Attendees were able to learn about most topics through hands-on experiences in the greenhouses. Important classroom topics included business planning and marketing. Topics inside the greenhouse production area included: greenhouse structures, culture un- der open shade areas, season extension, soil- less media selection, floating systems, nutri- ent film technique (NFT), growing micro- greens, production containers, vertical cul- ture, water and nutrient management, inte- grated pest management (IPM), selecting vegetable, herb, and cut flower crops, an or- ganic production in greenhouses. Attendees were also provided an educational tour of two
Special thanks to all NFREC-SV fac- ulty and staff for making the event such a success. Additional thanks to Dr. Comerford, for his leadership and Al Wysocki, George Hochmuth, Tim Carpenter (Verti-Gro) and Tim Blank (Future Growing), Linda Landrum, Wanda Laughlin, and Lei Lani Davis for helping teach the workshops.
Suwannee County hydroponic farms, Beli Farm (Wellborn) and Dasher Farms (McAlpin)
New Hydroponic Short Course at North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley a Rousing Success
Bob Hochmuth, Multi-County Agent/Vegetable & Small Farms,NFRC- Suwannee Valley
A follow-up survey being conducted indicates attendees rated the short course value very high and encouraged us to offer that course again to other new growers. In addition, 100% of respondents want addi- tional intensive single day trainings as well. The two top requests were clearly fertilizer and pest management.
An intensive two day short course and optional grower tour was held in March at the North Florida Research and Education Center
Suwannee Valley. The popularity in regis-
trations led to a second course being offered the same week. In all, 70 attendees were able to learn about ―Starting a Successful Hydro- ponic Business.‖ Attendees came from all over Florida but also from Ohio, New York, Alabama, and Georgia. Most attendees were prospective or very new commercial growers, but six County Extension faculty and three UF students were also able to participate.
As a result, we plan to offer the course for new growers in March 2010 and the intensive classes in November 2009. Growers will select one of three days for the advanced topic class.