rise of the hydroponic lettuce

In Vietnam, the switch to growing hydroponic lettuce is a big topic at the moment. “We see an increase in hydroponic lettuce cultivation already. This is due to high interest from the consumer for safely grown product. We expect the growth of lettuce on water to continue over the next couple of years, like it has already happened in Thailand and Malaysia”, says Jean-Marie. The current acreage of hydroponic lettuce cultivation may be only around 30 to 40 hectares, but he expects this to multiply over the next years.

For the growers though even with hydroponic cultivation, finding the connection to the market and the consumer still is difficult. Therefore the greenhouse growers try to differentiate their products from the open field vegetables. “For example, when they grow lettuce hydroponically, they intend to keep the roots when they sell it, to show they grow it in the water, an innovative way with less spraying. Some growers also try to cut the steps to the wholesale market to connect more directly from grower to end users. And with Rijk Zwaan, we also inform the supermarkets and consumers by giving demonstrations on NFT cultivation. That way we show them what hydroponics is and what the benefits are for the end product.”

Semi- Commercial Hydroponic Systems to grow your lettuce

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Rijk Zwaan Hydroponic Seed

Rijk Zwaan has been working on varieties that are suitable for growing in water for many years. In this time, they have developed a wide range of leafy vegetables that are specifically suitable for hydroponic production methods. Worldwide, hydroponic production of crops such as lettuce is becoming increasingly popular.

Suitable for hydroponic production

When developing varieties that can be grown in water, Rijk Zwaan pays attention to aspects such as fast and compact growth, lack of delicate leaf edges, good colour intensity in the case of red varieties, a healthy and uniform crop, and ease of processing and packaging. Bremia is not such a problem in hydroponic production, but aphids can be a problem which is why most varieties have resistance to aphids.

Extremely clean, fresh and stable

The high-tech water-based growing systems make it possible to produce lettuce without using crop protection agents. Hence, we are helping growers to meet retailers’, foodservice companies’ and processors’ demands for clean products. The leaves are free from sand, grit and dirt so the lettuce no longer needs to be washed thoroughly to remove such residues. Since the root ball remains attached, the product can be sold as a ‘living lettuce’ and stays fresher for longer.

We are the suppliers Rijk Zwaan hydroponics seed to your purchase of any of our NFT Hydroponic Systems. 

Rijk Zwaan Hydroponic Lettuce

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Growing indoors with LED Lights on our Hydroponic Systems

This article will discuss the a few common things you should pay attention to when using LED grow lights so you can grow healthy looking plants and avoid any unnecessary hassle. NFT Hydro collaborate with grow light specilissts to ensure you grow successfully indoors.

  1. Overheating the Plants – You will know the plant is taking too much heat if the leaves that are closest to the light start turning brownish.
  2. Providing Insufficient Lighting – It is important to consider the scale of your operations. Think about how many plants you’re growing and how many LED lights you’ll need in order to illuminate them properly. You should also be aware of the luminosity of the lights you’re using.
  3. Setting the Lamps at an Improper Distance – Overheating or insufficient lighting can result from having too many or not enough lights, but it can also result from placing the lights too close or too far from the plants. There is no universal rule for setting the distance but it’s recommended that LEDs are placed 12 to 18 inches away from the plants.
  4. Using Inferior Products – Light is among the most vital factors to consider when growing plants because it triggers the photosynthesis process. If you’re using regular incandescent lights, you’re not very likely to grow strong and healthy plants. Therefore, for best results it is recommended that you use full spectrum LED grow lights. They are specifically designed for the purpose and have the feature to deliver light in the exact spectrum the plant needs.
  5. Selecting the Wrong Light Spectrum– In order to grow efficiently, plants need different types of light for each growth stage. With full-spectrum LED lights this is easily achievable, but if you select the wrong setting, the plant will not develop well. You should also take into consideration the conditions in the room where you’re doing the growing. For example, plants benefit most from light in the blue spectrum when they’re in the vegetative stage of growth. That means that if you set the light to emit light in the red spectrum, you will only be hindering the plant’s growth.

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The popularity of microgreens

When a food goes from unknown to a hot food trend, there is money to be made. Unlike most other specialty food crops, microgreens are easy to grow, and can be ready to sell in just ten to twenty days. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, so microgreens are a perfect crop for urban farmers who may not have access to a patch of dirt. In fact, many small growers prefer indoor growing, as it allows more control over light and temperature, so crops can be grown more quickly, and harvests are more predictable. Because microgreens are expensive, selling  growers can produce a solid income in a very small space compared to traditional farming.

We have designed a variety microgreen systems to suit everyones budget, to grow indoors or outdoors.

MG-6 Microgreens System

MG-26 Microgreens System

MG-52 Microgreens System 

 

Hydroponic Snow Peas

Peas are an extremely versatile crop for hydroponic systems. Not only are there varieties with edible pods, but the flowers, shoots, and tendrils can all be grown as either gourmet fresh vegetables or as attractive garnishes and additions to salads. Fresh shell peas can be produced in hydroponic systems; however, they take up considerable space for the yield of young peas produced. Instead, snow peas, snap peas, and pea shoots are typical specialty hydroponic crops.

Snow peas, be it the yellow, purple, or traditional green varieties, are often a highly priced fresh produce item and thus are grown in hydroponic greenhouses year-round.

For hydroponic systems, either tall or shorter varieties can be grown. Taller vines need some form of support, while shorter cultivars are up to two feet in height and are often self-supporting. Indeterminate, shorter varieties of peas are the preferred choice for those with limited space, as these can be planted in double rows or groups so that plants support each other without the need for trellising.

Choosing pea varieties with powdery mildew resistance is recommended and many of the new and improved cultivars are worth trialing in hydroponic systems.

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Source: MaximumYield 

Photo with compliments from a NFT Hydro client 

Fresh Produce Production Evolving Worldwide

The demand for healthy, clean and tasty vegetables continues to grow worldwide, including in Afric & South Africa where we see fast food chains & large retailers approach hydropoic farmers directly to grow for their stores or establishments. In line with the strong ‘local for local’ trend, new and advanced methods are helping to ensure that vegetables can be produced locally in an efficient and sustainable way.

Food-safe production
Hydroponics is one example of an innovative production method. According to Peter Sonneveld, who has been a market specialist for hydroponics at Rijk Zwaan since May 2018, this method is gaining in popularity all over the world, especially for leafy crops. “We are seeing Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and Deep Water Culture (DWC) being used in many different greenhouse setups, from low-tech to high-tech. High-tech greenhouses are extensively automated and are mainly found in Northwestern Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia and North America. Hydroponics is an extremely food-safe production method entailing the maximum reuse of water and fertilisers and the use of no – or the bare minimum of – chemicals. It’s extremely sustainable,” he says.

Would you like to know more about hydroponics

Or contact us info@nfthydro.co.za

Reference: Rijk Zwaan focusing on ‘Innovating for sustainability’ 

Greenhouse sunrise in KwaZulu Natal

We received this lovely photo from our client in KwaZulu Natal, the crops are grown in an area where water temperature can fall to zero degrees at night. The effects of the cold, will stifle the growth of your hydroponic plants as the optimum water temperature should be between 18-26C. Outside of these parameters the plants will not uptake the nutrients and they wont grow. It would appear if they are frozen in time. Our client uses a submersable heater in his watertank to keep the temeratures even in order to produce this luscious crop.

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First Harvest for New Grower

Incredably this is our new grower, Rodney’s first crop nearing harvest, grown in an area where temperatures can drop to about 1 – 3c at night.

NFT Hydro has worked closely with our client, almost on a daily basis to guide and assist him to ensure his success as a grower.

Great brands have experiences and values. What you will experience with NFT Hydro, as one of our clients is that we will GROW with you.

Your success as a grower become our success story.

COME GROW WITH US

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Soil Farmer turns to Hydroponics

Let’s look at some of the key reasons why more traditional farmers turn to soiless farming:

  •  Hydroponic is easy to develop in strategic places; this means that the hydroponic crops can be grown close to the market area; therefore, reducing the cost that could have been used in transportation and these automatically reduces the production cost, hence increasing the gardener profits.
  • Hydroponics can be produced at any season since they grow into their own controlled environment which is controlled and protected from predators like plant eating animals.
  • Less amount of time and work is required in hydroponics gardening; the amount of work needed is very little due to the absence of the weeds that would require time to pluck them out.This method is time saving since no weeds are present only some few minutes are needed to check the nutrient levels and the harvesting processes.
  •  Hydroponic plants will grow larger; this is because you have full control over the plants environment to the optimal.
  •  Hydroponic plants can be grown everywhere; it is said to convert any terrain into fertile farming land.With the normal farming or the soil farming, there are multiple problems such as pest, climate and soil diseases.

NFT Hydro will assist you to successfully transform from traditional farming to soiless farmimg. 

Contact us: info@nfthydro.co.za

source: Farm Hydroponics

GROW MICROGREENS ON COMMERCIAL SCALE

The growing of microgreens are becoming more & more popular with our clients and we are therefor delighted,to announce the launch of our new Microgreens Commercial System – the MG26.

The NFT Hydro MG26 Microgreens System has 26x 1.8m Growing Channels and is 3m wide and specifically designed for growing microgreens on commercial scale.

Each growing channel has the ability to produce between 225 – 1395 grams of microgreens, dependant on crop type of small or large leaf microgreens.

The NFT Hydro MG26 Microgreens System, can be doubled up, set up back to back,  as can be seen in the illustration providing you with 52 Growing Channels.

MG26 – Commercial Microgreens System

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