Classically evolved from the Latin words ‘hortus’ ( garden plant ) and ‘cultura’ ( culture ), horticulture is the culture of cultivating. But at the same time it is a huge field of study. Horticulture is heavily dependent on three broad areas of knowledge : Science, Business, & Art. An appropriate balance and interaction of these three components is necessary for success in Horticulture.
"Rare indeed are the fields that can claim such a dependence on all three broad areas of knowledge!" remarked Prof. Bailey L. H. , the famous American Horticulture scholar. Horticulture involves the study of growing crops, plants, herbs, turfs, shrubs, trees, fruits, flowers, vegetables, grains, cereals, or anything that falls in this genre. It is a science of plant propagation and crop production. Involved are the topics of botany and agriculture that study physiology, biology and chemistry of plants and trees.
Subjects of genetic engineering and bio-technology falls into the same group as well. Crop reaping, storage, quality assurance, processing, maintenance and transportation too are included. The tricks and techniques of improving crop production, their quality, nutritional virtues, immunity to diseases is also covered in Horticulture. Not only this, horticulture also extends to the study of non-edible ornamental kind of plants.
Horticulture employs a wide range of tools and technologies. It is a scientific methodology of cultivation, so as to make the crops yield the desired quality. These scientific methods could be as simple as using tractors for farming to deriving fertilizers mixing complex chemicals.
An interesting point to note about horticulture is ones social environmental responsibility. Natural resources should be used sparingly, and should better be bred from their parent stock, whereever possible. Horticulture address these issues.
Types of Horticulture
- Amateur Horticulture: Amateur horticulture, as the name suggests, is an unprofessional sort of horticulture. It is just growing for ones own self, may be because of domestic cooking needs, or for the sake of ones interests and inclinations. It is a vocational horticulture.
- Commercial Horticulture: Commercial horticulture, is growing for others and earning living from that. It demands a due market knowledge, what consumers require, what are their tastes and preferences, what is available in market in abundance and what struggles scarcity. It is professional horticulture.
Areas of Study in Horticulture
1. Floriculture - dedicated to Flowers
A discipline of horticulture that is concerned with floral crops, is floriculture. It is about growing and selling flowers. Usually these flower-plants are herbacious and are planted in pots, trays, or hanging baskets. Flower-harvest is often seasonal, and the plants should properly be watered and prunned to bear the flowers. Some post-harvest treatments such as chemical treatments, storage, preservation and packaging, also be taken care of.
2. Olericulture - dedicated to Vegetables
It is a field of horticulture relevant to vegetables of all kinds. Some vegetables are eatable freshly cut, while others need to be cooked. Olericulture takes care of these all about vegetables.
3. Pomology - dedicated to Fruits
Latin word pomum, is an origin of the term pomology, which is branch of horticulture pertinent to all sorts of fruits.
4. Landscape horticulture - dedicated to Landscape Plants
Landscape plants, such as trees, plants, shrubs, turfs, herbaceous perennials etc. are studied under this category of horticulture.
5. Post-harvest physiology - dedicated to Post-harvest Jobs
Crops often ask for a special post-harvest attention, especially when not to be used immediately but to be preserved. The said field of horticulture is relevant to crops reaping, maintaining their quality, reducing spoilage etc.
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