Fruit and Vegetables

Course CodeSGH4
Fee CodeSG
Duration (approx)20 hours
QualificationCertificate of Completion

Learn how to Grow Fruit and Vegetables in a Fun, Fast and Easy Way

  • Gain basic knowledge on food crop growing
  • Do lots of suggested tasks
  • Test yourself after each lesson
  • Do a larger test at the end
  • Download your 'Certificate of Completion' if you pass

 

 

Lesson Structure

There are 14 lessons in this course:

  1. Food from the garden
    • What can you produce in your garden?
    • Review what you have been learning
  2. Deciding what to grow
    • Review what you have been learning
  3. Successful growing
    • Light
    • Temperature
    • Soil
    • Nutrition
    • Water
    • Wind
    • Cold and the garden
    • Different growing methods
    • Where to get helpful information
    • Review what you have been learning
  4. Fruits
    • Introduction - fruit trees for all climates
    • How to develop an espalier on a wall
    • Good backyard fruit trees for a range of climates
    • Review what you have been learning
  5. Deciduous fruit trees
    • Winter chilling requirements
    • Pests and diseases
    • Deciduous fruit enclyclopaedia
    • Bare-rooted fruit trees
    • Pruning deciduous fruit trees
    • Review what you have been learning
  6. Citrus fruits
    • Tolerance to different climates
    • How to grow healthy citrus
    • Citrus species
    • Review what you have been learning
  7. Tropical fruits
    • What fruits when
    • Review what you have been learning
  8. Berries
    • Berry fruit
    • Review what you have been learning
  9. Nuts
    • Introduction to nut growing
    • Commonly grown nuts
    • Review what you have been learning
  10. Vine crops
    • Grape varieties
    • Review what you have been learning
  11. Using produce
    • What to do with excess fruit
    • Review what you have been learning
  12. Vegetables
    • Why grow vegetables?
    • The site
    • Choosing what to grow
    • Feeding and watering
    • Planning the cropping programme
    • Pests and diseases of vegetables
    • Review what you have been learning
  13. Mushrooms
    • Four easy steps to growing mushrooms
    • Review what you have been learning
  14. Special growing techniques
    • Growing produce in containers
    • Hydroponics
    • Permaculture gardening
    • More special growing techniques
    • Review what you have been learning

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


Learn to Grow Fruit, Nuts, Berries and Vegetables

  • At home or on a small holding
  • Self paced study led by an international team of professional horticulturists


How Viable is it to Grow Your Own Nuts?

Growing nuts can be a long-term prospect, but not always. You can plant, grow and harvest a crop of peanuts over a matter of months. Others such as almonds can take a few years to be productive, but some, like walnuts, take longer. 

Once established, many nut trees can produce very large quantities of nuts for many decades - sometimes, well over 100 years. Nuts can give you a lot of benefits beyond what might be found with fruits or vegetables:

  • They can be stored easier, and for longer periods.
  • Nuts are a high quality food - a great source of proteins, oils, and other nutrients.
  • They can be eaten raw or roasted, or used as an ingredient in cooking. 
  • They are an ideal substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes such as meat loaf and nut roasts.
  • Cakes and biscuits can be made with nut meal instead of flour.
  • You can crumb fish with almond meal or macadamia meal instead of bread crumbs.
  • You can use them to make your own muesli or add them to your favourite cereals.

Some Nutritional Benefits of Nuts

  • Many contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be good for heart health.
  • Peanuts are a rich source of folate which is good brain food - it is also an important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent birth defects, and something which often needs supplementing in vegetarian diets. 
  • Almonds have a high magnesium content which is reputed to relieve stress. They are also rich in the antioxidant, Vitamin C.
  • Brazil nuts are high in selenium - which boosts the immune system and in small doses may be a good defence against prostate cancer in men.
  • Nuts contain L-arginine which may help to relieve blood clotting and improve blood flow in arteries.
  • Nuts are high in fibre which helps to reduce cholesterol and helps you to feel full when eating - meaning you eat less.

Harvesting Nuts
The timing and method of harvest is dependent upon the species you are growing:

  • Some nuts are not ripe enough to harvest until they fall to the ground while others may be harvested while still clinging to the tree.
  • Some ripen over a short period, but others ripen over several months. 
  • Some grow on small plants that can be easily accessed for harvesting by hand. Others grow on very tall trees that are difficult to get to. 
  • Some may be taken by animals and birds if they are not collected in time.

Drying and Storage 
Many nuts can lose their taste, become diseased (e.g. fungal rots) or deteriorate if they are not dried and stored properly. Nuts with higher oil content deteriorate faster than those with less oil. Walnuts and chestnuts deteriorate faster than almonds and pistachios.

Nuts that are stored in the shell need to be stored at low temperatures. Storing nuts in the shell can help protect them from contamination and deterioration. A hard shell can keep out contaminating aromas (such as paint, petrol or even other foods). Hard shells also deter attacks by insects or other pests. Storing nuts in a refrigerator at 4°C or lower may extend their life to one year or more. They will not last as long if stored at room temperature and home grown nuts need to be frozen for 48 hours prior to storage to kills insects and bacteria. Use airtight plastic bags or containers, especially in warm or humid climates. Frozen nuts may last for two years. 

De-husking (i.e. removing kernels from the shell) is largely carried out using machines or specialised equipment for commercial nut production. Hand processing may be used for smaller scale operations. Many nut species have a fleshy fruit (dried or otherwise) that adheres to the outside of the nut. In some species (e.g. almonds), this tissue tends to split and come away from the hard nut easily. This material needs to be removed from the nut either by hand or machine. For some nuts (including walnuts), delaying de-husking can result in a deterioration of nut quality; but for others the quality is unaffected.

Nuts have traditionally been sundried after harvesting and removing any remaining tissue clinging to the husk.  Some nuts may be dried while still in the shell, others are removed from the shell and dried. Drying in the sun has risks: rain or high humidity can be a problem. If the weather is hot and dry though, nuts may only need 2 to 3 days to dry in the sun. If weather is overcast, wet, and not so hot, it may take up to 3 weeks or more for nuts to dry in the sun.

Removing Toxins
Many nuts contain unpalatable or even toxic chemicals when they are first harvested, and these chemicals need to be removed before they are eaten. Two common ways of removing these chemicals are washing or soaking the nuts, or by cooking the nuts. These methods help to remove phytic acid which is present in nuts to deter insects. If consumed it can prevent your body from taking in nutrients and cause serious health deficiencies.
Cooking nuts reduces any terebinthine or turpentine taste which can be a problem in some raw nuts. For example, cashew nuts have a caustic sap in the fruit that can sometimes find its way onto the nut which is removed with cooking.  Some nuts also contain harmful bacteria. Raw almonds, in particular, have been associated with salmonella and must be cooked for commercial supplies. Peanuts contain aflatoxins which can be reduced through roasting.

Tips for Roasting Nuts
Not all nuts need to always be cooked, but if in doubt don't risk eating them raw. Cooking nuts can add flavour as well as destroy toxins. 
Certain nuts are commonly cooked including cashews, chestnuts, peanuts and almonds. Most other nuts can be cooked.
Options

  • Raw nuts can be roasted on trays in an oven.  Heat oven to around 180°C. Cook on a tray for 4 or 5 minutes, then remove and turn the nuts over. Return to the oven for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Check to see when the colour changes but avoid burning.
  • Cook in a frying pan until they are changing colour but not burning. Adding a little oil can help the process.
  • Wrap in metal foil and place inside a camp oven or into an open fire. Check every few minutes to avoid burning.
  • Add flavour by coating nuts in oil, butter, honey, herbs, spices etc. before cooking.

Blanching Nuts
Some nuts can be blanched to remove the skins and bacteria. Hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios are good examples.  

  • Add water and two tablespoons of baking soda to a large pan. Don't overfill the pan, around half full is suffice. Bring pan of water to the boil. Add the nuts and allow them to parboil for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain through a colander or sieve and run cold tap water over them. 
  • Nuts can be rubbed with paper towels until the skins fall off.

Steaming
Steaming nuts is another option though it is not effective as roasting or blanching for killing toxins and bacteria.

  • Use a steamer saucepan. Add water to bottom pan and bring to the boil. Place nuts in steamer insert and set on top of pan. Steam for up to one hour. Rinse nuts under cold water. Rub with paper towels to remove skins if necessary.
 

 

ONLY 20 HOURS

At only 20 hours. this is different to our other 100 hour courses; being not only shorter and with a lower fee, but with the assessments at the end of each lesson being fully automated.

At the end of each lesson, you are given a short interactive test to undertake, to provide an indication of how your learning is progressing. 
You have access to a help desk for support from a horticulture tutor if you need it in any point in your studies.

When you finish the final lesson, you are given a more thorough automated test or examination. If you achieve an overall pass; in this final online test; you are provided with an electronic copy of a  'Certificate of Completion', with your name and the course name and date, to print and store electronically in your permanent records.

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