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Lesson Ten

The Business of Hydroponics 10-2

The productivity of commercial systems has improved greatly and the cost has dropped in the 
past few years. Commercial tomato growers who once hoped to annually pick 20 pounds per 
plant are now picking as much as 35- 40 pounds per plant annually. The cost of establishing a 
commercial hydroponic greenhouse operation is quite reasonable when considering the poten- 
tial profits.

With proper training, hard work and good business sense, a grower can make their hydroponic 
greenhouse business a profitable venture.

The Daily Operation of a Hydroponic Greenhouse

On a day-to-day basis, most commercial hydroponic growers do testing and monitoring similar 
to what you have done in your hydroponic garden in the classroom. The pH and nutrient con- 
centrations of the feed solution and that of the reservoir need to be tested and the temperature 
and humidity levels monitored.

An efficient grower will record all of this information. This
data is helpful when assessing the overall health of the crop, di-
agnosing problems and ascertaining what factors may have posi-
tively or negatively affected their crop.

A grower must also ensure that the plants are getting fed prop-
erly and on time. Depending on the stage of growth of the crop 
and the amount of light available, a grower alters the concentra-
tion of the feed solution.


Hygrometer and thermometer for monitoring temperature and humidity

The most important job of a commercial grower is to be obser-
vant, meticulous and organized. When a grower is in the greenhouse, they must closely look at 
the plants to see if there are any changes, pests or disease that could threaten their crop. Daily 
observation is crucial in the prevention of large problems in the greenhouse.

Plant Culturing
 
In addition to the daily monitoring of a crop, there are many culturing chores that a grower per- 
forms to ensure the highest quality fruit and the highest quantity harvest. With along term 
fruiting crop, such as tomatoes or cucumbers, there is more daily culturing chores than with a 
short term crop, such as lettuce. With a lettuce operation, more emphasis is placed on continu- 
ous seeding and harvesting of the crop rather than plant culturing.

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