Tasmanian Horticulture students planting out a heritage apple a the RTBG.

Inside our horticulture course practical days.

Here’s a look inside one of our Practical sessions at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart.

Our part time Horticulture Certificate 2 students have been working all year towards their graduation. As their horticulture course draws ever closer an end (get those assignments in guys!) there are still a few Saturday “practical sessions” to complete.   These take place about once a month and involve the students getting their hands dirty at the gardens and putting their theoretical knowledge into practice. It’s a chance to work together and contribute to the workings of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the atmosphere is always fun and interesting.

Lets start with the basics of what our students need.

Coffee is a good start as some of the practical days start around 8:30am. The Gardens Café isn’t quite open at that time, so a pick up on the way is a good idea. Other than coffee, students need to have long pants, long sleeved shit, steel cap boots and gloves. Sunscreen is a must, as the sun in Tasmania can be a little fierce. Our horticulture students always carry secateurs which get a good workout during the day!

The first stop today is the worm farm. The students will be using the collected “worm wee” fertiliser later in the day in the community garden and they will in turn, bring back clippings of vegetables to feed the worms.

Tasmanian Horticulture students at the Botanical Gardens worm farm.

Students getting up close to hungry worms!

On to the Potager garden, which the students have been maintaining throughout the year. Here, it’s time to cut off the green manure crops that have been revitalising the beds, prepare and spread compost and plant out a new crop of carrots, parsnips and other veggies. The students also fertilise the beds with the worm wee solution at a ratio of 10:1.

Horticulture certificate 2 students planting vegetables

Potager Garden beds being planted out with new crops.

While they are in the Potager garden, instructor Rainer has a heritage apple to be planted. Through the year the students have learned the right way to plant out small trees and shrubs, so this one is of to a good start. A bit of hedge trimming and edge work and the Potager garden is back to looking presentable to gardens visitors.

Next it’s on to the Community Food Garden. Here, the students have been planting out and maintaining different beds with the produce all going to local people in need through the food charity “Second Bite.” Today the paths need weeding, beds planted out with corn, lettuce, silver beet and other veggies. The vegetables like broccoli that have formed seed heads are clipped off and chopped up to feed back into the worm farm.

Globalnet Horticulture Certificate 2 students planting out the beds of the Tasmanian Community Food Garden.

Planting out the beds of the Community Food Garden.

All in all, a very busy day but everyone enjoys the work and there is a great sense of achievement at the end of it.

If this sounds like the sort of thing you would like to be doing with your Saturdays once a month, have a look at our part time Certificate 2 in Horticulture.