118 The Effect of Hydroponics on the Yield and Quality of Sweet Basil

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

Environmental conditions are known to affect the growth and quality of culinary and medicinal herbs. Hydroponic growing conditions often produces greater yields for many leafy crops compared to growth in more-traditional media. The objective of this investigation was to compare the yield and quality of sweet basil grown in continuous flow solution culture or well-irrigated Universal Mix. Sweet basil plants were germinated under mist and then transplanted to a continous-flow hydroponics system or to 6-inch pots containing Universal Mix. Rows of pots alternated with a row of hydroponic plants in a temperature-controlled greenhouse. Temperatures were maintained between 20 and 25 °C, the relative humidity was not controlled, pot-grown plants were irrigated as needed. HID lights added sublimentry irradiation and maintained a photoperiod of 18 h. Cohorts of plants were harvested at five time points between transplanting and maturity. Plants were divided into leaves, stems, and roots, dried, and the data subjected to mathmatical growth analysis. Several leaves from each plant were harvested and analyzed by gas chromotograpth for essential oils. Plants grown in hyroponics grew faster and produced more harvestable leaf material than the media-grown plants. Details of the plant growth analysis and the essential oil composition will be presented.

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