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Intensifying Cut Salad Production With A Novel Vertical Growing System (TSB)

Project: Research


Lettuce plants were grown in a novel, columnar vertical growing system (Saturn Bioponics Saturn Grower® system) to determine the indluence of environmental factors on crop productivity. Initially, plants were grown in perlite supplemented with two different nutrient solutions. Supplemental calcium nitrate and epsom salts applied at hearting stage boosted yield by 13% compared to plants grown with a "complete" commercially available nutrient solution. Preliminary experiments with a vertical aeroponics (growing the plants with their roots suspended in air) system revealed a 20% increase in growth compared to conventional perlite-based fertigation. Shoot fresh weight decreased as light intensity declined from top to base of the vertical columns, despite the addition of reflective material on the walls of a controlled environment room to increase diffuse lighting. Further experiments have demonstarted that supplementary lighting at the base of the colum.n further increased productivity. Plant growth was compared in a horizontal and vertical growing system where plants had the same access to water and nutrients. The vertical growing system produced 72% more cut salad per unit floor area compared to the horizontal growth system, while consuming 42% less water; indicating improve land use and water use efficiency
Effective start/end date1/04/1230/09/12


  • Technology Strategy Board: £4,820.00