Workshop will Focus on Vegetable Transplant Production

AMES, Iowa — Home gardeners, vegetable producers and greenhouse growers are steadily increasing their use of vegetable transplants. The advantages of transplants are many — uniform growth, robust growth and healthy root system, according to Ajay Nair, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulture specialist.

“They are also generally free of pest and diseases,” Nair said. “But, production of transplants involves advance planning and optimum use of greenhouse resources.” This is critical for vegetable transplants like tomato and pepper that are in the greenhouse for six to seven weeks.

Nair is holding the Saturday, April 7, workshop, "Tips and Tricks of Vegetable Transplant Production," at Horticulture Hall on the Iowa State campus in Ames. The day-long workshop, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will focus on specific areas of transplant production — greenhouse lighting, water quality, nutrient medium, organic production and pest management.

Participants also would have an opportunity to get hands-on experience evaluating transplants grown in different growing medium and different cell sizes. One of the workshop sessions will provide information on some new medium alternatives for vegetable transplant production including dried distiller’s grain with solubles (DDGS) and biochar.

“Transplant production plays a key role in a successful vegetable production system. Growing high quality plants requires skill, proper care and knowledge of the fundamentals of plant growth,” Nair said. Workshop sessions will explain proper sanitation measures, quality seed and growing mediums, and how to manage greenhouse environments so growers can produce healthy, disease free and quality transplants that contribute towards higher yield and productivity.

Program information and registration form are available online as a PDF document at Registration before April 1 is $15; after that date registration is $20. This workshop is in partnership with Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.