LIVE OAK, Fla. — Do you want to know how to grow plants without soil? More and more, people want to start a hydroponic farming business. To meet that demand, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension will host workshops this month to get you going.
This marks the ninth straight year that Extension faculty at the UF/IFAS Suwanee Valley Agricultural Extension Center will host the workshops. If you are interested, you can attend March 13-14 or March 17-18 at the center, 8202 County Road 417, Live Oak, Florida.
“We had great demand for information coming from growers and potential growers,” said center director and UF/IFAS Extension specialist Bob Hochmuth. “Although many growers are diversifying from traditional farming enterprises, I would say most are not coming from a traditional farming background.”
The course features hands-on training in several key areas, Hochmuth said. UF/IFAS Extension faculty conduct the course in greenhouses, high tunnels and open-shade structures.
Among other information, participants learn the following:
- The benefits and limitations of different protected agricultural structures.
- Various production systems.
- Choices of how to grow without soil.
- How to exclude insect pests from greenhouses.
- How to mix hydroponic fertilizers.
- The key points in managing the most popular greenhouse vegetable and herb crops.
Hydroponic growing is popular throughout the state, Hochmuth said. In fact, a recent survey found hydroponic operations are in most Florida counties. More are in central and south Florida because of the ability to grow with a less sophisticated structure, he said.
“Growers can get into this way of farming on small acreage and without large investments in traditional farming equipment — tractors, plows, planters and harvesters, for example,” Hochmuth said. “It is also a way folks can become a farmer and sell fresh locally grown products on small acreage.”
A few openings remain at a cost of $325. To register, click on: http://bit.ly/2mbQV7V.
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