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Dialing in on the Downy: Dealing with Basil Downy Mildew in your Greenhouse

Posted by Dr. Natalie Bumgarner on 9/17/2013

Some basic facts on basil downy mildew

Basil downy mildew (Peronospora belbahrii) is a disease that is rapidly getting the attention of many of hydroponic greenhouse growers. Over the last couple months, we have heard from growers in several states who are now facing this disease. So, I want to take an opportunity in this blog to introduce growers to the threat and present some information as well as sites for further research. Knowledge and preparation are some of the best steps to prevent or mitigate losses in our greenhouse
basil crops.

Spring to Summer Romaine Lettuce Trial

Posted by Dr. Natalie Bumgarner on 9/6/2013

Romaine lettuce can sometimes be a challenging lettuce crop to produce in the greenhouse due to its susceptibility to tipburn and related quality deterioration. However, there often appears to be a solid market for high quality, locally produced, romaine. In addition to environmental challenges, romaine cultivars specifically bred and developed for controlled environment production are less common than bibb cultivars. This trial was designed to evaluate a selection of romaine lettuce cultivars through a range of spring and summer conditions to evaluate their potential for greenhouse growers in the Midwest and northeast.

The attraction of opposites: Using both soil and soilless production to enhance diversified vegetable and fruit operations - Part 2

Posted by Cropking on 8/6/2013
Farm

On this mid-summer morning in central Pennsylvania, it turned out that tomatoes were not the first thing on Ammon Martin’s mind. While Ammon and his son Dave were certainly willing to discuss their greenhouse hydroponic tomato production with me, he explained with a smile that right now it was peach picking season. So, it was going to be the orchard that would consume much of their time over the next few days.

Grass Fed Beef

Posted by Cropking on 7/26/2013

In my opinion one of the preeminent benefits of utilizing a hydroponic fodder feed system is the ability to more closely re-create our animal’s natural diets. This is especially true when considering a ruminant animal such as a cow. A cow’s digestive system has specially evolved to efficiently digest and convert grasses into a food source; a feat that those of us with only one stomach cannot accomplish. Traditionally all beef was grass fed, but with a skyrocketing population a need to speed up production time became evident; this is where grain-feeding came into play.

The attraction of opposites: Using both soil and soilless production to enhance diversified vegetable and fruit operations - Part 1

Posted by Cropking on 7/25/2013
Yarnicks

For horticultural crop producers, the balance between specialization and diversification on their farms must be continually managed. These days, the concept of diversification does not just apply to the types of vegetables planted in the field or varieties of trees in the orchard. Horticultural growers around the country have a wide variety of growing systems available to them to enhance the selection of crops they market and the seasons in which they are able to harvest and sell.

Investigating iceberg lettuce in the hydroponic greenhouse – 2013 Trial, Part 1

Posted by Cropking on 7/10/2013
hydroponic Iceberg Lettuce

Lettuce is the 2nd most popular vegetable in the US (second only to potato), and head lettuce is certainly the most recognizable type. So, it is not uncommon for us to hear the question “Why don’t you produce iceberg lettuce in the greenhouse?” There are, in fact, several key reasons iceberg lettuce is not commonly grown in vegetable greenhouses in the United States. They are listed below and loosely ranked by importance, but these reasons may vary depending on production area and market.

Late Fall to Spring Leaf Lettuce Trial

Posted by Dr. Natalie Bumgarner on 5/9/2013
leaf lettuce

Hydroponic lettuce production in the United States now encompasses a wide spectrum of lettuce types and cultivars. While Bibb cultivars still occupy a large percentage of the market, many growers are also seeking attractive and distinctive lettuce cultivars to meet consumer demand. Due to these factors, leafy cultivars, including looseleaf and Lollo types, are becoming more common in hydroponic greenhouses. However, some of these cultivars have been more often grown in soil based systems, and there is a need to better understand their performance in the greenhouse. Consistency in both productivity and timing is important for greenhouse growers, and seasonal conditions can have a large impact on cultivar performance. Trialing of available cultivars under differing conditions is important in informing grower decisions. Important points of evaluation are growth rate, yield and visual coloration. The goal of this set of trials was to evaluate a selection of leaf lettuce cultivars through a range of late fall, winter, and early spring conditions to evaluate their potential for greenhouse growers in the Midwest and northeast. Cultivars were obtained from varied seed suppliers to represent a broad selection of cultivars available to lettuce producers.

Selecting a Growing Structure for Fodder Production

Posted by Maxwell Salinger on 5/3/2013
Hydroponic Fodder

One of the common questions often heard at CropKing is the optimal environment for hydroponic fodder production. To begin to address this topic, one of the first catch phrases that come to mind is “controlled germination.” This term fits well with hydroponic fodder production because we are only concerned with the first seven to fourteen days of growth. These plants are relying very little on the sun to provide the energy they need to develop, and more on their “food” stores within the seed. This “food” or endosperm inside of the seed is most often in the form of starch. Starch can be converted to a more easily digested form for our livestock to consume through the process of germination. These facts alone can certainly influence the way we approach our environmental control.

Late Summer to Winter Bibb Lettuce Trial

Posted by Dr. Natalie Bumgarner on 4/15/2013
Lettuce Seedlings

Hydroponic lettuce production in the United States now encompasses a wide spectrum of lettuce types and cultivars. Although there is an increasing amount of diversity in the cultivars being produced in hydroponic greenhouses, Bibb cultivars still occupy a large percentage of the market. They are also often the first crop produced by many beginning growers around the country. While some growers tailor their cultivar selection to seasonal conditions, many growers at a variety of scales produce a single cultivar for the whole year that is adapted to a range of conditions. Both of these production patterns, though, require the growers to be familiar with the growth habits, characteristics, and productivity of the cultivars. This trial was designed to evaluate a selection of Bibb lettuce cultivars through a range of late fall and winter conditions to evaluate their potential for greenhouse growers in the Midwest and northeast. Cultivars were obtained from a variety of seed suppliers to represent a broad selection of cultivars available to lettuce producers.

Maxwell's Fodder Intro

Posted by Cropking on 4/8/2013
Hydroponic Fodder

With hay and grain costs on the rise and continuing drought immanent, many farmers and ranchers are looking to developing technology to assure the survival of their businesses. Although slightly counterintuitive, hydroponic food production has proven to be a great way to reduce overall water usage and still harvest a wonderful crop. CropKing’s hydroponic fodder system has been steadily gaining more interest as a feasible method for farmers to grow their own feed in order to greatly reduce their overall feed costs.

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