From Asian greens to swiss chard, the Hydroponic Leafy Greens Field Day covered research on a variety of greens.
The December 13 event was held at the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Center in Live Oak, Florida. It was the last event of the year for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Small Farms Academy. UF/IFAS researchers covered topics of interest to small producers within the leafy greens industry.
Bob Hochmuth, regional Extension agent at the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center, said, “Our objective of the Leafy Greens Field Day was to educate small farmers and medium-size operations on the proper ways of growing leafy greens — things like lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and other kinds of leafy vegetables. We wanted to be able to show them different kinds of production systems that can be used and the different kinds of varieties that are best adapted for their particular area of Florida.”
Attendees toured hydroponic operations and protected agricultural structures including greenhouses, high tunnels and open-shade systems. They were shown research trials that are currently underway and funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
“Our primary objective in this current grant project is to provide an opportunity to take a look at specific varieties of a number of different leafy greens. For instance, we have been running variety trials for spinach, kale, lettuce, swiss chard and the Asian leafy greens group. What we are able to do there is to take a specific evaluation of those varieties under protected agricultural conditions. We want to give the farmers who are growing and using these kind of structures the best answer we can in terms of which varieties of spinach, kale and leafy greens would perform the best under their conditions,” Hochmuth stated.
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