AVAG

Water and Fertilizer Dosage

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Many sorts of systems exist to provide crops with water and plant food. The system chosen particularly depends on the water available (sort, quantity, quality), the type of crop (vegetables, flowers, plants), the culture medium (rockwool, concrete or soil) and the grower's personal wishes. Several AVAG members have specialized in this field and are highly experienced in designing and installing tailor-made systems for individual projects.

The water supply
The first step is to determined the quantity of water required the whole year round for the crop in question. However, specialist firms designing and installing water and plant food systems for glasshouses work on the assumption that the water supply is the responsibility of the grower. The source of the supply may be a spring or lake, mains water or rainwater.

Storage
Various plant food systems are available ranging from simple, risk-free but labour-intensive methods (mixing trough for liquid fertilizers) to complex, high-risk, computer-controlled systems (water analysis in combination with a direct liquid fertilizer drip system). The choice of system often depends on the expertise of the user, the labour and cost involved and the desired quality of the feedwater. If the culture medium is rockwool or concrete the quality of the feedwater must be higher than that used for soil.

Plant food
Various plant food systems are available ranging from simple, risk-free but labour-intensive methods (mixing trough for liquid fertilizers) to complex, high-risk, computer-controlled systems (water analysis in combination with a direct liquid fertilizer drip system). The choice of system often depends on the expertise of the user, the labour and cost involved and the desired quality of the feedwater. If the culture medium is rockwool or concrete the quality of the feedwater must be higher than that used for soil.

Water control
The correct method of regulating the feedwater is dictated by a combination of such factors as the type of glasshouse, the plant food system, the crop and the individual situation. If water is scarce a drip system could be the solution. If plant density is very high, such as in glasshouses where only pot plants and basic stock material are cultivated, an ebb and flow system is a realistic option. If sufficient water is available crops growing in soil can be successfully irrigated from above and/or underneath. The correct choice based on the proper know-how ensures efficient water management.

The reuse of feedwater
Water is often scarce, fertilizers cost money and environmental requirements are becoming increasingly stringent. For these reasons Dutch firms have built up a great deal of expertise on the collection and reuse of superfluous feedwater. This can be achieved with a cultivation system using gutters or troughs in which the feedwater is collected. Gutters or pipes then transport the water to an underground tank where it can be stored, analyzed, disinfected or not, and reused.

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