Down and Dirty with Soilless Growing
During the 2011 National Association of Agriculture Educators Conference, Todd Trobaugh, Education Specialist and William DeBoer, Lab Technician (pictured) from steadyGROWpro had the pleasure of presenting a workshop on soilless growing to an enthusiastic group of agriculture educators. The presentation covered the importance of soilless media in today’s agricultural community, and how this technology can be used in the classroom.
Between 1950 and the year 2000 all 50 of our states lost agricultural land. Also during this 50 year timeframe an astonishing 14 states lost over 50% of land suitable for farming. Urban sprawl alone accounted for the loss of 2,200,000 acres of land used for agriculture from 1992 to 2003 (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations 2011).With this loss of arable land, soilless growing has now become an integral component in today’s food production industry in our country and throughout the world.
A soilless growing media provides three main functions needed for proper plant propagation.
- A lightweight substrate that holds water and nutrients.
- Permits gas exchange to and from the roots.
- Mechanically supports the plant.
These are just the main functions of a growing media. There are other factors that must be taken into consideration such as the percentage of air porosity and water retention, PH level of the media structure, Cation Exchange Capacity, Electrical Conductivity and NPK information. The responsibility of choosing the correct growing media for soilless plant propagation is determined by the grower’s management practices. Instead of using a mixture of different media elements and soil conditioners, the use of a scientifically engineered soilless growing media allows the grower to concern themselves with the nutrient supply of their crop and not the physical characteristics of their growing media.
SteadyGROWpro has a cell structure that is uniform in its construction allowing for consistent water retention, air porosity and nutrient availability. SteadyGROWpro is PH neutral, sterile so not to attract insects and chemically inert. These properties promote a no mess, no bacteria and no insect plant propagation experience for commercial growers, indoor growers, container growers, garden enthusiasts and the students in your classroom. With different water retention and air porosity formats, SteadyGROWpro is the perfect growing media for seed germination and vegetative propagation.
Use these products in your classroom to perform comparative studies with other growing media mixtures, scientific inquires to complete grade level science standards, nutrient testing on various plant varieties, germinating seeds and vegetative propagation. Start your school garden early by propagating your vegetables indoors and then transplant them into your outdoor garden. The use of a clean, environmentally friendly soilless growing media turns your classroom into a science laboratory.
The use of steadyGROWpro and other soilless media also brings to light a new technology in growing to your students. As populations expand and our available farmable land shrinks, the use of this type of growing is critical to feeding the masses. Have your students stop in their local grocery store to tour the produce department. Ask them to take note on the number of produce items grown hydroponically or in greenhouses. This exercise will illustrate the hydroponic and soilless movement is already here.
|SteadyGROWpro is available in plugs, sheets, blocks and slabs and helps growers maximize results when growing indoor food crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, popular flowering plants, woody ornamentals, vines, ivy and more. SteadyGROWpro has been laboratory tested to produce faster seed germination, higher fruit weights and better overall fruit quality than rockwool. Visit steadyGROWpro.com for more information.