Given the need of the time to encourage students towards alternative career options, horticulture is one field that is often ignored by the education industry in the country. Doing BSc Horticulture would be a great career option. With a massive shift being seen from the traditional choices such as engineering and medical studies it is no wonder that students are on the lookout for unique career options that would help them stand out from the crowd. Perhaps this change is due to the reason that the market for engineers has reached a somewhat stagnant position with most of the graduates being unemployed or underemployed and often receiving meager wages.
Let us start by breaking down the terminology to its very basic core. What is horticulture? Simply put horticulture is the growing of plants for either ornamental or for a decorative purpose. This is, however, a rather broad term and has been slightly modified in recent decades to read as the cultivation of ornamental plants and sale of plant products along with many other additional services. Horticulture also encompasses a wide variety of other tasks such as plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction, and maintenance apart from arboriculture. What probably distinguishes horticulture from farming and animal husbandry is its inability to engage in very large scale production.
Horticulturists apply their knowledge and skillsets to ensure proper production of plants and nurture plants for human consumption and non-food uses to fulfill individual or collective needs. Horticulture is just not related to the growth of plants but also puts a lot of focus on the scope for improving plant growth, yields, and quality with much emphasis being laid on improvement in nutritional conditions and ensures that the plants develop good immunity against pests and diseases. Some of the professions associated with the field of horticulture include gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors working in both the food-related and non-food industries.
Some of the major areas of study in the field of horticulture include:
- Arboriculture: this is a study of plants, their selection based on factors, care mechanisms and removal of individual plants from an area
- Turf Management: like the name suggests this deals with all facets of managing grass and turf for athletic or leisure purposes.
- Floriculture: As the name suggests, it is the study of techniques to grow and take care of plants bearing flowers.
- Landscape Horticulture: this involves the production and maintenance of plants that are often utilized for landscaping purposes.
- Olericulture: this is the field of study dealing with the cultivation and care of plants that bear vegetables.
- Viticulture: a new sphere of study that is gaining popularity in India since the past few years, this is the field of research concerning the cultivation and maintenance of grapes and their related marketing strategies.
- Enology: Often related to viticulture, enology deals with the aspects of wine, winemaking, and vineyard management skills.
- Postharvest Physiology: this deals with the maintenance of plants and animals and ensuring that they remain in good condition and can be deemed fit of either sale or consumption.