Horticulture and Crop Science Department
BS in Environmental Horticultural Science
Commercial hydroponic vegetable production is on the rise all over the world, especially in regions where people are increasingly health conscientious, yields and quality are important, or traditional farming is impossible as in regions with non-arable lands. Hydroponics is a powerful tool for vegetable production; however, it does have technological challenges and cost barriers. This project explored the practicality of designing, installing, and maintaining a commercial hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique lettuce production system under greenhouse environmental growing conditions. A medium scale system was designed and installed in a greenhouse and then the growth stages and the scheduling of lettuce for commercial production was practiced and studied. Lettuce grows rapidly from eight to 13 weeks and is suitable for quick harvest times in a hydroponic NFT system. The scale of the NFT system used to produce lettuce will depend on the customer base for any particular grower. Whether producing lettuce on a small scale or large scale, the proper cultural conditions such as light, nutrition, and temperatures need to be met in order to grow healthy and good quality plants. When considering commercial production, always consider customer base and proximity with regards to transport of the finished product.