US (PA): Growers get up to speed with hydroponics

Three hundred miles may seem like a long way to go for lettuce, but Tuesday’s trip to Butter Valley Harvest Farm was well worth the extra gas for Henry Wilde.

The Pittsburgh farmer is relatively new to hydroponics, and Butter Valley was offering some veteran tips during a teaching session organized by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Penn State Extension.

“I’ve been running my own (hydroponics) farm since August, and I’ve never been to a working farm, so I’m working through every learning curve as it comes up,” said Wilde, who farms butterhead lettuce. “I wanted to come here and talk to someone who’s been doing it for 10 years.”

Seeing Ryan Ehst’s hydroponic operation was an eye-opening experience.

“He’s got all these channels right up next to one another because he’s got these small crops,” Wilde said. “And that surprises me because I could be growing a lot more stuff in the same number of square feet.”

Wilde was one of about 20 people in attendance at the session. And while he may have traveled the farthest, his reason for attending was similar to everyone else’s: curiosity.

Read more at Lancaster Farming (Eric Hurlock)

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