With so many different factors involved in any growth process, monitoring plant growth and recording outcomes are essential for improving future yield.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to consider when undertaking a scientific cultivation system.
1. The growth substrate
Hydroponics or soil? Clay balls or pebbles? To get optimum results, we have to consider the space available, the type of crop we want to cultivate and the resources available to us. Hydroponic systems generally require less room than soil systems but may need some way to regulate humidity. Some plants may prefer soil over hydroponics, some may need more or less drainage. Fertiliser and nutrient mixtures must also be carefully considered. It pays to do some research into each option in the context of your target crop.
2. Crop housing
Once you’ve decided on the growth substrate the next step is to prepare the environment where the plants will grow. Calculate how many plants will be able to grow in the space, as well as which variety of crop you want to grow. Your choice of plants will be influenced by the quality of the ventilation in the room, the amount of natural or artificial light the room receives, and the temperature in the room on an average day.
You may need to build or acquire growth trays, lighting fixtures and other systems for your desired yield.
Ensuring proper ventilation is crucial to managing carbon dioxide, oxygen and humidity levels, as well as playing a part in temperature regulation.
Ventilation is also important for pest control and keeping your plants safe from mould. The lighting and equipment you use will also generate heat, so it is important to factor that into your ventilation requirements as well.
High-pressure sodium, LED and fluorescent lights are three of the most popular types of crop lighting. High-pressure sodium and LED lights often have built-in fans to manage their thermal output. Some research may be needed to determine exactly what kind of lights would have the biggest positive impact on your crop. Factoring in your budget and scale of cultivation will also be major considerations. Don’t forget to consider additional cooling equipment like fans that may be needed to keep the temperature comfortable for your plants.
It is always a good idea to seek the advice of experienced growers and scientifically trained horticulturists when planning your set up to ensure you get the best yield for your investment and your crop grows to be productive, healthy and sustainable.