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Nutrient Solution Monitoring with Bluelab

By Deidre Hughes

pH

A too often overlooked aspect of hydroponics is the importance of maintaining a steady and proper pH in your nutrient solution. One whole number increase or decrease in pH (ex. 6.0 to 7.0) is actually ten times either more acidic or more alkaline depending on which direction the number moves. The pH scale ranges from 0-14 with 0 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being alkaline. Most plants thrive in a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. This is because the pH affects nutrient uptake by a plant’s roots. A lower (acidic) pH can affect the availability of Mg, P and/or Ca. On the flipside, a higher pH (alkaline) can affect the availability of micronutrients such as Fe (iron), Cu (copper), B (boron), Zn (zinc) and Mn (manganese). Certain plants have greater need for specific elements, therefore, will have a pH “preference”. Before planting a crop do proper research to determine what the needs and recommendations for your crop are. Then adjust, monitor and maintain your pH for consistent growth.

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Mastering Light Management: Optimizing Crop Performance

All crops have specific light requirements. By knowing minimum and optimum levels of light for our crop we can manage our environment to improve crop performance. When the ambient light exposure is below the minimum requirements we need to apply supplemental lighting in order to maintain our crop production at a healthy and consistent pace.

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Mastering Disease Management: Powdery Mildew in Leafy Greens

leafy greens

By Karla García, Hort Americas Technical Services

Disease management in both traditional and controlled environment agriculture is as old and complex as the practice itself. In controlled environments disease can spread quickly and lead to significant losses if not properly managed. This first installment of our mastery series discusses how to recognize, control and prevent powdery mildew in leafy greens.  Continue reading Mastering Disease Management: Powdery Mildew in Leafy Greens

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How to get perfect turf grass for your sports field with the best lighting technologies

By Karla García, Hort Americas Technical Services

All people in sports business know how important is to maintain turf grass of sports fields in perfect shape. To achieve this, different products are applied in order to provide all the nutrients and protection to turf grass. However, maybe we are missing a very important aspect.

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When should I invest in artificial lighting? How do I select the best lighting options?

We all know light is one of the most important factors affecting plant growth and development. But, how can we know if the use of artificial lighting will improve our production and our income? And how can we select the best source of light?

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How do I protect my crop from direct sunlight and heat?

By Karla Garcia, Hort Americas Technical Services

A greenhouse is a structure used to protect our crop and extend our production window. Once we decide to invest in a greenhouse structure we must think in ways to obtain the maximum benefit from it. There are plenty of options for greenhouse covers. But as a grower, what should I be looking for? Photosynthesis is the main process related to crop yield. Therefore we should always be looking to optimize our greenhouse environment to promote photosynthesis.

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Indoor Farming: How Can You Ensure Success?

Any business can fail for any number of reasons, but indoor farming is an incredibly delicate organism that depends on many disparate factors being perfectly aligned and in balance. This increases the risk of failure for those unaware of the number of plates that need to be kept spinning in perfect time. This list is not definitive but gives you a good idea of the most common mistakes to avoid.

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The importance of knowing basics of plant nutrition

By Karla Garcia, Hort Americas Technical Services

Plant nutrition is a key factor in growth and yield. But how can we know which nutrient is missing? Or which is the best fertilizer for our crop?

In learning about plant nutrition, we first need to know there are nutrients required in greater quantities than others. The nutrients that are essential for plant growth are called “macronutrients”. The rest of the nutrients also essential for plant growth but in lower quantities are called “micronutrients”.

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Could duckweed be the next big vertical farm crop?

Duckweeds are a family of aquatic plants that can be found floating on still or slow-moving bodies of water worldwide. Also known as bayroot or watermeal, duckweed is a popular food in Southwest Asia. Duckweed is a major source of protein, which accounts for 40 percent of its dry weight. It’s also the world’s fastest growing plant.

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How to improve controlled environment crop production with LED lighting

By Karla Garcia, Technical Service

The development of new lighting technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can increase the capability to provide ideal light conditions to crops. This makes it possible to improve crop performance and product quality.

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How to determine if LED grow lights are a good investment

Based on the benefits controlled environment growers are experiencing with LED grow lights, a return on investment (ROI) analysis could help you decide how quickly the payback would be for your operation.

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Cornell University to house hemp seed bank

Cornell University is expected to play a major role in the continuing development of the industrial hemp industry in the United States. USDA’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) has received $500,000 in federal funding to create the nation’s only industrial hemp germplasm repository or seed bank co-located at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, N.Y.

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