What does it take to grow leafy greens and herbs in controlled environment structures? Commercial hydroponic grower and consultant Tyler Baras has written a “Roadmap to Growing Leafy Greens and Herbs” to help those interested in commercial hydroponic production. The book is based on Baras’ experience with commercial hydroponic leafy greens production.
The goal of the book is to provide information that can guide investors through some of the details related to starting a hydroponic operation. Topics covered in the book include site selection, structure and growing system selection, lighting, nutrient solutions, substrates, crop selection, plant health and target markets.
“This book covers a lot of the traditional recommendations seen in hydroponic textbooks, but I’ve also included my personal experiences that have widened my perspective on the ways to grow hydroponic leafy greens,” Baras said. “I often run into situations that seem to run against the traditional recommendations coming from universities and textbooks. I think the entire industry still has a lot more to learn.”
Baras said people looking to invest in controlled environment agriculture often only see the potential production and financial statistics used to promote commercial hydroponic leafy greens.
“These numbers don’t tell the whole story which includes a lot of not so flashy challenges,” Baras said. “I’ve seen investors get sold on the flashy stats without a full understanding of the challenges of creating and managing a profitable leafy greens farm.
“I’m tired of seeing controlled environment farms fail due to avoidable mistakes. Small mistakes in the farm planning process can cut into a farm’s potential, drastically reducing output and profitability.”
Another tool to help CEA growers succeed
Chris Higgins, general manager at Hort Americas, said this new publication is just one of many ways his company is working to support controlled environment agriculture.
“As a horticultural distributor, Hort Americas cannot succeed if our customers don’t succeed,” Higgins said. “We want to assist our customers in building economically sound businesses so we can build our business around successful growers. We support controlled environment agriculture for many reasons and want to promote it.
“What we don’t want to do is encourage people to invest in a controlled environment operation and then end up failing. “Roadmap to Growing Leafy Greens and Herbs” helps to make clear the challenges and requirements facing anyone looking to start this type of business.”
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