Professional advice on growing thriving specialty crops in controlled environments is available for free at the second annual Urban Agriculture Controlled Environment Conference online Dec. 3.
The event is led by research faculty and specialists of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research, who welcome new and prospective controlled-environment growers for this online learning event.
“We will focus on many production practices in a controlled-environment system,” said Joe Masabni, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension vegetable horticulture specialist in Dallas. “We also will share the latest research on growing in controlled environments taking place at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas.”
The conference lasts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no charge for participation, but registration is required.
Many topics to be covered
“We will touch on many topics relevant to new and prospective growers as well as seasoned growers of any expertise level,” Masabni said.
As part of the learning event, Masabni and a group of five controlled-environment experts will lead discussions on a range of topics. For those interested in ongoing research, the team will review organic hydroponics, the benefits of supplemental light using LED technology, optimized lighting and the effects of rootzone chilling. Topics for growers include basic media trials with hydroponics, nutrient analysis in closed-loop systems, supplemental lighting and microgreen production.
Presenters will field participant questions during and after their respective sessions.
“It’s a great opportunity, and we’re very excited to be able to offer it to all Texans online,” Masabni said.
8 a.m.—login opens online.
8:25 a.m.—Welcome Remarks; Participants in ‘online waiting area’ will be admitted.
8:30-9:30 a.m.—Basic media trials with hydroponics / Nutrient analysis in closed-loop systems – Aaron Fields, Eden Green Technology director of horticulture, Cleburne.
9:30-10:30 a.m.—Controlled environment agriculture supplemental light: Basics, decision making, measuring – Fields.
10:30-11:15 am—Optimized lighting for greenhouse and indoor crop production – Shuyang Zhen, Ph.D., AgriLife Research assistant professor, College Station.
11:15-Noon—Organic hydroponics – Genhua Niu, Ph.D., AgriLife Research professor of urban agriculture, Dallas.
Noon-1 p.m.—Lunch Break
1-2 p.m.—Microgreen production – James Hinton, Zero-Point Organics owner and operator, Hempstead.
2-2:45 p.m.—Effect of UV-A and red and blue LED light on lettuce quality – Triston Hooks, Ph.D., AgriLife Research associate, Dallas.
2:45-3:15 p.m.—Chilling the root zone – Masabni.
3:15 p.m.—Q & A session.