hydroponicsHydroponics is a growing area of agriculture that uses mineral nutrient solutions in a soilless system to grow plants. Rosa researches chemistry and water clogging of hydroponics in her greenhouse. “With the CARE project, a set of growers in Connecticut have problems with low quality water clogging systems,” Extension educator Rosa Raudales mentions. “Samples are being collected to see if we can find the parameters causing clogging.” Research being done will determine if the same water can be used without clogging the irrigation system. Growers in Maine, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut are being surveyed for the project. Hydroponics usually starts with really clean water, and tying back to her other projects, Rosa hypothesizes that when using reclaimed water; there will be potential clogging challenges which tends to be a costly problem to farmers. Another project researches using bio-controls in hydroponic systems to make water less conducive for pathogens, while increasing beneficial microbes in the water. Rosa is looking at adjustments to nutrients and temperature that will make the water less conducive to pathogens. This joint project with Dr. Wade Elmer at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is funded through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.