Farming & Gardening Resources

Year 1: Description

Principles of Organic Production

Students who complete this course are able to: demonstrate knowledge of planning requirements for establishment and maintenance of an organic horticultural production system; demonstrate knowledge of organic soil management; describe pest control in organic horticulture; demonstrate knowledge of factors that affect disease control in organic horticulture; demonstrate knowledge of weed management in organic horticulture; and demonstrate knowledge of companion planting in organic horticulture.

Liquid Fertilisers

This is a practical course where students will learn how to prepare and apply compost teas liquid fertilisers.


Students learning how to recognise and encourage both earthworms and compost worms, build and maintain worm bins.


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


On completion of this course students will be able to describe the basic structure and function of plants and plant nutrition.


Students learn how to describe soil formation, basic biological, chemical and physical soil properties and how soil properties and organic fertilisers can be managed to optimise plant growth. Students will also be able to assess and modify soil using sustainable practices, manage organic matter and maintain long term fertility. The student will also undertake basic soil analysis and take samples for soil tests.

Planting and Sowing

Students will learn the principles of seed bed preparation, direct sowing and transplanting for a range of vegetable, green manure and cover crops grown at the BHU organic farm. Both hand and mechanical methods will be demonstrated. Students work as a group in the year 1 intensive gardens under the tuition of Bob Crowder. Produce is sold at the BHU weekly market on campus.


The shelter course aims to provide students with the theory and practical knowledge to select, plant, prune and maintain healthy shelter trees. Students will practice hoe to plant, maintain and coppice the mixed species shelter plantings and Food Forest at the BHU.

Bees and Organics

This course is a mixture of theory and practical, looking at the basics of managing and maintaining a healthy hive organically as well as how to maximize the value and benefits of having bees in organic horticulture.


Students completing this course will be able to: describe the principles of permaculture; outline procedures used to analyse a site for permaculture; create a permaculture plan for a selected site; and describe considerations when implementing the permaculture plan. Students develop a plan using permaculture principles for a site of their choice.

The History and Development of Organic Horticulture

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 development of the modern organic horticulture movement; describe the principles of a selected range of organic movements; and describe the roles of key organisations that have a strong influence on organic horticulture.

Introduction to Pruning

This course will train students how to use hand pruning equipment, orchard ladders or stools, and maintain orchard equipment. Students will practice pruning techniques in the BHU orchards.

Planting to Retain Insects and Birds

This course looks at how to attract birds and other beneficial organisms, improve biodiversity and select and manage plant species with this in mind.


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.