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Year 1: Introduction to Organics

This BHU - Lincoln University programme offers trainingio at one of Australasia’s oldest organic farms. During the 41 week’s tuition you can achieve the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3).

What the training will cover

The BHU-Lincon University programme offers training at one of Australasia's oldest organic farms. During the 41 week's tuition you can achieve the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) and the Telford Certificate in Organics (Level 3).

What the training will cover:

  • Sowing, planting and harvesting organic crops
  • Composting and liquid fertilisers
  • Vermiculture
  • Soil properties and management
  • Plant structure and function
  • Organic pest and disease control
  • Organic weed identification and management
  • Shelter selection, planting and maintenance
  • Companion planting
  • Beekeeping
  • Permaculture principles and design
  • Basic pruning techniques
  • The history and development of Organics

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 their own gardens and small holdings.

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.



Concurrent Telford Qualifications

  • National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) - 105 credits
  • Telford Certificate in Organic Horticulture (Level 3) - 40 credits


Duration and Timetable

Training provider: Lincoln University

  • One academic year (41 weeks including holidays)
  • Start date : Monday 31st July 2017
  • End date : Friday 11th May 2018
  • Duration: 2.5 days per week, Monday, Wednesday 9am-3pm, and Thursday 9am-12pm.
  • Follow this link for the programme timetable

This programme also requires work exoperience hours to be completed, and self-directed learning hours to be logged as follows...


Summary of Hours


Self Directed

Work Experience


National Certificate in Horticulture L3





Telford Certificate in Organics L3








Entry requirements

New Zealand Residents or Citizens:

Applicants must:

  • Be aged 16 years or over
  • International students must be 18 years of age or over.
  • Have completed at least three years at secondary school, and achieved the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (Level 1), or equivalent
  • Be confident they can succeed at Level 3 and have the physical ability to manage the work without putting themselves or others at risk
  • Have adequate literacy and numeracy skills.

Download the enrolment form here

International Students:

International student enrolments are managed by Telford, a Division of Lincoln University. Please follow this link for more information.

Note: International students require an overall IELTS score of 5.5 ot a TOEFL of 61 iBT, 500 paper, essay rating (TWE) 4.



Loans, Allowances and Fees

Loans and Allowances

The Introduction to Organics programme is eligible for student loans and allowances. Please contact Studylink to apply, use the following details:

  • Programme code: NC1471
  • Training provider: Lincoln University
  • Student ID number: Student ID number will be available from 1st July, please contact the BHU once you have enrolled
  • Start date : Monday 31st July 2017
  • End date : Friday 11th May 2018
  • Follow this link for the programme timetable

Course Fees 

Domestic students

  •  $498.00 (inc GST)

International Students

  • $24,000 (inc GST) . Please contact the BHU for detailed international fees information

International Scholarships

The BHU offers two scholarships of NZ$5000.00 each to international students. See this link for more information on how to apply

Where to send your enrolment form and payment of fees

Please forward your  and a certified copy of your passport or birth certificate to:
The BHU Organics Trust
P.O. Box 69113
Lincoln, 7640

Fees can be paid by cheque or electronic transfer (please contact the BHU for account details)

Download the enrolment form here.


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  • Phone Line: +64 3 3253684

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