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Hydroponic Education in Southeast Missouri

Extension Education

Donna Aufdenberg
Field Specialist in HORTICULTURE
Cape Girardeau County


Hydroponic growing methods can be a sustainable alternative over traditional growing methods of specialty horticultural crops.  The purpose of this educational programming was to educate students, hobbyists, secondary education ag teachers, and growers about sustainable hydroponic farming through a combination of lecture, demonstration, printed guide sheets, recorded video interviews, and hands-on activities. During 2022, there were 23 events that took place with various topics related to hydroponic production.  These included introduction to hydroponic crop production focusing on different types of hydroponic systems, growing, and managing hydroponics crops, understanding pH and EC in nutrient solutions, monitoring and managing diseases, pests and environmental stresses, and career opportunities in hydroponics. In addition to the educational events, numerous PowerPoint presentations, resource guides, schematic drawings and a video was created aide participants with hydroponic growing. In schools, 54 students gained experience operating and growing in three different hydroponic units (NFT, Dutch bucket, deep water culture and aeroponics). They grew lettuce, kale, basil and tomatoes through a crop cycle. At one-day events, 396 students learned about hydroponics and watched demonstrations. During workshops, 127 adult learners experienced active hydroponic systems and through lecture and hand-on experiences, learned how to operate the systems. In the evaluations, all participants indicated a knowledge increase. All participants reported an increase in knowledge of hydroponics. All three teachers in the schools continued to teach hydroponics after the program sessions ended. Four students pursued horticulture in college and are considering hydroponics. 37 students tried hydroponics at home after the programs. Four of the high school purchased hydroponic supplies online before the one of the educational events was over.


Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: Donna Aufdenberg, Juan Cabrera-Garcia
  1. Aufdenberg, D. Field Specialist in HORTICULTURE, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri, 63755
  2. Cabrera-Garcia, J. Horticulture State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri, 65211