Stonewool plugs ‘save’ drinking water-centered pak choi and lettuce cultivation

At Marck Hydroponics, in a greenhouse measuring somewhere around 1 hectare, all over 2 million lettuce and pak choi vegetation are grown in a hydroponic floating raft program each year. Since mid-2019, Arthur Marck and his brother Theo have been cultivating these crops in this escalating system. Following a lookup with different rising media, they are at present making use of Grodan stonewool plugs.


A few years back, Marck from Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel, the Netherlands, was launched by an acquaintance to hydroponic lettuce cultivation, which appealed to him.

The IT specialist with a horticultural qualifications, who at that time was however utilized complete-time at Lely in Maassluis, took the plunge and he and his brother founded the company Marck Hydroponics. They used 1 hectare of their parents’ backyard garden to begin up the corporation. He now is effective as a grower 4 days a week and continues to get the job done one working day a week as an IT expert at Lely.

Deep stream system
Marck selected a DFT (Deep Stream Technique) cultivation procedure from Meteor Programs. In this technique, the leafy greens expand in specifically intended plastic floating rafts with routinely spaced holes in which the plants sit, suspended just higher than the water and from exactly where the roots improve down into the water. “The DFT technique suits perfectly in our 8-meter Venlo-fashion greenhouse.”

Marck manages the overall process, from sowing and propagating of the younger crops to their subsequent growth in the floating rafts and harvest.

The different coconut and peat ‘compost’ mixtures that he initially attempted ended up not satisfactory. “The plants suffered from strain, the roots have been smothered, and flowing drinking water and h2o aeration did not truly assist to reduce the root difficulties. From the very commencing, we had complications with Pythium and Phytophthora, ensuing in a failure level of up to 50%.”

Marck to begin with selected Salanova 1-slice lettuce, developed for the processing market place. Nevertheless, owing to the common growth problems he was encountering, he also began to improve pak choi. “Pak choi has a reduce money return, but continuing with lettuce by yourself was similarly not a smart go,” feedback Marck in relation to the balancing act. “We experienced fewer root-connected troubles with pak choi, but the uniformity of the crop nevertheless fell brief of the prerequisites of the fresh make marketplace.”

Stone wool Grodan plugs
The grower was released to Thomas Peters from Grodan by its area distributor, Royal Brinkman. “I didn’t feel stone wool was a sustainable merchandise, but that was a misunderstanding. As it can be recycled regionally, it is actually incredibly sustainable,” states Marck.   

On 1 December 2020, Thomas Peters grew to become Grodan’s Enterprise Advancement Supervisor. In this job, he supports growers with new crops that can also be grown on stone wool, as is the circumstance right here. “I seemed at how Marck could attain far better cultivation outcomes by focussing on enhancing the uniformity and reducing crop failure prompted by the root challenges. I prompt we consider our sq. stone wool plugs as these would fit nicely into the holes of the floating rafts. Air is crucial for great root growth, and as there is adequate air in the stone wool plugs, the roots are inspired to enter the water.”

Expanding aid
Since March 2021, Peters has been supervising the stone wool, overseeing operations from sowing to harvest, the aim remaining crop optimization. “Cultivation of both crops is a lot quicker and a lot more productive, and the failure rate is now virtually zero,” Peters concludes. 

The examination crops were productive. The grower is now only conducting more assessments to perfect the system and he will then make your mind up no matter whether he will keep on to develop fifty percent pak choi/50 % lettuce, or regardless of whether lettuce by itself will be grown. “We will know extra in six months’ time.”

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