In 1990 grower Ron Goldman, owner of Home Grown Hydro Farms in Woodland Washington started a 5000 sf greenhouse to grow hydroponic vegetables. In three years, he expanded the original operation to 43,000 square feet. As the years rolled by, markets and demand began to change and he started downsizing, finding his niche with a single 3300 sf greenhouse growing unique varieties of vegetables to satisfy the demand for tasty produce. He’s found that this greenhouse provides a living for himself and his family, with him acting in all capacities from janitor, to propagator, farm worker to marketer.
With 25 years of farming experience, many varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs have had a place in his greenhouse but Ron has settled on certain strains that he says balance the demands for taste, the need for shelf life, and yields that allow a profit.
I have grown hundreds of varieties over the years. It becomes a real
balancing act between yield, shelf life, and flavor. Most commercial
varieties have better yield and shelf life but no taste. Most older and
heirloom varieties have great flavor but low yield and little to no shelf
life. Being that I deliver to stores, restaurants and sell at a farmers
market, I have to find varieties that provide enough yield to make a profit,
have a decent enough shelf life to handle the abuse they take from
customers, and most importantly, taste better than other commercially
Some of his favorite tomato varieties that make the cut include SunGold, Temptation,
Beorange, Tomimarumuchoo, Copia, and Cherokee Purple.
English Cucumbers are another crop popular with Ron’s customers and his greenhouse allows him to grow thousands of pounds per year. With 3300 sf of space, it’s important to maximize. No space goes unused at Home Grown Hydro. You can see basil growing next to the cucumbers on the edge of the greenhouse in the picture above. He grows herbs and greens in several vertical rows along the walls of his greenhouse.
Marketing the mounds of produce he grows, involves participation at local farmers markets and he has regular restaurant and market accounts as well. In the past his farm has also produced value added products like fresh salsa, but at this point in the farm’s evolution, he concentrates 100% on growing value added produce: produce that because of it’s taste, and variety can be sold for more. He doesn’t even attempt to compete with large growers of mass produced vegetables. He knows his product is fresh, healthy and tastes great.
Coir is the substrate of choice at this successful hydro farm. For years Ron grew on rockwool slabs but when he discovered coir, he became an instant disciple.
Coir is definitely the best growing medium I have ever used and I have grown plants in pretty much every type of medium there is. My commercial tomato and English cucumber production has increased since switching to coir from rockwool over 10 years ago and I can donate my used slabs to other outdoor farmers and gardening clubs when I am finished with them.
From years of experience, Ron has developed his own nutrient blends that he’s proven work well with the crops he grows and his drip fertigation system. Fertigation is a way of combining nutrients with drip irrigation.. thus “fertigation”. He started sharing his blends with a few farmer friends who also found it effective and encouraged him to “bottle it!” Apparently the fertilizer blend he uses in his His EZ-Grow and EZ- Bloom formulas have all the primary, secondary and micro elements needed to grow like a pro: prolifically. He’s hoping that his 100% water soluble growing formulas may add to the bottom line and give his customers satisfaction of growing with a professionally proven mix. EZ Grow and EZ Bloom are now available for purchase by anyone who wants a proven growing nutrient solution that brings results.
Home Grown Hydro Farm provides fresh produce in Washington for 9 months out of the year, serving it’s clients only the best in farm to table hydroponic produce and providing a living for Ron Goldman and his family with a greenhouse of less than one acre. Another successful example of a pioneer who started farming for the future 25 years ago and proved it works.