THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLOSED GROWING SYSTEMS IN THE NETHERLANDS AS A MEANS TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

in HortScience
Author: W. Voogt1
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  • 1 Glasshouse Crops Research Station, 2670 AA, Naaldwijk, The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, many crops in protected cultivation changed from soil to soilless culture in recent years. The reasons for this development were problems with soil sterilization and better growth control with soilless culture, which led to considerable yield increases. However, the growing systems used, with free leachate drainage, contribute highly to pollution of the ground and surface water with minerals (N and P). To reduce this emission, closed growing systems were developed, i.e., systems with recirculating nutrient solutions. Inherent to these systems, however, were problems such as the rapid spread of pathogens in the root environment. Methods were developed for disinfestation of the nutrient solution. Salt accumulation was also a concern, the concentrations of ions in the water used for closed systems must be lower than the uptake capacity of the plants. To avoid depletion and accumulation of certain nutrients. the addition of nutrients should be adapted to the demand during the cropping period. For this purpose, nutrient solutions and guidelines for adjustments during the cropping period were developed for several crops.

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