Horticulture is a science of studying garden plants. The world Horticulture is derived from two Latin words viz. Hortus means garden and Culture means knowledge of growing these crops. Horticulture is an aesthetic science that deals with the important crops which are grown in the gardens e.g. vegetable crops in vegetable garden, fruit crops in fruit orchards.
A. Branches of Horticulture
There are four branches of Horticulture, which are as follows:
1. Olericulture (Vegetable culture): This branch deals with the study of vegetable crops. Vegetables are nutritive food of plant origin which are normally cooked before consumption or eaten raw as salad. e.g. Cabbage, Tomato, Fenugreek.
2. Pomology (Fruit Culture): This branch of Horticulture deals with study of different fruit crops. Cultivation, management and other aspects of fruit crops are covered under this branch e.g. Mango, Banana, Grapes.
3. Floriculture and Ornamental Gardening: This branch of Horticulture covers flower crops and ornamental plants. Study of different flower crops and ornamental plants with reference to their production and uses. It also includes gardening, landscaping and beautification of surroundings e.g. Roses, asters, lily, Cactus, Ferns, etc.
4. Post Harvest Technology and preservation: Study of post harvest handling, marketing, and processing of Horticultural crops is covered under this branch. Post harvest management of fruits, vegetables, flowers with their storage, marketing and preservation is studied under this branch e.g. Preparation of jam, jelly, ketchup etc.
B. Importance and scope of Horticulture
Let us see the importance of Horticulture:
1. As compared to field crops Horticultural crops give more returns per unit area (More yield in terms of weight and money).
2. Horticulture crops are important as their nutritional status is high. Particularly fruits and vegetables provide high amount of vitamins and minerals to us.
3. Horticulture is important as it beautifies the surroundings.
4. Horticulture crops are suitable for small and marginal farmers.
5. The varieties of crops are available in the Horticulture section with wide range of uses.
6. Horticultural plants improve environment by reducing pollution, conserves soil and water and improve socio-economic status of the farmer. Scope of Horticultural crops
Factors affecting the scope of Horticultural crops in the world is as follows:
1. Varied agro climatic conditions in the world, allows growing different Horticultural crops in different regions.
2. Increasing irrigation facilities provide more scope for growing Horticultural crops.
3. Availability of technical information regarding production of Horticultural crops will provide congenial condition for growing these crops.
4. Increasing communication and transport facilities provide greater markets to Horticultural crops.
5. There is scope for export of fresh and processed products.
6. Greater demand for Horticultural commodities in local markets.
7. Facilities provided by the government helps farmer to replace their traditional crops with Horticultural crops.
8. Development of financial institutions, co-operatives in rural areas. increasing returns from these crops.