The Advantages of CEA in Strawberry Production

Growing hydroponic strawberries

By Karla García

Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassaDuch.) are an important crop grown in the U.S. with a market value of more than $2.2 billion dollars, producing 1.12 million tons of strawberries in 2019. Most production of strawberries in the U.S. is done in open fields. In the U.S., year-round production is achieved by shifting production between regions across California and Florida. Recently U.S. growers are confronting challenges in open field production. In California, where more than 90% of the total strawberry production is done, annual acreage for strawberries is getting lower due to prolonged drought periods in the field; also, dry weather is increasing pests, making it challenging to manage and control diseases (Green, 2014). Another challenge of U.S. production is the emergence of strong competitors in the strawberry market, Mexico and China.

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Free Download: The Guide for Growing Tomatoes

Greenhouse production of hydroponic tomatoes is increasing worldwide every year. The reason? All the advantages provided by these growing systems! The principal advantages of hydroponic controlled environment agriculture (CEA) include high-density maximum crop yield, year-round production, more efficient use of water and fertilizers, consistent crop quality, minimal use of land area, and suitability for mechanization, disease and pest control.

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Free Download: The Guide for Growing Leafy Greens

Lettuce under LED grow lights

Commercial production of leafy greens is getting more and more competitive every year. Therefore, it is important to seek the best options in order to compete in this market.  Production of leafy greens inside greenhouses and plant factory systems are great options to produce high marketable products. Why? There is one specific reason why customers will choose your product… Quality!

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How does testing your water save you money?

Water test

Before you dive into hydroponics one of the first things you should do is have your water source analyzed by a reputable lab. The water can be municipal, from a well or other source depending on your location. A quick internet search can be done to find a testing facility near you. They will provide you instructions for sending in your samples and tell you their cost for an analysis which normally ranges between $35-$55. If you are buying property, a water test can also help you decide if the property will work for your intentions, just like a farmer might get a soil test before buying farmland. Knowing if a water treatment system is needed before you get started can end up saving your crop and a lot of trouble in the long run especially in a closed or recirculating system.

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Microgreens Production

Microgreens can be a great option when selecting a product to start a small business or to expand your current market. Why? Microgreens are relatively easy to grow in comparison to other crops and cycles are very short. Therefore, you can quickly learn and improve your production technique, correct mistakes and become a good microgreens producer.

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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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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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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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