Murray State University

Poster Title

STUDY 2: Determining Biomass Variances In Hydroponic Harvests of Lactuca Cultivars Utilizing Different Fertilizer Application Rates

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Hydroponics is quickly becoming an alternative production system for leafy vegetables with both commercial and residential applications. Specialty fertilizers are becoming abundant as the popularity of hydroponics becomes available to the consumer. This study will compare the recommended application rates of General Hydroponics FloraGro and FloraMicro nutrient concentrations. The control is one 56-site ebb and flow chamber hydroponic grow system and a second treatment 56-site table is to be harvested simultaneously through a 50% reduction of nutrient concentration. Each table will be leached weekly to prevent mineral concentration buildup on root structures. Using existing elements of a previous hydroponics system, a modified structure will place the 4" PVC chambers, 47" in length with seven 3" container sites, on a table-type base. There are a total of eight chambers parallel to each other which will be piped with intake and drain manifolds totaling 58" in width. A 27-gallon reservoir will house a 525 GPH submersible pump with a pre-filter under each table. The pump will be controlled through a cycle timer programmed to 30 minutes on and one hour off. Growth rates and environmental measurements will be monitored daily, while nutrient solutions will be replaced and recalibrated on a weekly basis. All harvested crops are to be placed in a kiln for 72 hours to remove all moisture from cells, allowing for a precise measurement of biomass weight. Our data will be analyzed to determine whether a general reduction of fertilizer inputs without significant drops in crop yields can be established.

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STUDY 2: Determining Biomass Variances In Hydroponic Harvests of Lactuca Cultivars Utilizing Different Fertilizer Application Rates

Hydroponics is quickly becoming an alternative production system for leafy vegetables with both commercial and residential applications. Specialty fertilizers are becoming abundant as the popularity of hydroponics becomes available to the consumer. This study will compare the recommended application rates of General Hydroponics FloraGro and FloraMicro nutrient concentrations. The control is one 56-site ebb and flow chamber hydroponic grow system and a second treatment 56-site table is to be harvested simultaneously through a 50% reduction of nutrient concentration. Each table will be leached weekly to prevent mineral concentration buildup on root structures. Using existing elements of a previous hydroponics system, a modified structure will place the 4" PVC chambers, 47" in length with seven 3" container sites, on a table-type base. There are a total of eight chambers parallel to each other which will be piped with intake and drain manifolds totaling 58" in width. A 27-gallon reservoir will house a 525 GPH submersible pump with a pre-filter under each table. The pump will be controlled through a cycle timer programmed to 30 minutes on and one hour off. Growth rates and environmental measurements will be monitored daily, while nutrient solutions will be replaced and recalibrated on a weekly basis. All harvested crops are to be placed in a kiln for 72 hours to remove all moisture from cells, allowing for a precise measurement of biomass weight. Our data will be analyzed to determine whether a general reduction of fertilizer inputs without significant drops in crop yields can be established.