Free grower workshops

The final series of free grower workshops for greenhouse and hydroponic vegetable growers have been set down for 14 and 15 September 2010 at Tahmoor, Riverstone and Kemps Creek, NSW.

These national workshops aim to provide growers with the skills to convert their current open systems (free drainage) to fully closed (recycled). The skills gained would deliver to greenhouse growers a saving of around $12,000 annually for a typical 4,000m2 system (i.e. $3,000 water and $12,000 fertiliser).

This project has received continuing excellent reviews from the completed workshops in Victoria, Tasmania, Coffs Harbour, Western Australia and Queensland. Most participants were surprised at the amount of extra greenhouse technical growing information supplied at these workshops, more than what they were expecting, and all felt that they would be able to implement this advice very easily into their own systems.

The free grower workshops consist of the following elements:
1. Hydroponic nutrient feed recipes for all identified vegetable crops
2. Recipes to cover the changing physiological stages for each crop
3. Root-zone nutrition targets for each vegetable crop
4. Adaption recipes to balance and control root-zone nutrition
5. Interpretation of laboratory drain analysis results
6. How to convert from open to closed systems by capture of drain water and reuse
7. Plant nutrition and nutrient management
8. Drain and freshwater sterilisation options and assessment (investment and annual running costs)
9. Demonstration of recycling equipment (blend valves and controllers)
10. Workbook and CD ROM containing automatic greenhouse nutrition software program.

This project has the capacity to save the protected cropping industry around $25 million annually and divert approx 5 gigalitres of water potentially impacting on the natural environment.

There is still an opportunity to attend the workshops in NSW. For further information contact Ross Wade (Horticulture Centre, GOTafe, Shepparton) on , or email rwade@gotafe.vic.edu.au

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