Market gardeners’ and their staff’s training
Use these methods to learn how to effectively raise vegetable crops.
A wonderful strategy to achieve optimal crop production is to educate yourself on the significance of soils, cultural practises, and pest and disease management.
Boost your output to increase your revenue.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Introduction to Vegetable Growing
- Making the farm Pay
- Understanding economic principles – supply and demand, scale of economy, etc.
- Planning for the farm
- Production planning
- Financial planning and management
- Land care and land management
- Personal welfare
- Risk management – spreading risk, quality management, contingency planning, liquidity
- Creating a sustainable farm enterprise
- Planning for sustainability
- Planning for drought
- Crop selection
- Alternating crops, broad acre or row crops
- Growing Brassicas -Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Pak Choi, Broccoli, Radish, Turnip
- Growing Legumes -Beans, Broad Beans, Peas
- Growing Lettuce, Onions, Potatoes
- Cultural Practices for Vegetables
- Explain general cultural practices used for vegetable production.
- Crop rotation
- Plant foods
- Cover Crops
- Legumes and inoculation
- Growing various cover crops -Barley, Buckwheat, Canola, Lucerne, Field pea, Lupins, Oats, Sorghum, Clover, etc.
- Ways of using a cover crop
- Cultivation techniques
- Crop Scheduling
- Planting Vegetables -seed, hybrid seed, storing seed, sowing seed
- Understanding Soils
- Dealing with Soil Problems
- Plant nutrition and feeding
- Pest, Disease & Weed Control
- Weed control -hand weeding, mechanical, chemical and biological weed control methods
- Integrated Pest Management
- Non chemical pest control
- Understanding Pesticide labels
- Understanding the law in relation to agricultural chemicals
- Plant Pathology introduction
- Understanding Fungi
- Understanding insects, virus and other pathogens
- Insect control -quarantine, clean far5ming, chemicals, biological controls
- Review of common diseases
- Review common pests
- Review common environmental problems
- Review common weeds
- Hydroponic and Greenhouse Growing
- Introduction to hydroponics
- Types of systems
- Nutrient solutions
- NFT and other systems for vegetable production
- Growing in a greenhouse (in the ground or hydroponics)
- Components of a Greenhouse System
- Types of Greenhouses and common greenhouse designs (venlo, mansard, wide span, multi span, poly tunnel, Sawtooth, Retractable roof, etc)
- Shade houses, Cold Frames
- Environmental Control -heating, ventilation, lighting, etc
- Controlling moisture (misting, fog, etc)
- Review of various vegetables – Cucurbits (Cucumber, Melon, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Zucchini)
- Growing Selected Vegetable Varieties
- Determine specific cultural practices for selected vegetable varieties.
- Tropical Vegetables – Sweet Potato and Taro
- Less common vegetables – Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke, Asparagus, Chicory, Endive, Garlic, Leek, Okra, Rhubarb
- Other Crops -Beetroot (Red Beet), Capsicum, Carrot, Celery, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, Parsnip, Spinach
- Water and Irrigation
- Internal Drainage
- Flood, Sprinkler and Trickle irrigation
- The objective of irrigation
- Transpiration and Wilting Point
- When to irrigate Timing irrigations
- Detecting water deficiency or excess
- Understanding soil moisture
- Pumps, sprinklers and other equipment
- Water hammer
- Improving Drainage
- Managing erosion
- Harvest & Post-Harvest
- Introduction to harvesting
- Post harvest treatment of vegetables
- Cooling harvested produce
- Harvesting tips
- Storing vegetables
- Marketing Vegetables
- Standards for cost efficiency, quality and quantity
- Options for Marketing Produce
- Market Research
- How to sell successfully
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.
- Choose the right vegetable varieties for the circumstances.
- Describe the general cultural practises that are employed to produce vegetables.
- Describe how to control potential issues in vegetable production, such as pests, diseases, weeds, and environmental abnormalities.
- Describe other methods of growing vegetables, such as hydroponics and greenhouses.
- Find out the specific cultural customs associated with the chosen vegetable varieties.
- Decide how various veggies should be harvested and treated afterward.
- Create marketing plans for various vegetables.
How You Plan to Act
- Create a database of sources for details on different vegetable kinds.
- Explain the division of vegetables into key categories.
- assemble a list of plant analyses for various vegetable kinds.
- Choose three suitable cultivars from each of the vegetable species that will be grown at the designated location.
- Create a planting calendar for the many vegetable kinds that will be planted in your area over the course of a year.
- Various vegetable kinds require different soil management techniques.
- Describe how veggies are established from seeds.
- Describe the procedures for growing three different vegetables from seedlings.
- Create a table or chart outlining the spacing and depth of seed planting for various vegetable kinds.
- Explain how pruning procedures are used to produce particular vegetables.
- Create a crop schedule (i.e., a production schedule) for a certain vegetable crop.
- Prepare a variety of weeds in a pressed collection.
- Distinguish between many specialised weed-control approaches, including both chemical and non-chemical ones, for vegetable crops.
- Analyze the pest and disease issues that affect specific varieties of vegetables.
- Choose effective pest and disease control strategies for the issues you identified (above).
- Create pest and disease control strategies tailored to the lifespans of various plants.
- Find the environmental issues affecting the vegetable crops that you have inspected.
- Describe the strategies for preventing and/or treating the many environmental problems that damage vegetables.
- Find out if growing vegetables in greenhouses would be advantageous in the location in question.
- Distinguish between the traits of several types of greenhouses.
- Examine how several greenhouse environmental control systems are applied to the cultivation of vegetables, including:
- various kinds of heaters
- Different types of coolers
- Describe how a specified commercial vegetable crop might be grown in a greenhouse visited by you.
- Compare vegetable growing applications for the major types of hydroponic systems
- Open and closed systems
- Aeroponic culture
- Identify the factors that led to the decision to produce vegetables hydroponically as opposed to on the open ground.
- Describe how a certain food can be cultivated hydroponically.
- Choose two commercially viable kinds of each of the following vegetable types that are suitable for growing in a certain location:
- Establish the precise cultural needs for each of the vegetable kinds chosen (above) to be grown on a particular site.
- Explain the culture of the less popular crops you choose.
- Create a log book to keep track of all the labour you do to raise a harvest of locally appropriate vegetables.
- Explain the various manual and automated harvesting procedures that are employed in the production of specific vegetables.
- Determine the ideal growing stage at which various vegetable varieties should be harvested.
- Analyze the standard methods for vegetable harvesting.
- Analyze the most prevalent vegetable post-harvest treatments.
- To prevent the deterioration of different designated vegetables, decide on post-harvest treatments.
- Provide standards for the post-harvest management, storage, marketing, and transportation of a particular vegetable variety.
- Examine the local vegetable marketing strategies.
- Describe the value of produce standards in the marketing of vegetables in various vegetable marketing systems.
- Describe the effects of quarantine restrictions on the transportation of various crops in your area.
- Describe the best way to package a certain vegetable for long distance shipping.
- Create marketing plans for various vegetables with specific uses.
How to Begin Growing Vegetables
A decent quantity of sunlight, fertile soil that drains well, protection from the wind, and enough water during the growth season are necessities for the majority of vegetables.
Because different crops have varied temperature tolerances, the timing of planting is crucial. Warm-season veggies are typically frost-sensitive and thrive best at temps over 20 C. Tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants (aubergines), potatoes, sweet corn (maize), and vine crops are among the vegetables in this category.
In general, frost-tolerant cool-season vegetables thrive in temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Broccoli, cauliflower, onions, spinach, turnips, peas, brussels sprouts, and broad beans are included in this category.
A third group thrives best in the range of 15 to 25 °C. Leeks, lettuce, cabbage, silver beet, carrot, parsnips, celery, radish, and silver beet are included in this group.
Growing methods for fruits, vegetables, and other edible plants
Vegetables and other edible plants can be grown outdoors in a variety of ways:
- Row crops are the conventional way to raise fruits, vegetables, and other edible plants in backyards and market gardens. The ability to sow, fertilise, irrigate, and harvest with ease makes it simple to handle.
- Organic gardening, no-dig gardens, companion planting, and biological pest management are all included in permaculture gardens, which are a sustainable production system based on ecological principles.
- Container gardens are perfect for gardeners with limited mobility, gardens with poor soil, or gardens with little area. They are suited for a variety of smaller-growing crops.
- No-dig gardening involves constructing a slow-moving compost pile directly on the soil’s surface as a “raised garden bed” and planting directly into the pile. Perfect for gardens with subpar soil.
- Organic means growing food without the use of chemicals; farmers utilise natural ingredients to nourish the soil and control weeds, illnesses, and insect pests. Organic growers frequently employ techniques like mulching, composting, companion planting, green manuring, and biological control. a growing trend among backyard and commercial farmers alike for growing systems.
- Gardening without soil using prepared nutrient solutions to feed and hydrate plants is known as hydroponics. A sterile material in a tight space, such a pipe or bag, supports and shields the roots.
Some of the culinary herbs, including parsley, basil, and coriander, can be grown in a vegetable garden because they need comparable conditions to vegetables. Chives, winter savoury, and thyme are good perennial herbs to use as borders around the vegetable gardens. Herbs with woody shrubs, like lavender, sage, and rosemary, can form lovely enclosing hedges.
The size of the vegetable plot is generally determined by the amount of available space and other resources as well as your intended commercial use.
Think about the following:
What do you hope to develop?
What you choose to grow will mostly depend on your personal preferences as well as environmental aspects (such as soil and climate), but bear the following in mind while making your choice:
Certain veggies, like radishes, produce a lot and develop quickly, while others take longer (e.g. artichoke). A place can be occupied by others for a very long time (e.g. asparagus – up to 20 years).
If you want to produce a lot of product, dedicate the majority of your plot to high yield vegetable kinds. Alternately, you could decide to plant more expensive but lower-yielding gourmet varieties.
Certain vegetables and herbs, such tomatoes, lettuce, beans, cauliflower, basil, coriander, and parsley, lose flavour and nutritional value when stored for even brief periods of time. These foods are best consumed fresh. So, it is worthwhile to grow these veggies yourself.
How much produce, including veggies and herbs, can you store and consume?
Take into account the following factors when choosing what and how much to grow: Do you intend to grow all of the vegetables you require on your own or will you also purchase some? Do you consume a lot of vegetables? Do you have enough room and the right setup (i.e., freezers, refrigerators, and preserving facilities) to store your produce? Can you exchange your output for goods or services?
What time do you have left?
Once your garden has been prepped and planted, keep in mind that you will need to have the time to complete all necessary duties at the appropriate times, including fertilising, weeding, watering, controlling pests and diseases, and harvesting, processing, and storing. Before a crop is destroyed by pests, it is important to monitor and control them, and excellent yield requires timely harvesting. Large, poorly maintained vegetable plots rarely produce larger or better yields than tiny, well-managed ones.
Preparing the cropping schedule
Prepare for a steady crop to prevent the feast-and-famine predicament that new gardeners frequently encounter.
- Time the plantings evenly. The majority of vegetables can be planted over a three to four month period with quite even yields at each planting. Aim to plant each crop in little amounts every two weeks. Direct seedling germination makes this simpler because the seed can be kept in storage until needed.
- Also, you can develop two or three seedlings at once in this manner (of cabbage for example). If you’re using seedlings, you might need to plant one entire punnet (tray) at each planting spaced six to eight weeks apart.
- Look for early, mid, and late season variants of each vegetable or fruit when choosing seeds. Harvest times will be spread out over the full season as a result.
- Only certain seasons of the year are suitable for growing these crops. When the other crops aren’t available, grow those that can be grown for longer periods of time or perhaps all year long.
What can you expect from this course?
This course will help you to improve your productivity, set up your own crop farm, or to get work on a crop farm. It covers all the fundamentals you need to progress in this industry.