Hydroponic Lettuce

Hydroponic farming provides fresh produce year-round

We began growing hydroponic produce in a greenhouse on our farm in southern Illinois in 2015. Lettuce is our main crop, but we also grow other leafy greens, including kale, collards, and spinach, as well as sweet basil.

Hydroponics, simply defined, is the growing of plants without soil in a water and fertilizer solution containing the necessary nutrients for plant growth. It is not a new science. Work in this area was being done by researchers as early as the 1600’s. In the early 1930’s, W.F. Gericke, of the University of California, did laboratory experiments in plant nutrition for the commercial scale. The word “hydroponics” was derived from two Greek words, “hydra“, meaning water and “ponos“, meaning labor, or literally, water working.

With the development of plastics, hydroponics took a large step forward and is now a widely accepted method of producing certain specialty crops such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and peppers. Other crops that can be grown by this method include herbs, foliage plants and flowers.

Why Hydroponics

Hydroponic farming offers a number of benefits to farmers and local consumers:

  • Superior taste, quality, appearance, uniformity and extended shelf life of vegetables
  • Less water and less fertilizer are needed compared to outdoor farming
  • Pests are easier to manage with biological controls, such as beneficial insects, reducing the need for pesticides
  • Plant nutrition is easily controlled within the nutrient tanks to provide a high level of nutrition
  • No weeds, no cultivation, no soil-borne diseases or insects
  • Higher yields in a shorter period of time
  • Controlled environment allows harvest of fresh, local vegetables year-round

Why we love providing for our local community

Local fruits and vegetables are fresh and high quality because they are usually sold to the consumer within hours of being picked. Here in Illinois’ climate, you’d be hard-pressed to find fresh, quality vegetables in December. Growing vegetables indoors extends our growing season so we can provide fresh produce for our community year-round!

Hydroponic vegetables can also be more nutritious than what you would find at a grocer because they are fed optimal nutrition, whereas some soil used for crop production may be deficient in certain nutrients that the plant may need. Healthier plants mean healthier foods for us.

To learn more about our farm and where you can buy our products, visit our website here: https://www.joylaneproduce.com/

Andrew and Heather Spray


About Andrew and Heather

We decided to build a hydroponic greenhouse to grow fresh, high quality produce for our local food market.

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