Vertical growing of leafy greens "the best way forward", says supplier

A new modular vertical growing format could give growers 2.5 times the yield of leafy green crops compared to conventional growing, its supplier claims.

Image: Saturn Bioponics
Image: Saturn Bioponics

Developed with support from the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) and Lancaster University and University of Manchester, the Saturn Bioponics system holds plugs in hydroponic substrate which is irrigated automatically with any excess water being recirculated.

Saturn Bioponics managing director Alex Fisher said: "We have already seen yields increase by 2.5 times and these are set to improve further. Moreover, the system also helps producers make water and nutrient savings alongside significant reductions in use of fungicides."

The system optimises daylight use while minimising operating costs, he added. "There are no mechanical moving parts that need energy to run, and labour costs are minimal as we have ensured that planting and picking is clean, quick and easy."

It can be installed in new or existing polytunnels, glasshouses and other covered areas, to a height and planting density of the grower's choice.

A number of commercial growers and processors have already successfully trialled the system, Fisher said. "They understand that making use of the vertical space available for growing is the best way forward for our industry."

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