Since lettuce and leafy greens have short production cycles, greenhouse growers need to stay focused if they want to be successful growing these crops year round.
Monitoring is crucial for growing lettuce and leafy greens year round
The increasing demand for locally-grown vegetables is causing more field vegetable growers, ornamental plant growers and new growers to look at trying to satisfy this market. Cornell University horticulture professor Neil Mattson said he works with all three types of growers.
“I see both vegetable field growers and ornamental greenhouse growers trying to produce lettuce and leafy greens year round,” he said. “Both are quite common. Field vegetable growers are looking for a crop that can generate year-round cash flow. Ornamental growers are looking to fill their greenhouses in the off-season. A lot of ornamental growers no longer produce poinsettias in the fall or spring bulb crops and spring plant propagation that they would normally do in the winter. Growers could have as much as a six-month window when their facilities are not being used.”
Mattson said ornamental growers tend to better understand what it takes to grow a year-round crop.
Dosatron fertilizer injectors are water-powered requiring no electricity to operate. Available from Hort Americas, these easy-to-maintain injectors are simple to use and are adjustable to allow for flexible dosage rates.
The injectors work with various growing substrates and irrigation methods. The injectors can be used to inject a variety of products including fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, organic supplements and sanitizers.
All of the units come with a mounting bracket, suction hose, weighted strainer and operating manual.
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Substrates for vegetable and ornamental crops
Grodan AO and AX rockwool cubes are suitable for the production of a wide range of edible and ornamental crops. Available from Hort Americas, these rockwool cubes can be used to produce vegetables, including tomatoes, lettuce, as well as ornamental and even aquatic plants.
Grodan’s rockwool cubes are specially designed for irrigation efficiency and uniformity. The cubes do not tie up water or nutrients, ensuring these are continually available to the plants. This enables growers to easily control plant growth to achieve higher yields.
The cubes are arranged in sheets that make propagating and transplanting easy. The compostable cube sheets fit easily into standard 1020 flats.
Hort Americas is offering the Grodan Cress Plate. It is the optimal product for the production of microgreens and in bulk harvested leafy greens and culinary herbs in vertical farming set-ups. These thin sheets of stone wool are specially developed for quick growing crops that need minimal substrate.
The Cress Plate provides a uniform water level, quick and easy germination and even crop development. Two sizes are available: 49.5 x 24 x 1 cm, which fits 10/20 trays and comes 90 per carton, and 60 x 50 x 1 cm, which comes with 50 sheets per carton.
Hort Americas also offers several Riococo coir substrate products, including the OMRI-certified Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. Available in 25-, 32- and 42-mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.
Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force releases hydroponics and aquaponics report
In July the Hydroponic and Aquaponic Task Force released its report on hydroponic and aquaponic production practices and their alignment with the USDA organic regulations. The task force was charged with preparing a report to inform the National Organic Standards Board (https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/nosb) as it determines the best path forward on hydroponic and aquaponic production systems.
NOSB is a federal advisory committee whose members recommend whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling, assist in developing standards for substances to be used in organic production, and advise the USDA Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of organic regulations.
The public can provide comments to the NOSB during the public comment period for the NOSB’s meeting in November. There will be additional opportunities for comment after the NOSB develops a proposal on hydroponic and aquaponic production practices.
Read Urban Ag News Issue 14
We are proud to be a sponsor of Urban Ag News. There are great articles in the latest online magazine issue including cover story looks at Kimbal Musk’s “community through food” philosophy. Kimbal co-founded The Kitchen restaurants to serve food and drink from local farmers, ranchers and suppliers for the sustainable enjoyment of the whole community. Kimbal also helped co-found the Learning Gardens that serve as outdoor classrooms and experiential play-spaces that connect kids to real food and empower them to make healthier food choices.