Certificate in Horticulture,growing herbs commercially. Home study online course. Covers the basics of horticulture in the first half of the course and moves on to herb growing in the second half.

Course Code: VHT014
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
Get started!

The Certificate in Horticulture (herbs) covers the basics of horticulture in the first half of the course and moves on to herb growing in the second half. This allows you to extend your prospects - the general horticulture knowledge gained gives you greater work opportunities in the various horticulture industry sectors. This is an excellent backstop to gain experience or extra income whilst you set up your herb business. 
This well established course is designed for people who are involved, or wanting to become involved in the business of herbs. It covers less horticulture and focused more strongly on herbs than the Certificate in Horticulture (Herbs). This course is more appropriate for the small business operator who not only grows herbs but also harvests and value adds (eg. perhaps producing herb products).
Students gain skills and knowledge in:
  • propagation
  • pest and disease control
  • herbal harvests
  • soils for herbs
  • herb varieties
  • using herbs for cooking and medicine
  • garden design and more.

DURATION: 600 Hours


Sample: Extract from Course Notes

Post Harvest Treatment of Culinary Herbs

 To ensure that quality is maintained the following points need to be considered

  • Staff Training i.e. staff need to know how the handling of the crop affects the quality and shelf-life of the product. Adequate training in relation to this is important beginning in the field at harvest, during transport to sheds, through to the sorting/grading/cleaning process and loading of transport trucks.
  • Adequate staff supervision to ensure procedures are followed
  • Setting realistic processing times i.e. hurried processing can increase crop damage
  • Use the correct tools and equipment and storage bins to minimise damage
  • Ensure the crop isn't compromised: through contaminated water during the cleaning process, soil contamination at picking or dirty storage bins and packing shed equipment.
  • Ensure that product is cooled correctly.


A crop is cooled after harvest in order to quickly reduce the field heat thereby prolonging the shelf-life of the product. The enzyme degradation in the vegetable is suppressed through cooling preventing softening. It also slows water loss, inhibits the growth of mould and bacteria as well as slowing down the ethylene production thereby also slowing ripening.

Cooling also allows the producers to store crops for short periods in order to stagger flow to market. This is particularly important for:

High yield producers; it is not beneficial to flood the market.

Smaller producers supplying local restaurants, retailers direct, or open farm (i.e. pick your own producers)

It is important to choose the correct cooling methods and equipment according to the crop produced. Not all crops require or benefit from the same cooling systems or temperatures.

Some cooling methods are faster then others and choice will also be dictated by the volume of produce that is cooled at any given time, the volume harvested in a season and also the actual packaging used. Certain types of packaging may facilitate faster cooling.

The small grower will not have the same cooling requirements volume wise as the broad acre grower. The producer must also keep in mind the expense of the cooling system. The sell price of the product will need to take into account the cost of the entire production process including cooling. If the cost of cooling becomes too high the price of the product may not be competitive or the system may not be able to pay for itself even in the long term.

Lesson Structure

There are 30 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of Herb Varieties
  3. Soils & Nutrition
  4. Herb Culture
  5. Propagation Techniques
  6. Pests & Disease Control
  7. Harvesting Herbs
  8. Processing Herbs
  9. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts
  10. Using Herbs: Herbs for Cooking
  11. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs
  12. Herb Farming
  13. Herb Garden Design
  14. Constructing a Herb Garden
  15. Managing a Herb Nursery
  16. Lavenders
  17. Mints
  18. Lamiaceae Herbs
  19. Garlic
  20. The Asteraceae (Compositae) Herbs
  21. The Apiaceae Family
  22. Other Herbs
  23. Topiary & Hedges
  24. Producing Herb Products A
  25. Producing Herb Products B
  26. Producing Herb Products C
  27. Marketing in the Herb Industry
  28. Budgeting & Business Planning
  29. Workforce Design & Management
  30. Major Research Project


The vast majority of herb studies graduates will run their own business – but some do work for others e.g.  in retail nurseries, on herb farms or as advisors.

To answer the above question though – no a course will not guarantee you work. There are many things that will contribute to that:

Finding the right course: to be a really knowledgeable in herbs you need to firstly understand the plant naming system (herbs in particular have so many common names and many herbs share the same or similar common name, that using scientific names becomes imperative  -especially if you are thinking of working as a herbalist or making herbal concoctions or medicines. Choosing or using the wrong herb could be disastrous!

The best place to start is with a good course - it may not guarantee you work but it will set you apart from others with scant knowledge. Do a course of study which will give you expertise rather than give you a 'piece of paper'. Not all courses are equal, some only tick you off against a set of known parameters (competencies). ACS courses concentrate of developing your knowledge but also, more importantly, your problem solving skills. The work place is inundated with 'problems' both small and large each and every day - most management skills are centred around finding solutions to those problems. If you can demonstrate your problem solving skills every day in your work place, you are far better placed to be noticed and advance in your career. If you work for yourself it will make you more efficient and it will also make you better able to run your business effectively.

Be a great communicator: no matter what industry you work in you need great communication skills and communicating includes listening and also writing - work on these things.

Be proficient in the use of technology: almost all clients or potential employers  will expect you to be able to use computer skills to communicate with them and also for your own use as a reference for research. 

Be well presented: this is as important as great communication skills – when you face clients or are looking for work in this industry your appearance i.e. dress and grooming will be the first thing that you communicate to the person you are facing. A well-groomed person will always instill more confidence than a scruffy one!


Course Contributors

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

Maggi Brown

Maggi 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 w

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has

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

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.