Certificate In Hydroponics

Course CodeVHT013
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

Learn Hydroponics Studying at Home

  • First Step -Understand the 20/80 rule ---"80% of the knowledge required by a commercial hydroponic grower is general horticulture; 20% is hydroponics". Hydroponic ventures will often fail because this rule is not recognised. People often come to hydroponics with a fascination for the technology; learning all about the technology ....but without the horticultural knowledge and skills; the technology alone will not be sufficient.
  • Next Step -If you are already skilled in horticulture -choose our 100 hr Hydroponic Management Course....if not, choose this 600 hour certificate.

General Objectives:
1. To provide a sound basis of knowledge in horticultural principles as they apply to the culture, use and management of plants in various production situations.
2. To provide new and existing employees who are unable to undertake on campus training with the opportunity to gain appropriate knowledge in the field of plant culture, use and management.
3. To prepare employees for supervisory and managerial positions in the field of plant culture, use and management.
4. To provide horticultural business owner/operators (or those contemplating ownership) with appropriate training to apply technical skills to the management of the physical, financial and human resources in which they have made, or will make, a substantial investment.
5. To provide an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis being placed on hydroponics production of commercially valuable plants.

Lesson Structure

There are 30 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Hydroponic Technology
    • Why grow hydroponically? - Definition, history, resources, the industry.
  2. Plant Growth Requirements Light
    • artificial light, light balancers
  3. Plant Growth Requirements Nutrition
    • nutrient requirements, deficiencies, toxicities, pH, conductivity, salinity, growth regulators
  4. Plant Growth Requirements Temperature
  5. Hydroponic Growing Systems
    • basic concepts and designs, site considerations.
  6. Growing Media
    • types, properties, uses.
  7. Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions
    • nutrient formulae, preparing solutions.
  8. Hydroponic Equipment
    • componentry, nutrient delivery, pumping, testing and monitoring
  9. Growing Structures Design and Construction
    • types (greenhouses, shadehouses, cloches), materials, siting
  10. Environmental Control A Heating, Cooling
  11. Environmental Control B Lighting, Shading.
  12. Environmental Control C Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
  13. Plant Culture In Hydroponics A
    • trellising, pruning, pollination, transplanting.
    • problem diagnosis
  14. Plant Culture In Hydroponics B
  15. Aggregate Culture
  16. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Culture
  17. Rockwool Culture
  18. Other Techniques
    • wick systems, flood & drain, bag culture, aeroponics, etc.
  19. Irrigation Soil Requirements
  20. Irrigation Systems
  21. Plant Propagation
    • Seed & cutting propagation & tissue culture
  22. Market Gardening Cut Flowers
  23. Market Gardening Vegetables
  24. Other Plants In Hydroponics
    • herbs, grasses, indoor plants
  25. Pest and Diseases
    • identifying the problem, pests and diseases in hydroponics
  26. Weeds
    • identification and control
  27. Managing A Commercial Hydroponics Farm
    • crop scheduling & selection, standards, layout.
  28. Management Organisation and Supervision
  29. Marketing Promotion and Selling
  30. Special Project
    • Prepare a detailed report of at least 2,000 words, plus photos or diagrams, on a particular
    • aspect of technology which you have studied that significantly assists growing.

What are the Options?

There are six basic types of hydroponic systems:

  • Wick
  • Water Culture
  • Ebb and Flow (or flood and drain system)
  • Drip (with either a recovery or non-recovery process)
  • N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique)
  • Aeroponic

Over time the basic models have evolved and resulted in hundreds of different variations.


  • Aquaponics is a system that grows fish using the waste product from hydroponics
  • Organic hydroponics is even possible

Some systems work better for some plant species, and others better for other species. Some systems are easier or less costly to set up or operate than others. Some systems may be more appropriate to use on certain crops or in certain places.

This course teaches you about both the horticulture and the systems; how to choose the right system for the location; and how to operate it
Managing Water and Nutrition

The application of nutrient solution is the operation that accounts for the most loss in crop quality. While it may appear a simple operation, it is if performed correctly, watering at the wrong time or with the wrong volume of nutrient solution causes irreparable damage to the quality of the crop.

Under watering is when water is not applied frequently enough and plants wilt, slowing growth. This results in smaller leaves, shorter stems and a hardened appearance to the plants.

Over watering is when water is applied to frequently in small applications. While the new foliage becomes large, it also becomes soft and plants taller. Over watering also affects the growing media by reducing the oxygen content resulting in damage to the plant roots. The rule is to water thoroughly, so that water reaches the bottom of the planting media and can drain away.

Nutrient application should be applied at regular intervals, long before the growing media has started to become dry and the plant displaying sings of moisture stress. It takes an experienced grower to be able to determine the most appropriate irrigation programme and this needs to be adjusted for each stage of plant growth and the current growing environment. However, technology is to the rescue, irrigation is typically computer automated, with sensors placed into the root zone, which activate the watering system as required.

Appropriate watering systems are designed to suit the crop. Watering is rarely from overhead sprinklers. Most are from a central pipe with smaller tubes coming off to individual plants.

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