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Greenhouse Soils and Soilless Culture - Soils and Soil Supplements - Lecture Slides - Document's extract

Slides, Biology

Post: January 17th, 2013
Extract
Unit 17: Greenhouse Soils & Soilless Culture

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Objectives
• • • • • Challenges & rewards of greenhouse plants Materials used for rooting media Formulating & pasteurizing rooting media Timing & methods of watering Fertilizers & amendments common in greenhouse cultures

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Introduction
• Horticulture vastly growing industry • Great reliance on container-growth plants • Ability to start/grow plants in favorable conditions • Match plant preferences to potting media • Greater ability to manipulate climate, fertility, water etc.

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Root Media
 Soilless culture can yield much higher per acre than soil culture –not realistic
 Expensive  Difficult to manage  More consistent aeration, water retention     Stable organic matter or low C:N Water retention w/ adequate aeration Moderate/high CEC Suitable pH
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 Important Properties of Root Media

Root Media
• Stable organic matter
– Moderately decomposed – don’t want it to shrink too much decreasing aeration

• Greenhouse media tends has little natural fertility, needs ability to retain nutrients • Components of Root Media Mixes
– Peat moss
• Decompose slowly • High water-holding capacity • Can be acidic

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Root Media
– Bark
• Can replace peat moss • Less expensive • Should be composted

– Sawdust, straw, manures
• Sawdust & straw should be composted 1-2 mos. • Manures
– Used little due to ammonium toxicity – Can be good in certain situations

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Root Media
▪ Vermiculite
▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ Silicate material High water holding capacity Great aeration High CEC, w/ some K, Ca, Mg

▪ Sand

▪ Best drainage & aeration ▪ No CEC or nutrient availability ▪ May work for starting plants ▪ Heated volcanic rock ▪ Sterile & inert ▪ Good substitute for sand

▪ Perlite

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Root Media Mixes
 Soil-Based Root Media
 1/3 sand, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 soil  Keep clay
content low  Can make at home/lab w/ ability to sterilize soil  Materials to use
▪ Vermiculite, organic matter, sand, perlite, sphagnum peat moss ▪ Can mix yourself, or buy premixed

 Soilless Root Media

 Pay close attention to fertility management
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Pasteurization of Media
 Pasteurization controls  Steam pasteurization
 Weed seeds, pathogens, insects, nematodes  Most used  Pump steam through soil mixture to kill most pathogens  Cheaper  Must allow to aerate after treatment  Chemicals are nasty to handle
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 Chemical pasteurization

Pasteurization of Media
– Methyl bromide
• Severely injurious to humans • Can be damaging to some plants

– Chloropicrin (tear gas)
• Can’t use where plants are growing

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Watering
• Incorrect watering most frequent cause of reduced crop quality or failure • Watering Guides
– Use well drained rooting medium – Wet entire root media w/ each watering (till it drips)
• Leaching can then remove excess soluble salts • All root area is wet

– Wet before dry stress occurs
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Watering
 Watering Systems
 Hand
▪ Frequency often questionable ▪ Quantity inconsistent ▪ Plant damage

 Automated
▪ Sprinklers, drip, microirrigation, water tables & capillary action ▪ More consistent timing, and amount ▪ Must have good equipment, proper air flow, humidity control
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Fertilizing
• Plant Nutrients
– Vary w/ rooting media & crop – May need to pay close attention to micronutrients
• May are available as mixtures or can be incorporated into irrigation

• Slow-Release Fertilizers
– Release over first 3-4 mos
• Some may be 6-15 mos

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Soil & Tissue Testing
• Many greenhouse production problems related to soil fertility • Can sample root media (every 3 mos) • Tissue sampling can be done to troubleshoot a problem
– May be critical in large greenhouse production operations w/ high value
crops

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Hydroponics: Solution Culture
• All nutrients must be supplied in solution
– Can control fertility very specifically – Takes specific equipment for metering

• Plant support
– Fixed above, or floating – Keep aeration in water, or w/ wool, perlite, sand
• Used commonly in research on roots to keep soil out of way

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Hydroponics: Solution Culture
• Root Aeration & Darkness
– Bubble air – Baffles in water flow – Keep root system in dark
• Inhibits algae growth

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Assignment

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