The area of agriculture known as horticulture deals with the art, science, technology, and business of growing plants. It covers the growing of grass and decorative trees and plants in addition to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, and seaweeds. Additionally, it covers lawn management, ornamental trees, arboriculture, landscape restoration, and landscape and garden design, building, and upkeep.
Horticulture is a term used in anthropology to describe a kind of subsistence that involves the small-scale, non-industrial cultivation of plants for food. Hand tools used in horticulture include hoes, digging sticks, and carrying baskets. Agriculture, as opposed to horticulture, is a more intense approach that uses plowing, animal traction, and sophisticated irrigation and soil management techniques. Horticulture has been studied and practiced for a very long time—thousands of years.
Horticulture aided in the transition of human populations from nomadic to sedentary or semi-sedentary lifestyles. Horticulture is broken down into several categories that concentrate on growing and preparing various kinds of plants and foods for particular uses. Many organizations from all over the world educate, encourage, and promote the development of horticulture to preserve science. Some well-known horticulturists are Luther Burbank and Luca Ghini.
The histories of agriculture and botany and horticulture are intertwined.
The development of horticultural communities from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies into settled or semi-sedentary societies can be seen as the beginning of horticulture. By burning plant debris, pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Amazon Rainforest employed biochar to increase soil fertility. This soil was known as Terra Preta de Indio by early settlers. Such horticulture was frequently practiced on swiddens, sometimes known as “slash and burn” places, in forest regions. The semi-sedentary Eastern Woodlands societies of pre-contact North America, who cultivated maize, squash, and sunflower, stood in stark contrast to the nomadic hunter-gatherer groups of the Plains people.
The cultivation of crops on a modest scale, such as the “milpa” or maize field, near their homes or in specialized plots that were occasionally visited during migrations from one place to another, was a priority of Mesoamerican cultures. Maya horticulture in Central America entailed enhancing the forest with valuable trees including papaya, avocado, cacao, ceiba, and sapodilla. Many crops, including beans, squash, pumpkins, and chili peppers, were produced in the cornfields; in some civilizations, women were mostly or solely responsible for tending to these crops.
The science of horticulture focuses on several important areas. They consist of:
- Olericulture: veggies are produced.
- Pomology, also called fruticulture: is the harvesting of nuts and fruits.
- Viticulture: the process of making grapes (largely intended for winemaking).
- Floriculture: the cultivation of floral and decorative plants.
- Turf management: the creation and upkeep of turf grass for use in sports, recreation, and amenities.
- Arboriculture: individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants that are grown and cared for specifically for landscaping and amenity purposes.
- Landscape horticulture: the choice, cultivation, and maintenance of plants used in landscape design.
- Postharvest physiology: the control of horticultural crops after harvest to prevent deterioration while being stored or transported.
- Environmental horticulture: the study and administration of green spaces.
- Interiorscaping: the art and science of using plants indoors. It is crucial to the decor of homes, hotels, offices, and shopping centers.
- Spices Crops Culture: focuses on the growing of spice plants, such as pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom.
- Plantation Crops Culture: focuses on plantation crop expansion.
- Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Culture: focuses on the cultivation and management of medicinal and aromatic plants.
- Post-Harvest Management: focuses on the management, processing, and marketing of horticultural products after harvest. Grading, packaging, and storage are also included.
Why is Horticulture Important
Horticulture enriches diets: Growing fruits and vegetables, in particular, is a part of horticulture, which offers essential elements for a healthy diet. Some of the most prevalent and incapacitating nutrient-related illnesses in the world are mainly attributed to diets deficient in fruits and vegetables.
Horticulture increases incomes: High-value crops like fruits, vegetables, flowers, or herbs are consistently more profitable for farmers to raise than other types of crops. Agriculture and economic diversification can be boosted via horticulture.
The global research efforts of the Horticulture Innovation Lab are primarily focused on enhancing livelihoods by boosting farmer profits and diversifying nutrient-rich meals. The Global Horticultural Assessment, a thorough, collaborative, international analysis that also recognized these difficulties for horticulture development, serves as the program’s compass
- Gender equity: Women frequently raise and market fruits, and vegetables, and cut flowers, but they frequently have limited access to marketplaces, land, resources, and education. Women producers can increase output and extend horticultural markets by addressing these obstacles.
- Technological innovation: Given the intricacy of horticulture, cutting-edge “leapfrog” technologies can lower restrictions and input costs that prevent smallholder farmers from realizing their full profit potential.
- Access to information and research capacity: Locally tailored research on items like enhanced cultivars, managerial tools, market knowledge, and efficient postharvest procedures is essential for commercial horticulture success. A well-trained workforce, access to reliable information, and local research capacity are all necessary for sustained horticultural growth.