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Hydroponic high wire melons taking off globally
Following the global hydroponic trends, cultivation of melons and cantaloupes in soilless culture is a new trend that is showing promising results in many parts of the world. Though you might think that the size of melons would make them hard to grow hydroponically, they grow quite well in coir substrate in greenhouses and poly houses. The biggest concern with growing melons hydroponically is making sure that they have a controllable growing medium, adequate light and good high wire support for their increasing weight.
Riococo was approached by a large melon grower in North Africa to participate in an experiment to grow melons in coir growing media in their greenhouses. In support of the the trial, Riococo created a new Melon Mix Slab for high wire melon cultivation. According to Edward McMahon, Sales Manager of Riococo, the success of their new melon slabs started with carefully selecting the raw material mix, with the appropriate root volume for each plant.
"With the proper irrigation, lighting and maintenance of the nutrient solution levels, it helped the North African grower to maximize its production in a short period of time. At the end of the season the grower had gone up to 9.2 Kg/Sqm. production compared to the soil production of 4 Kg/Sqm. with the same melon variety."
McMahon explained that the Riococo Melon Mix grow bags showed zero root diseases, enabling a virescence free growth, comparing 10-15% virescence in the melons grow in soil.
"With the experience of growing melons in North Africa, we started to work with growers in Asia. The weather conditions in the low lands of these Asian countries are very rough and previously they used to grow only one melon per plant in the soil. With the correct mix, growers succeed to grow two or three melons per plants (comparing to soil) with excellent brix levels of 15 and higher."
Most of the growers focus on growing two high quality melons per plants. Melons in hot conditions can be grown up to 4 cycles per year, as it takes around 80 days from plantation to harvest. "Melons are a crop that require a very low moisture level in the final phase, just before harvest. It's correct for all types of conditions but even more critical in tropical weather. All the growers that currently grow melon in our Melon Mix Grow bags experience better root system, zero root diseases, less physiological disorders as vitrescence, more homogeneous fruit size and darker flesh color."
Mcmahon explained that Riococo is attracting many growers who want to switch from soil to growing in their Melon Mix growbags in other countries too, such as Mexico, Central and South America, Asia and the USA.
Edward: “The special mix of the grow bag, gives the flexibility to dry the substrate and control the bags with very long irrigation intervals. This results in a perfect uniform water distribution in the slab, which helps melon growers to steer the slabs regardless of which part of the growing cycle they are in.”
"At the end in any condition and especially in tropical conditions when the growers need an extreme management of irrigation, a quality and controllable substrate is the best solutions and our bag gives that assurance."
Riococo's product line is OMRI certified, from their CBOP seed starter plugs, transplanting starter blocks to the grow bags. "This means melon growers do not have to source from multiple companies for the different stages of the growth cycle. We offer a complete product line that covers all their needs."
“When you take a closer look at all of the coir that is available around the world, you will find a lot of differences among them. Our clients have come to expect outstanding consistency, uniformity and the right mix in their media. All of our coir products are 100% Sri Lankan made. We cater to the commercial hydroponic growers and many other growing industries around the globe. We are pleased with the controllability and consistency in our new Melon growbags. It is one of our top priorities to maintain the consistency and uniformity throughout the production process.”
Edward further explained that his company has expanded its raw material production sites throughout Sri Lanka to ensure that they will not run out of raw materials. “With each new innovation, such as Mellon slabs, we add thousands of new acres to our supply chain as its very important for us to have an uninterrupted and continual raw material flow. We do not depend on third party raw materials suppliers, and since we plan all our raw material production by ourselves, we will not face any shortages at any time. Because of our strategically located factories throughout Sri Lanka, we always have an ample supply of raw materials on hand. This makes us well positioned to meet, and keep up with demands for the foreseeable future. "Riococo does not Buffer the raw material. We have developed a special process called MAX-WASH, which means our material has lower starter EC than buffered material, all while preserving the micro-life and naturally occurring bio-inoculants in the coir. “
Edward emphasized: "With plenty of raw material on hand, Riococo is unafraid to take on new clients. Our clients have come to count on us for the unmatched quality and consistency and we continue to invest in knowledge and excellent customer service with crop consultancy."
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