Real-time environmental monitoring has multiple benefits

With real-time environmental monitoring, Jan VanderHout says no chemical controls have been used since opening the propagation facility two years ago. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

When Beverly Greenhouses built their two-acre propagation facility two years ago near Dundas, Ontario it wasn’t long until Grodan GroSens monitors were installed in the stone wool slabs. The wireless device logs data every three minutes for water content (WC), electrical conductivity (EC) and temperature in the substrate. What happens in the wool substrate impacts the functioning of the root zone. 
  

“It was a turning point for us in understanding the exponential growth of seedlings,” says Jan VanderHout. “The needs for water are immense, especially in the last week before transplanting.” 
    

The collected data is critical in adjusting inputs for the fast-growing cucumber plants, especially since the greenhouse is built on cascading floors. The floor is not flooded but must be managed for a precise amount of water to reach the root zone. In winter, it’s easy to overwater. Too wet conditions invite diseases such as Pythium. 
    

Grodan, the monitor manufacturer, has introduced a web-based application which allows the operator’s smartphone to be connected to the farm’s servers. On-site or off-farm, the operator can check real-time conditions in the propagation greenhouse.
    

“It’s technology like this that has allowed us to control and adjust the environmental conditions within our propagation greenhouse,” says VanderHout. “We have total control over our pest control program for thrips, white flies and spider mites. We have not had to use any chemical controls since our propagation greenhouse opened two years ago.” 

 

If latest news: 
Check if it is latest news (for "Latest News" page)
Publish date: 
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Click to leave a comment

CAPTCHA
For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!

RELATED NEWS

On top of the latest labour-saving equipment

Carrot, parsnip and onion grower Doug Van Luyk is one of those in the Holland Marsh who has expanded to 500 acres in both muck and mineral soils with the help of labour-saving technology. Here, his son Bradley stands on top of a self-propelled, two-row carrot harvester near Newmarket, Ontario. Photo by Glenn Lowson.

Spearheading change with asparagus allies

For the last two years, Rebecca Compton has chaired the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario through a challenging marketing period. While managing 60 acres and an on-farm retail outlet, Big Red Barn near Delhi, Ontario, she encourages her young children – Sable and Anson – to be at home in the field.

Breeding local apples for multiple micro-climates

Many apple growers are converting to high-density orchards with top-selling consumer favourites:  Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Gala. The search for new varieties is arduous as Cathy McKay, vice-chair of the Ontario Apple Growers, attests. She’s been one of the champions of a new Canadian Apple Breeding Consortium.

Cannabis clouds competitiveness of greenhouse vegetable sector

Canada’s greenhouse vegetable sector is feeling the heat from energy prices to carbon taxes to cannabis conversions. But Duffy Kniaziew, owner, Orangeline Farms, is sticking with what he knows: peppers.

Seasonal workers a win-win, says apple producer

In the Canadian Horticultural Council’s latest video, British Columbia apple grower Nirwal Dhaliwal talks about the importance of international workers, both to running his operation, and personally, as friends and neighbours.