Producing the perennial vine Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait in greenhouses with hydroponic and possibly aquaponics production schemes we can enhance production strategies that are utilized. Moving this crop into the greenhouse allows growers to avoid management strategies that are
harmful to the vines and other ecosystems. Winter flooding actually damages the plant and forces it to spend time in the spring to recover. This causes a reduction in yield from year to year; however, it is usually not noted since this practice is common among growers today and has been over the past 100 years. Moving the crop into greenhouses allows a grower to have control on the environment making this crop easier to grow. Within a controlled environment the plant can get sufficient chilling hours while being kept above damaging temperature levels. Introducing hydroponic growing systems into the production scheme allows grower to have access to the large amount of water needed for production without drawing on public sources. The chemicals that are needed to control pest and pathogen pressures will then not be released into the aquatic ecosystem like they are today. This allows growers to use management practices that they feel comfortable with while being environmentally responsible. One of the largest issues within agriculture is the leaching of chemicals and/or nutrients that are creating harmful effects in other ecosystems. This issue is avoided with most hydroponic systems and is the future for some crop production. Vaccinium macrocarpon is an especially great candidate for such production since the water requirements are extremely high for the production of this crop. Efforts are needed from all avenues of plant production in order to put this plan into action. Breeders need to be actively working towards a vigorously producing vine. Further research is needed to create such a system that can be mechanized to drop the hydroponic set-up below the water level. People who have capital are needed to start the production of vines in such a manner. Engineers, breeders, researchers, and producers all have to come together to make this work.
Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.: Where they have been and where they are going.
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