Horticulture has been a part of society since ancient times and is turning into a necessity in modern times. With the food supply barely hanging in the balance, the need for an increase in horticulture practices is dire. However, it can have many other benefits as well, not just for human society but the environment as a whole.
But before moving on to the scope of horticulture for environmental development, understanding the basics is essential. That is why we will be discussing the topic briefly in this blog. In this blog, we will be covering every aspect of it and its importance for ecological harmony.
What Is Horticulture?
Horticulture is the practice of growing plants on a short scale, such as in a garden or greenhouse. The grow can be vegetables, fruits, or ornamental plants to create a clean & green environment.
If we talk about the scale of horticulture, it falls somewhere in between domestic gardening & field agriculture. Though, it leans more towards the shorter scale of growing plants. Plant conservation, restoration of landscapes, garden designs, etc., are all part of horticulture.
Types Of Horticulture
There are many different types of horticulture, and we will mention them all below.
Olericulture is the science that deals with herbaceous plants for growing vegetables. It is mainly concerned with edible parts of the plant. Storage, marketing, as well as the processing of vegetables, come under olericulture. The field also covers:
- Crop establishment of vegetables by seed and transplants.
- Taking care of and maintaining vegetable crops
- Organic farming and gardening
- Sustainable horticulture
Some examples of vegetable crops that it deals with are spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, beans, etc.
Pomology is the branch of science that deals with the cultivation of fruits and studies them. Fruticulture is another name for this science. More specifically, the branch falls under botany and focuses majorly on development and enhancement by studying physiological fruit trees.
The practice of pomology is nothing new and has been a part of ancient Middle Eastern and European regions. Common fruits cultivated in pomology include apples, grapes, melons, oranges, etc.
It involves studying and practicing the cultivation of grapevines. The overall objective of it is to produce fruits that can serve specific purposes. The term originated from the Vitis vinifera fruit. The fruit was edible, but it was difficult to reach there. That led people to plant them, and the management of the fruit became easier. And this developed into what we now call viticulture.
As the name might suggest, the focus of Floriculture is flowers. It is the study of those plants that produce flowers which we usually witness as exhibitions in small flower shops or gardens with beautiful arrangements of flowers or greenhouses.
It is one of the most successful branches of horticulture and is practiced in almost every part of the world. In fact, the estimated market size of Floriculture in 2022 was worth USD 50,040 million. And it will grow even more in the coming years as per the forecasts.
Turf management which is also known as pitch care is the management of a sporting pitch to ready it for use. While you may think that it is a type of horticulture, the fact is that it is. The skill required to manage the field depends upon the sport and also the type of surface. Some of the fields in turf management include:
- Tennis Courts
- Golf Courses
- Football Pitch
- Cricket Pitch & Ground
- Athletics Tracks
The study of cultivation and management of woody plants such as trees, shrubs, and vines. It is a type of horticulture but is very different from urban forestry as it deals with the management of forests on a large scale. At the same time, arboriculture deals with the individual study of plants.
This is a branch of horticulture that deals with the arrangement of ornamental plants using art and knowledge. The arrangement is in such a manner that beautifies the place and enhances the aesthetics.
The objectives of landscape horticulture include:
- Increasing the aesthetics of the place
- Increase the property value
- Blending the architecture into the natural scenery
- Creating recreational places where people can relax and interact with the community members
How Is Horticulture Different From Agriculture?
People often confuse horticulture with agriculture, given their definition. And some consider it to be a subtype of agriculture. However, there are certain differences between the two, and we will cover those in this section.
One major difference is the scale of production. Agriculture has a much larger scale of production than horticulture. This also distinguishes the level of output between the two.
Another difference is that agriculture is usually monoculture (cultivation of a single crop). In contrast, horticulture tends to be polyculture (multiple crop cultivation). Also, horticulture focuses on the improvement of yield and quality. On the contrary, agriculture aims for effectiveness and sustainability.
Agriculture involves edible plants and animals. On the other hand, horticulture involves mainly plants (edible as well as non-edible).
Why Is Horticulture Important In Human Life?
While the scale and output in horticulture are lower, there are still many benefits of horticulture. Some of its common benefits include:
- Improving the quality of life
- Contributing to the sustainability and rehabilitation of the environment
- It will also help in improving the overall ecological balance
Also, the need for sustainable horticulture will keep on growing as the need for sustainable landscapes grows. And that is also why many organizations in the US, such as the American Society for Horticulture Science and the American Horticultural Society, have been promoting horticulture. Even the international popularity of horticulture is continually growing. According to the report by National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), there was a total sale of 13.8 billion USD in the different branches of horticulture. It will keep growing, which we will see as new statistics arrive in the coming future.