Organic Plant Culture - BHT302

Understand Organic Plant Growing Principles and Practice

Learn sustainable organic growing methods from experts.
  • Are you enthusiastic about natural plant growing methods?
  • Interested in sustainable gardening?
  • Want to avoid using chemicals?
  • Would like to work in this field?

Learn to

  • Grow crops organically on a hobby or commercial farm
  • Grow healthier produce at home
  • Learn to manage soils, nutrition and plant health issues without chemicals.


The ten lessons are as follows:

1.   Introduction – Gardening styles, basic organic procedures, etc.

2.   Plant Culture

3.   Understanding Soils

4.   Fertilizers and Plant Nutrition

5.   Soil Management

6.   Pests & Diseases

7.   Mulching

8.   Seeds - Collecting, storing & sowing

9.   Vegetable Growing in your locality

10. Fruit Growing in your locality

Duration:   100 hours

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the concepts and principles of organic growing, including the common techniques used in organic growing systems (Part A).
  • Explain the concepts and principles of organic growing, including the common techniques used in organic growing systems (Part B).
  • Determine soil management procedures, which are consistent with organic growing principles (Part A).
  • Determine soil management procedures, which are consistent with organic growing principles (Part C).
  • Determine soil management procedures, which are consistent with organic growing principles (Part B).
  • Explain how pests and diseases are controlled using organic growing principles
  • Determine appropriate mulches for use in different organic growing situations.
  • Determine the appropriate use of seed propagation, in organic plant culture.
  • Plan the production of an organically grown vegetable food crop
  • Plan the production of an organically grown fruit crop


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

  • Determine the roles of different organic farming and gardening organisations.
  • Explain how organic crops can be 'certified' as being organic in your country.
  • Explain the application of crop rotation in a specified garden, or farm.
  • Describe the construction of a 'No-Dig' garden, using materials readily available in your locality.
  • Explain the intended aims of a specific 'Permaculture' designed garden.
  • Explain different organic growing concepts, including:  *biodynamics *sustainable  agriculture   *companion planting *fallowing   *composting  *recycling.
  • Explain how organic matter may benefit plants growing in different soils.
  • Compare the advantages with disadvantages of using organic versus non-organic fertilizers.
  • Determine different organic fertilizers that are commonly available in your locality.
  • Compare factors affecting the selection of different organic fertilisers, including: *Proportions of different nutrients   *Likelihood of burn *Buffering characteristics  *Where it is to be used *Method of handling   *Cost   *Availability.
  • Determine mulch materials readily available for organic growing in your locality.
  • Compare different mulches suitable for organic growing systems, in terms of: *Interaction with water (eg. repelance, absorbency, drainage) *Nitrogen draw down *Toxins   *Rate of decomposition *Insulation properties   *Weed suppression  *Availability *Cost   *Nutrient content   *Ease of handling.
  • Explain how different, specified leguminous plant species, may be used to improve soil fertility.
  • Explain how different worm species may be used to improve soil fertility, on a specific site.
  • Determine how soils on a specific site may be managed, using organic principles.
  • Explain the different methods of natural control of pests and diseases, including: *Quarantine   *Natural sprays   *Physical controls   *Plant selection   *Use of natural predators   *Environment manipulation.
  • Determine commercially available, naturally derived sprays that can be used in organic growing.
  • Explain the benefits of ten specified examples of companion planting, including: *Repelling pests away from crop plants  *Attracting pests to bait plants *Improving soil (structure and nutrition) *Deterring growth of pests and diseases.
  • Develop criteria for evaluating pesticides, including natural pesticides, for use in an organic garden or farm.
  • Develop appropriate programs to control pests and diseases on different, specified cultivated plants.
  • Develop guidelines for seed variety selection, appropriate to organic plant culture.
  • Explain the importance of preserving seed sources of 'older' plant varieties.
  • Compile a catalogue of different, reliable seed sources for organic culture.
  • Explain appropriate methods for storage of different types of seed.
  • Explain various ways dormancy factors can affect seed germination.
  • Develop an annual timetable for planting different varieties of vegetables, appropriate to organic growing systems, in your district.
  • Compare the culture of different specified vegetable species, in organic with non organic production.
  • Prepare organic production schedules for  different food crops, including:  *A vegetable  *A fruit  *A berry


How Do You Grow Bush Beans Organically?

Dwarf or bush beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), are small to medium, bushy, generally upright, leafy, annual plants with large tasty seed pods.

These beans prefer warm weather, with ideally day maximums between 20 and 30°C. Some varieties are suitable for the warmer months in cooler climate regions. They are susceptible to frosts. Protection from strong winds is required.

Most well drained soils are suitable, but they prefer moist, fertile soils. Sandy soils will need plenty of well organic matter added, and the beans regularly watered. Destroy all weed growth and weed seed before planting. Use solarization if weed seeds are a problem. Incorporate well-rotted manures into the soil, but keep pH between 6 and 7. On acid soils, some lime may be needed, but be careful; a pH over 7 can result in nutrient deficiencies. Control weeds, preferably with mulching (cultivate if necessary, but only scrape the surface as roots are easily damaged by cultivation). Never cultivate after pods start to form. Rotate crops each season (Don't grow beans in the same patch of soil for two consecutive seasons).

Avoid planting with other legumes, or with onions, garlic, chives and Artemisia (see broad beans).
They do grows well beside strawberries, cucumber, carrots, and beets.

Seed is planted in Spring or early summer in most areas. Seed can be planted about 5cm deep, about 7 - 10cm apart in rows, with about 50 - 60cm between rows. Plantings can be staggered to ensure continuous production. 

Pest and disease problems can be minimal; but there are a range of problems that can arise, and may sometimes get out of hand if you don't act to eliminate the issue quickly.
Aphids, bean fly, pod borer, mites, thrips, Heliothis corn earworm, vegetable bugs, loopers. Diseases include: botrytis, rust, rots, leaf spot and blight.
Hygiene is important. Graze poultry over the ground before planting to remove existing pests. Keep area well drained and ventilated to minimize fungal problems. Use natural pesticides such as pyrethrum, daily for major infestations of insects until control is affected. Seriously infected plants should be removed and burnt.


These beans are high yielding, being ready for harvest in about 8 - 10 weeks. There are usually several pickings per bush as the pods do not all mature at the same time. The pods are best harvested young. If they are allowed to mature the bush will stop producing more pods. They can be frozen or eaten fresh. A 4 - 6 metre row will feed the average family.



With help from expert tutors who have vast experience and knowledge in this field you will have the confidence to find work in this field or pursue your hobby with extended knowledge.

  • Work as a gardener using organic techniques.
  • Grow vegetable and fruit for sale at farmers' markets or other commercial outlets.
  • Work as a consultant to those who would like an organic garden but lack knowledge and expertise
  • Set up organic gardens both edible and ornamental for others.


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Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

Note: Australian prices include GST. 

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