Nevada Dividends!

Urban Hydroponic Fruit And Vegetable Production: Optimizing Nutrient Solutions


Issue:

Greenhouse agriculture has the potential for improving yield and vegetable quality in sub-optimal environments. Despite increased frequency of greenhouse vegetable production, basic information on optimal nutrient growing solutions and other environment factors for production of commercial vegetables is lacking. Nutrient and fertilizer delivery is a high-cost component to production, especially in hydroponic systems which often use proprietary blends of chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are gaining in popularity, but need to be standardized and tested in hydroponic systems before they are widely used.

What has been done?

Hydroponic systems were manipulated to investigate the influence of aqueous media on vegetable production. In this research, the team tested the feasibility of using low levels of commercial (General Hydroponics Flora series) nutrients on green leafy vegetable production. In subsequent tests, the team created an organic nutrient solution and compared the yield to both the high and low level conventional nutrient treatments.

Impact:

NAES scientists determined that regardless of level of commercial hydroponic nutrient solutions – 1,200 (manufacture recommendation), 600, 400, and 300 ppm – leafy greens growth was similar. Producers could reduce their nutrient input cost by 25% and should still see normal growth in both bok choy and lettuce.   

CONTACT INFORMATION

Stanley T. Omaye

Department of Nutrition

1664 North Virginia Street

Reno, Nevada   89557

 

Phone: (775) 784-6447

Email: omaye@unr.edu

Personal Web Site: