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Eggplants in the Greenhouse

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A greenhouse eggplant crop is relatively easy to grow as a commercial or hobby crop.
Although eggplant is not a regular food item for many people, it does have a place in the greenhouse production plan for those who like it and value its contribution to their cuisine.
The crop is about a six months long. It could be reduced to a shorter time but less fruit would be produced. Leaving the crop in the greenhouse more than six months would create a problem with plant height. Plants of most cultivars grow to six to seven feet tall in the six month time frame when trained in the way suggested below.
Any attempt to produce eggplant fruit through the lowest light time of the year, in all but high light levels, should be avoided. Good light levels are needed for good fruit production. With enough artificial light, fruit can be produced through otherwise low light periods.
Eggplant is usually served in a cooked state rather than fresh. Eggplant Parmesan is what many people think of when they consider eating eggplant at a meal. The eggplant fruit is sliced crosswise and the circular pieces are dipped in a batterand rolled in a crumb preparation before being fried or grilled. Eggplants can also be prepared in a casserole or as young stuffed fruit for individual sized servings.
Young Eggplants in Dutch buckets filled with perlite.

Hobby Greenhouse Product

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Hydroponic cucumbers require quite a bit of space for proper growth but can yield a great harvest. Visit Cropking today for info on your greenhouse cucumbers.

Early Crop Production in Unheated "Poly Tunnels"

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While some growers are going into greenhouse vegetable production in a big way, with computerized, controlled environment greenhouses and soilless growing systems, others are slowly getting involved in "greenhouse farming" using conventional coldframes covered with a single layer of poly, often referred to as poly tunnels. Since no automated heating or cooling is used, this allows a low cost way of entering the specialty produce business that can yield an excellent return on investment.

Growing Tomatoes in Soilless Culture

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For many growers, tomatoes are the ideal crop to produce due to their tremendous demand and high market value. Since tomatoes are a universal item in the American diet, they are very easily marketed, even in outlying rural areas away from major markets. This ease of marketing all that a grower can produce is an important point to consider when choosing a crop. Also, with a ten-day shelf life, tomatoes need no refrigeration or special treatment prior to delivery to market.

Role of Perlite in Hydroponic Culture

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Horticultural perlite has a long and enviable record of performance as a propagating and growing medium throughout the world. It has been successfully used in virtually all horticultural applications including glass house growing, landscaping, lawn and stadium turf and in a variety of container applications. Time and time again it has proven its superiority in meeting the needs of commercial growers and home gardeners. Hydroponic culture is no exception. Extensive testing over a period of years at the West of Scotland Agricultural College has documented the superiority of perlite over other methods of hydroponic culture. For example, tomato crops hydroponically grown in perlite have produced average yields 7% higher than crops grown in rockwool. In addition to significantly increasing yields, perlite culture is particularly easy to manage and offers additional benefits.

Tomatoes in Perlite

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With more and more vegetable growers looking into soilless or hydroponic vegetable production, the need for a simple yet productive growing system has gained attention in recent years. Hydroponic growing systems are based on sterile, inert, and uniform growing media that serve as supports for a water-soluble nutrient solution. Commercial growers have traditionally used one of several hydroponic growing systems: the nutrient film technique, of media-based systems using peat mixes, rock wool, and sometimes even sand or gravel. Horticultural perlite has an excellent record as a propagating and growing medium. It has been used successfully in many applications as a supplement to various growing media for a variety of crops. Now, however, perlite is beginning to be used by itself as an ideal hydroponic growing media. Perlite is produced throughout the U.S., making it cost effective for growers. It can be used for two years, and then spread on farmland or sold to gardeners.

Hydroponic Marketing

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Establishing a market for your produce is surprisingly easy. By following our guidelines and procedures you can build a solid, steady, and dependable market for your crops. Low-cost, customized marketing and packaging materials are available. Many of our growers find that after several months of production, there's more demand for their crops than they can supply! The following is an excerpt from the November 1987 edition of American Vegetable Grower Magazine entitled Hydroponic Produce Supplements Farm Income.

Seed Selection

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As the seed catalogs arrive, the thoughts of starting plants for outdoor or greenhouse growing get an invigorating mind set established in any gardener looking out the window at leafless trees and possibly snow-covered ground. The anticipation of renewed plant growth is irresistible and compelling. Seed companies know when to time the arrival of their catalogs to get the highest level attention from gardeners. The sheer number of plant and seed choices, however, is often overwhelming. We shall not tackle the entire complex issue here, but we will look at some basic differences in the way some of the different cultivars were developed and what some of their features are. This way, you will be able to more readily determine what best matches your desires and expectations of the resulting plants.

Hydroponic Fertilizer Solutions

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Plants typically grow with their roots in soil and their stems and leaves in the air. They get some of the elements they require from the air (for example, most of the carbon and much of the oxygen used by the plant comes from the carbon dioxide taken in by the leaves of the plant), there are other nutrients that can be fed to them through their foliage, and there are even some aerial plants that get everything they need to thrive without any contact with soil at all. However, most plants get the bulk of what they need through their roots, usually in soil.

Cultivars for hobby Greenhouse Production

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YOU FINALLY HAVE YOUR OWN GREENHOUSE and it’s up and operational. The next decision, if you have not already determined this, is what to grow in your new greenhouse. The answer depends upon your purpose for having the greenhouse as well as some other factors. If part of your purpose for getting a greenhouse is to provide at least some of your own food, you will need to start by allocating space for those types of plants. Growers quickly find that their greenhouse is smaller than they realized once plants are in and growing.

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