What is always very important in both vegetable and ornamental cultivation is the quality of the irrigation water. Obviously, water quality also largely determines the health of the plants and, thus, the quality of the end product. This applies to all methods of cultivation, whether it is soil-based cultivation or substrate cultivation. But when using a cultivation system on water, known as hydroponics, water quality is one of the most important aspects.
In hydroponics, hardly any soil or substrate is used. At most, a small form of the substrate to give the seeds or young plants some grip during the start of cultivation, such as a plug. Crops whose roots can handle frequent contact with large amounts of water are suitable for hydroponic cultivation. The nutrients the plants need are given along with the irrigation water and, as with all plants, absorbed through the roots.
How do you keep a hydroponics system clean?
As with soil-based or substrate cultivation, hydroponics requires a clean base. But how do you make sure the water system stays free of diseases and pests? One solution that has been widely marketed recently is increasing the amount of oxygen in the cultivation water. With increased oxygen levels in the water, plant-positive organisms can be stimulated, while plant-negative organisms are affected.
Testing in the Certhon Innovation Centre
"There are several devices on the market for increasing oxygen levels in the water," explains the Certhon team. "Our suppliers sell these products. It is important for us, as Certhon, to bring practical knowledge to the surface so that growers can start using these devices responsibly. To do this, we must first understand how the systems work, what the possibilities are, and where the limits lie. Hence we are conducting internal research into the use of oxygen in hydroponic cultivation systems."
To what extent does the oxygen added in the silo actually reach the lettuce plant in the gutter? And what are the effects of high oxygen levels in the water? "We test this and more with experiments within our Certhon Innovation Centre on various cultivation systems. After all, we want to know exactly what the effects of added oxygen in the water are, to make it transparent to both us and our customers."