Thursday, January 15, 2015
Last week the 5th Annual Hydroponic Greenhouse Tomato Intensive Course, held at the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC), concluded and was a huge success! Dr. Pat Rorabaugh of The School of Plant Sciences of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS), with assistance from Dr. Stacy Tollefson and the student workers of the CEAC Teaching Greenhouse, taught the group of 27 everything there is to know to optimally grow hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes.
Participants came from all around North America, from California to New York, Hawaii, Mexico, and even Argentina and Brazil. In attendance were representatives from Hort Americas, LumiGrow, Syngenta Seeds, International Rescue Committee and Heinz USA, among others.
Classroom time was always open to discussion and participants were able to ask and receive answers to questions specific to their growing situation. In the CEAC’s Teaching Greenhouse the class focused on a variety of essential growing techniques and received hands-on experience working with tomatoes. They learned to lean and lower, trim and prune for optimal plant growth and fruit production, measure growth, and monitor plant stresses and health. They also concentrated on bee management & pollination as well as crop protection including diseases and insect mite pests. Finally the group harvested tomatoes from the vines with which they had worked.
On the last day a round table discussion was held which Drs. Gene Giacomelli & Murat Kacira and Mr. Neal Barto of the University of Arizona Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) attended and answered questions from the class. Dr. Merle Jensen, the founding father of the CEAC, gave a presentation at the conclusion of the course to end things with a bang.