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March 2014

Spring Exchange Visit with Wade Smith

 

On March 11, Wade Smith, a local grower and Greenhouse Management instructor at Owens Community College (OCC), toured the Greenhouse Production Research Group (GPRG) laboratory and greenhouse with his class.  The Greenhouse Management class aims to provide students with an understanding of business management, greenhouse systems, and all facets of crop production.   In addition, the class utilizes the GPRG decision support software Virtual Grower as a management tool for class assignments.  Dr. Locke, Dr. Boldt, and other members of the GPRG team informed the students of how the GPRG was started and the role we serve with local growers, demonstrated different equipment used in the laboratory, introduced them to the process of digesting plant samples and using Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) spectrometry for elemental analysis, and described past and present research studies. 

In return, on March 26 the GPRG group visited Mr. Smith's greenhouse, which specializes in tomato production. His method of production meets the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) standards and he aims to provide a natural, high quality fruit to the market.  Mr. Smith uses supplemental high-pressure sodium (HPS) and LED lights in his 4000 ft2 greenhouse, maintains a colony of bees to assist in pollination, continues to modify his fertigation system, and is innovative in coming up with new ways to produce his crops more efficiently and economically. 

The OCC group with USDA-ARS scientists in the Wolfe Hall greenhouse.

   

GPRG staff listen to the history and progress of Mr. Smith's tomato production.  Mr. Smith had GPRG staff compare two varieties of tomatoes.

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