Dig Deeper

Year 2: What the training will cover

The programme has a good mix of both practical and theory. Our on-farm facilities and equipment coupled with off-farm visits and tuition from a range of experienced tutors, work experience, and workshops provide you with the widest possible knowledge of the industry. Graduates will have acquired a understanding of organic production for use in employment within the horticulture industry or thier own gardens and smallholdings.

Organic Standards and Certification

This course is taken by Dr Charles Merfield. By the end of this course students will be able to: explain the requirements for maintaining organic certification; identify how certification integrity may be endangered in organic horticulture operations; outline the requirements of an organic management plan for a horticultural operation to obtain organic certification and define key factors determining the viability of an organic horticulture venture.

Plant Propagation

This course is taken by Janine Rosie and Fiona Gunn. On completion of this course students will be able to: manage stock plants; select and prepare cutting material; manage the propagating environment; harden off rooted cuttings; and keep records of propagation by cuttings; source and store seed; treat seed to enhance germination; produce seedling lines; and keep records of propagation from seed. This course runs over 19 weeks with two tutors working together to give students a very thorough understanding of propagation from seed and cuttings.

Organic Crop Production

This course is taken by Dr Tm Jenkins. Students completing this course are able to: demonstrate knowledge of the criteria for selection of an organically produced crop; use site data to plan and implement a soil and fertility management programme; identify pests and diseases associated with the selected crop, and plan for and carry out the management of these organisms using organic methods; and identify weeds that will negatively affect crop development and plan for weed management in the selected crop.


This is a practically orientated course where students build and maintain their own irrigation systems, monitor soil moisture levels and budget for irrigation applications.

Legal Issues

This course is taken by Gilda Otway. This course is designed for people working, or intending to work, in horticulture. Students will be able to: describe business ownership structures; describe basic legal requirements in buying and leasing real estate; state how to comply with Inland Revenue Department (IRD) requirements; and demonstrate knowledge of the legal obligations of an employer and employee.

The topics covered in this course also include the restrictions on land and water use by primary producers; and water quality, and ground and surface movement problems associated with agricultural and horticultural land use.

Applied Soil Management

This course is taken by Gilda Otway.This course covers the sustainable management of soils and the issues related to the maintenance of this resource; erosion, cultivation and intensive agricultural use.


This course is taken by Hamish Kelland. This course will use the BHU pip fruit, stone fruit and connoisseur orchards to learn the practical skills required for the training and pruning of fruit tree crops. Students spend nine days learning how to prune, the course includes field trips to practice the pruning of grapes, nut crops and export organic apples.

Water Issues

This course is taken by Jane Demeter. The course covers issues relating to water use and quality including the allocation of water, contamination and compliance requirements.


Students learn and practice the principles of hot composting, bokashi using effective microorganisms and how to use biodynamic compost reparations.

The History and Development of Organic Horticulture

This course is taken by Bob Crowder. Students who complete this course are able to: describe the basic relationships and characteristics of an organic system; describe the development of modern organic horticulture; describe the schools of thought that are credited with the organic movement.

Farm Fencing

This is a practically orientated course that teaches students how to repair broken posts, construct fences, end assemblies for horticulture and hang gates.


Students learn basic tractor maintenance, how to attach implements and drive a tractor in a safe and controlled manner. Students are able to practice on one of two BHU tractors on the BHU farm under the tuition of experienced trainers.