sixteen different vegetables suitable for growing at home
  • Carry out basic soil tests on two different soils
  • Obtain or make up a propagating mix
  • Make a vegetable garden
  • Identify weed species in a vegetable garden and suggest control methods
  • Make notes about pests and diseases in a home vegetable garden
  • Contact several chemical suppliers and obtain brochures or technical information sheets on weedicides and pesticides appropriate for use on vegetable crops
  • Contact a few greenhouse companies and obtain both literature and current prices
  • Either write to or visit a company (or companies) which supply irrigation equipment.
  • Obtain catalogues, brochures, etc
  • Try drying, bottling or freezing a vegetable you have not preserved before.
  • List 20 different vegetables with information about their culture and harvest.

What Veggies can you Grow Quickly?

Some vegetables are very fast growing. In fact, providing you give them the right conditions, you can be harvesting and eating veggies within 1–2 months after planting.

  • Radish is one of the fastest growing vegetables. It can be harvested and eat within 4 weeks of planting in spring or autumn.
  • Spring onions and carrots can be thinned out when young and the smaller ones eaten. Keep eating /harvesting over the following 2–3 months as the plants mature.
  • Lettuce – pick and use the outer leaves as the plant grows. Eventually a heart forms and you can harvest the whole plant.
  • Parsley can be picked within a few weeks of planting.
  • Silver beet, spinach and Chinese greens – pick the outer leaves as the plants grow.

Buy advanced plants – Tomatoes in larger pots with flowers (even fruit) can be harvested within a few weeks of planting.  DON’T be too drastic. If you take too many leaves off, the growth will be slowed.

TIP: As a general guide, you can safely remove up to 20% of foliage from a healthy, fast-growing leafy vegetable such as lettuce, silver beet or parsley.

How to Maximise Growth

A fast-grown veggie will not only mature faster, it often tastes better and is more tender.

  • Feed properly – overfeeding burns roots; under feeding slows growth.
  • Water properly – keep soil moist NOT waterlogged; NEVER dry! Cover the soil with mulch to conserve moisture.
  • Ensure drainage is good – if not, plant the veggies in raised beds, hydroponics, pots or no-dig beds.
  • Use good quality soil – this is imperative for healthy, fast growth. All soils can be improved with lots of well-rotted organic matter (such as compost, animal manure).
  • Grow in full sun – all veggies like lots of sunlight.
  • Control pests and diseases – particularly snails and slugs. Try to use safe chemical-free products to control your pests and diseases.
  • Control weeds – they compete for space and nutrients. Pull them out by hand or with a hoe before they flower and set seed.

If the weather is cold, give the plant a head start in a greenhouse or with some other type of cover (e.g. a cloche).

How to Feed Veggies Properly

Prepare the soil before applying the fertiliser by digging in compost, manure or some other organic material and make sure it is thoroughly mixed into the soil.

Follow the instructions on the fertiliser packet.

Be careful that concentrated fertilisers (even organic fertilisers) never come directly in contact with the plant foliage or roots – they can burn and kill plant tissues.

Liquid fertilisers applied often but in a weak solution (organic or inorganic) are generally more effective at maintaining consistent fast growth than longer-acting fertilisers.

Crop Rotation – a Natural, Healthy Way to Control Pests and Diseases

This involves growing different groups of vegetables each season in different beds. By rotating your crops in different beds, you can discourage some pests and diseases and reduce the need for using chemical controls.

Look at the list of 'groups' of vegetables below. Don't grow a vegetable in a particular area if another vegetable out of the same group was grown in that spot recently. Keep alternating the type of vegetable in a particular spot!

  • Brassicas ­– Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sea kale, Kohl Rabi, Turnip, Swede, Radish, Horseradish
  • Cucurbits – Cucumber, Marrow, Pumpkin, Squash, Cantaloupe (ie. Rock Melon), Zucchini
  • Onion, Leeks, Garlic, Asparagus, Chives
  • Legumes – Peas and Beans
  • Corn
  • Celery, Carrot, Parsnip, Fennel
  • Chicory, Lettuce, Endive, Globe Artichoke
  • Silver beet, Red beet (i.e. Beetroot) and Spinach
  • Tomato, Capsicum, Potato, Egg Plant

Plant Vegetables Anywhere and Everywhere

Vegetable gardens can be very attractive, as can some vegetable plants when incorporated into ornamental garden borders. You can plant them anywhere you want; and they don't need to be out of place anywhere. 

  • Plant vegetables in your front garden.
  • Replace your lawn with vegetables
  • Grow big tubs of vegetables around your veranda or patio
  • Plant them among shrubs and trees in garden beds
  • If space is limited; plant them vertically (Create a "green wall" of vegetables on a fence or the wall of your house
Veggies do not necessarily have to ONLY be planted with other veg and you don’t need to only plant vegies en-mass. In fact why do we have to grow many asparagus, plants side by side creating mini monocultures in our own gardens? Why don’t we scatter them round the garden, among other plants? Think outside the box and change your approach to vegetable gardening and you could produce an attractive and sustainable, healthy garden, that also attracts lots of beneficial insects and feeds you and your family at the same time.


You will learn so much about vegetables in this course.

You will see possibilities for growing things you might not have considered growing before; and through a much more in depth understanding of how to grow vegetables you will be able to plan, create, and manage vegetable growing with far better productivity, for less inputs of time and money.

  • Don't waste time and money growing crops that are unlikely to perform
  • Save money be growing more of your own food
  • Eat much healthier by growing fresher, chemical free food

Member of the Future Farmers Network

Member of the International Herb Association since 1988

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

Our principal John Mason is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture

ACS Distance Education is a member of the Australian Garden Council, Our Principal John Mason is a board member of the Australian Garden Council

Member of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association since 1993

ACS is a silver sponsor of the AIH. The principal, John Mason, is a fellow. ACS certificate students are offered a free membership for this leading professional body.Provider.

Member of the Permaculture Association

Member of Study Gold Coast

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Recognised since 1999 by IARC

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

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 certif

Dr. Lynette Morgan (Crops)

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.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

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 edito

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