The Ohio State University’s 2019 Greenhouse Management Workshop, set for Jan. 17-18 in Wooster, will dig all around a plant’s roots. The theme is “Root Zone Optimization.”
Peter Ling, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said this year’s program is unique because it will focus exclusively on the root zone.
Ling has organized the annual workshop, which is designed for commercial growers from Ohio and beyond, for each of its now 21 years.
Chieri Kubota, professor in Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said root zone optimization means surrounding a plant’s roots with the best possible chemical, physical and biological conditions — the ideal nutrients, moisture and more.
Doing so, she said, helps plants grow faster and tolerate pests and diseases better, which for a greenhouse grower can translate into lower costs, higher yields and greater income.
Since greenhouse growers typically grow their plants in small containers, troughs or water culture (hydroponics), “managing the root zone is essential,” Kubota said.
If plants aren’t getting what they need, she said, “they can’t move like we do.”
Food crops and ornamentals
The workshop will have 16 technical talks in all, grouped into general sessions on fundamentals and biostimulants and concurrent sessions on container culture of ornamentals and hydroponic and soil-less culture of food crops.
Lettuce, basil and high-wire crops such as cucumbers will be among the food crops covered.
Topics will also include composts, substrates, nutrition, fertigation and beneficial microbes, to name a few.