Agriscience II Sustaining Human Life

Course Overview

Units at a glance

Do you have a thumb so green it glows? Are you happiest when surrounded by growing things? If so, you may be planning a future in horticulture or plant science. In this unit, you’ll learn what horticulture is all about, from growing plants to designing garden spaces. You’ll also learn more about the exciting trends in horticulture and plant science, including plant modifications and designing for sustainability. Finally, you’ll learn how to stay safe working in the nursery or garden.

To study plants and to grow them, you need to first identify them. Identifying a plant tells you how it reproduces, where it grows best, and how much sun and water it needs. Identifying a plant also provides information about its growth pattern. In this unit, you’ll learn a number of different ways to identify, classify, and categorize plants. These strategies will help you to understand plants and to choose plants for different uses commercially, in the garden, and at home.

To study plants, to grow plants, and even to grow the products of plants, you need to understand how plants reproduce and how they can be propagated in a laboratory or garden. You also have to understand what they need to grow, and how plants use light to provide energy. In this unit, you’ll learn many different ways to propagate plants, from seeds to grafting, and you’ll develop an improved understanding of how plants grow.

Growing plants—in the laboratory, on the farm, in the garden, or even in a flowerpot—requires that the plants have access to a growing medium, typically some sort of soil. With only a few exceptions, you can’t grow plants out of thin air. Soil science is the study of soil as a natural resource, including how it is used and managed. In this unit, you’ll learn about different types of soil, how to improve soil, and why good-quality soil is essential for plant growth. You’ll also learn about other types of planting media and how to use them for container gardening and other applications. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to sustain vigorous and healthy plants of all types.

As you’ve learned, plants need sunlight to grow, but they also need water. In agricultural science, plants are most often supplied with water through irrigation, or the intentional application of water to the plants, or to the ground surrounding the plants. In this unit, you’ll learn how irrigation systems work and about research and discoveries in irrigation science today.

To be healthy, plants have to be provided for and protected. Providing for plants means more than just healthy soil—it also requires that you learn how to apply and use fertilizer. In addition, protecting plants means that you need to know about integrated pest management in all its forms and how to use it to reduce the risks associated with insects, wildlife, and unwanted plants. You also need to understand the laws, which govern the use of these chemicals. They can be dangerous, and state and federal governments have protections in place concerning their sale, use, and labeling.

Landscape science and design implements many of the plant science skills you’ve learned throughout this course. Landscaping enables you to arrange plant materials and outdoor construction and installations in ways that are both functional and decorative. Smart landscape science enables landscaping to serve a number of additional functions, including reducing soil erosion, limiting water use, and cutting heating and cooling costs.

Managing plants and planting sites is essential to keep plants alive in a wide variety of settings, from the garden to the lab. In this unit, you will look at current and future applications of the skills, information, and science you’ve learned in this course. The skills of agriscience are essential to support the future of our population and our planet. Scientists in plant laboratories are working to develop new plant technologies to improve production and nutrition and address key issues of climate change.

Course Highlights

Explore the science of plants.
Research how technology is changing agriculture.
Investigate the influence of soil types on agricultural production.
Discover the science behind different types of irrigation systems.

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