In Wageningen, the first peppers are grown on a vertical farm. The purpose of the trial is to identify the opportunities and challenges of this new agricultural technique. The first peppers will be harvested from the indoor farm in April.
Vertical farms are now mainly used to soak herbs, salads, and edible flowers. The advantage: the crops need a lot less water, energy, space, and no pesticides. Now scientists at Wageningen University and Research (WUR) are conducting research into growing peppers on an indoor farm.
Differences in bell pepper varieties
Because not every bell pepper is suitable for growing on an indoor farm without daylight but with LED lighting. "That's because the breeding process is not yet so advanced," says Monique Bijlaard, involved in the research. "It is still unclear which bell pepper varieties are best suited for growing in vertical farms," says Bijlaard. And that's what the WUR scientists will be researching, among other things. They will also be looking at the differences in the bell pepper varieties themselves.
"In a fully air-conditioned environment, you can very accurately measure how much CO2 a bell pepper absorbs, for example. We also use the vertical farm for research into the crops themselves," says Bijlaard. The trial runs until the end of April when the researchers expect to harvest the first ripe peppers from the indoor farms.