Curricula and Instructional Modules for Sustainable Small-Scale Greenhouse Production

Final Report for EW09-014

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2009: $60,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Steven Newman
Colorado State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

A commercial greenhouse educational program was developed for small acreage farm and ranch. The expectation is that those owners, whom are attempting to diversify their agricultural production, will gain year-round income, profitable self-employment, and an enhanced quality of life. The primary outputs of this project include: 1. Documentation of the need and interest on a statewide and national basis for greenhouse training; 2. the delivery of completed a completed set of DVDs and curriculum to Colorado Extension offices; and 3. the availability of lecture and course materials through an online course site. A nine DVD set of video lectures was created for distribution to Colorado County offices. The DVD set includes a total of 25 lectures for a total of 16 hours and 40 minutes of materials. A CD was also created to include Powerpoint lectures, notes, and shows.

Project Objectives:

The objectives if this project included:

The creation of a series of electronic slide sets with accompanying narration.

Provide the electronic slide sets in video form, and upload to allocation that is accessible participants as well as DVDs that can be viewed on any television and DVD player.

Provide on-line training modules with static web pages, reading materials, links to online videos, and participant assessments.

Introduction:

The purpose of this Professional Development Program (PDP) was to enhance the skills and knowledge base of agriculture professionals from Colorado on commercial greenhouse production. To accomplish this goal a series of curricula, which is available to agriculture professionals and educators, was developed. The commercial greenhouse educational programs is targeted towards small acreage farm and ranch owners whom are attempting to diversify their agricultural production using sustainable greenhouse practices providing year-round income, profitable self-employment, and an enhanced quality of life.

Small-scale greenhouse production provides an opportunity for small-scale farmers and ranchers to exploit niche markets. This is especially important for those in close proximity to urban centers. This training is intended empower small-scale farm and ranch owners to be more sustainable with less reliance on off-farm income.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Brooke Edmunds

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

An electronic survey was distributed serving as a needs assessment for greenhouse training. The survey was distributed via a Colorado State University Extension Commercial Greenhouse listserv and various social media sites. The survey document can be viewed in Appendix A and the results in Appendix B.

A series of electronic slide sets were assembled into a product for distribution. The core of this product includes nine DVDs, which are designed to play on any basic DVD/TV combination. No other software is or equipment is required. These slides sets are also available online through a private YouTube account visible only to those with the appropriate URL link. The DVDs are separated into basic modules with lecture topics including:

Disc 1 – An Introduction

Lecture 1 – An Overview of the Greenhouse Industry
Lecture 2 – Locating a Greenhouse Enterprise

Disc 2 – Structures

Lecture 3 – Glass and Plastic Greenhouses
Lecture 4 – Rigid Plastic Greenhouses
Lecture 5 – Beds, Benches, and Floors

Disc 3 – Heat

Lecture 6 – Greenhouse Heating Systems
Lecture 7 – Greenhouse Fuels

Disc 4 – Cooling and Control

Lecture 8 – Greenhouse Cooling
Lecture 9 – Greenhouse Environmental Control

Disc 5 – Substrates

Lecture 10 – Root-zone Substrates I
Lecture 11 – Root-zone Substrates II
Lecture 12 – Substrate Pasteurization

Disc 6 – Nutrition

Lecture 13 – Greenhouse Plant Nutrition
Lecture 14 – Greenhouse Fertilizer Program
Lecture 15 – Greenhouse Fertilizer Injectors

Disc 7 – Water

Lecture 16 – Water in the Greenhouse
Lecture 17 – Greenhouse Irrigation
Lecture 18 – An Overview of Hydroponics

Disc 8 – Growth

Lecture 19 – Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
Lecture 20 – Greenhouse Temperature and Light
Lecture 21 – Greenhouse Crop Scheduling
Lecture 22 – Plant Growth Regulators

Disc 9 – IPM and Post-Production

Lecture 23 – Integrated Pest Management
Lecture 24 – Greenhouse Pest Disease Control
Lecture 25 – Greenhouse Crop Post Production

Disc 10 – Lecture Files, Shows and Notes

Greenhouse Management Powerpoint Lecture Files
Floriculture Crops Powerpoint Lecture Files

The DVDs were developed from live lecture capture voice narration with Powerpoint slides. Live lectures were used rather than voice narration to bring in the dynamic energy that a classroom of students provides. A total of 25 lectures were recorded for a total of 16 hours and 40 minutes of materials. The materials used to develop these slide sets included several years of classroom lectures, new and updated photography, and scanned digital images from the personal collections of 35 mm color slides and from other faculty now retired from Colorado State University

The notes for each lecture are provided in later sections in this notebook or can be accessed on Disc #10, which is a data CD that includes the Powerpoint files, shows, and notes.

Outreach and Publications

No publications have been published at the time of this report.
Outreach and distribution of these instruction modules will be made through listserv mailings, social media, and through displays at local, state and national meetings.
With additional time in place, impact evaluations will be conducted and data are to be published in appropriate refereed journals for the academic horticulture industry and online education.

Outcomes and impacts:

Extension faculty, state and federal partners, and members of the commercial greenhouse industry will gain knowledge of the sustainable practices for small-scale greenhouse production supporting local agriculture. The pre-test survey indicated that there is a demand for a training course for county extension faculty. Most of these individuals indicated that they had little or no formal training in greenhouse management. They also indicated that greenhouse construction, insect and disease management, and greenhouse vegetable production is of the most interest.

Most of those who responded to the survey overwhelmingly stated that they preferred face to face workshops; however the majority of those who responded were willing to participate in an online training program.

Extension faculty, state and federal partners, and members of the commercial greenhouse industry will have the knowledge and experience to deliver training in their counties and/or regions to those that are interested in sustainable greenhouse practices. Local small-scale greenhouse owners will have an increased awareness of sustainable greenhouse practices.

The primary outputs of this project include:

1. Documentation of the need and interest on a statewide and national basis for greenhouse training.

2. The delivery of completed a completed set of DVDs and curriculum to Colorado Extension offices.

3. The availability of lecture and course materials through an online course site.

Impacts of this work have not been fully evaluated completely at the time of this report.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

Funding for this project provided for the following accomplishments:

  1. A nine DVD set of video lectures was created for distribution to Colorado County offices. The DVD set includes a total of 25 lectures for a total of 16 hours and 40 minutes of materials. A CD was also created to include Powerpoint lectures, notes, and shows.
    A complete set of the DVDs and accompanying notebook has been sent to each Colorado County with an Extension office. Extra copies have been distributed to others upon request. These have been distributed to campus specialists, regional specialists, and agents requesting a personal copy.
    All 25 lectures have been uploaded to an online video site (YouTube) available to those with the link as provided within the online instruction site.
    An online instruction site has been created through eXtension. This site provides instructional materials and links to the online videos.
    The principal investigator’s personal 35 mm slide collection and those of Colorado State University floriculture faculty now retired, which illustrates greenhouse and ornamental nursery production spanning 25 years, were digitized.
    The complete works of Colorado State University Extension and Experiment Station faculty specializing in greenhouse and floriculture technologies and production from 1949 through 1980 were scanned and digitized for distribution.

Introduction

Lecture 1 – An Overview of the Greenhouse Industry – http://youtu.be/_YupqJPzi2Q
Lecture 2 – Locating a Greenhouse Enterprise – http://youtu.be/N1GBl7F7Dco

Structures

Lecture 3 – Glass and Plastic Greenhouses – http://youtu.be/oQb4VJJ1HIs
Lecture 4 – Rigid Plastic Greenhouses – http://youtu.be/7AGDXqGflno
Lecture 5 – Beds, Benches, and Floors – http://youtu.be/EG_uuu7gwo4

Heat

Lecture 6 – Greenhouse Heating Systems – http://youtu.be/cxCFwv9w_bs
Lecture 7 – Greenhouse Fuels – http://youtu.be/jcl9b3k_LD8

Cooling and Control

Lecture 8 – Greenhouse Cooling http://youtu.be/knP92HE8rPE
Lecture 9 – Greenhouse Environmental Control – http://youtu.be/HcG42qmYaU0

Substrates

Lecture 10 – Root-zone Substrates I – http://youtu.be/ja8ytrB2zVU
Lecture 11 – Root-zone Substrates II – http://youtu.be/AK2eIt1J5ec
Lecture 12 – Substrate Pasteurization – http://youtu.be/jKiW3437oXU

Nutrition

Lecture 13 – Greenhouse Plant Nutrition – http://youtu.be/Kn9et4XR27I
Lecture 14 – Greenhouse Fertilizer Program – http://youtu.be/80nEnmMl4S8
Lecture 15 – Greenhouse Fertilizer Injectors – http://youtu.be/4Y_xnWoQlx8

Water

Lecture 16 – Water in the Greenhouse – http://youtu.be/xsUmz_E4bxA
Lecture 17 – Greenhouse Irrigation – http://youtu.be/Yt1K4PkB2Nw
Lecture 18 – An Overview of Hydroponics – http://youtu.be/n266-zu0Muc

Growth

Lecture 19 – Carbon Dioxide Enrichment – http://youtu.be/SucF1fdxCqI
Lecture 20 – Greenhouse Temperature and Light – http://youtu.be/AHwhkPuGaa0
Lecture 21 – Greenhouse Crop Scheduling – http://youtu.be/36qIVNtDDqk
Lecture 22 – Plant Growth Regulators – http://youtu.be/vz6c4GOMZUc

IPM and Post-Production

Lecture 23 – Integrated Pest Management – http://youtu.be/Yynrq9SBc7E
Lecture 24 – Greenhouse Pest Disease Control – http://youtu.be/uk0n2EHTOCc
Lecture 25 – Greenhouse Crop Post Production – http://youtu.be/HrfcpBzRpPI

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

This commercial greenhouse educational program will empower small acreage farm and ranch owners to build and operate small-scale greenhouses using sustainable practices. The expectation is that those owners, whom are attempting to diversify their agricultural production, will gain year-round income, profitable self-employment, and an enhanced quality of life. It is anticipated that the success of an educational program on sustainable small-scale greenhouse production will provide future stimuli for participation and integration of sustainable farming practices in other agricultural systems.

Future Recommendations

This work was funded through the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program. The original goal of this project was to create an online training site for Extension faculty and staff to gain access to greenhouse educational materials not otherwise available. This project capitalized on the experience and materials collected over more than 25 years by the principal investigator.

However, it must be noted that the efforts of this project were never intended to become static, but ever evolving. The greenhouse industry and the western agriculture are constantly changing and it is the intent of the principal investigator to continue this project using the materials and supplies developed and acquired through this funding. Future projects in other areas specific to local agriculture can use the methods developed in this work to enhance other programs.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.