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How to give the new growing season a perfect start

The Cultilene Framework system, part of Smart Root Zone Management, helps growers to get the best out of their Cultilene Substrates. The Framework looks at each element of the substrate system to put some design and procedure into the layout and use. For a perfect start to the growing season, it is important to look at the following elements.

The optimal substrate layout
A good growing season should start with a good substrate layout. In tomatoes it is for example important that the substrate layout is designed to optimize the volume, the spacing, plant density and extra heads. Cultilene can help with this with the slab calculator: an online tool that provides businesses with information in a quick and easy way about the correct substrate and plant density. The grower is asked to enter the basic information required, bay width, row or gutter length and the number of rows of substrate per bay. The slab calculator helps you to get the maximum benefits from the Cultilene stonewool substrate.

Calculating the dose size
Based on the slab layout we can calculate the Dose Size Range. The slab calculator calculates the optimum range of the dose size to suit the volume of substrate selected, the minimum, optimum and maximum recommended dose size. In this way growers can steer their stonewool substrate to the target levels for plant balance suggested in the Season Dynamics (see “Determine your target levels”).

The dose size has a big effect on water content, the cone and homogeneity of the slab. It is also a useful tool in reaching the target levels in the slab for water content, EC and pH to control the plant balance. It is important to calculate the correct dose size for the volume of substrate that each dripper supplies.

Pay attention to the drainage slits
The drainage slits must be made within 24 hours of planting. All excess water must be able to drain freely from the slab. The best position for the drainage slits is between the plants, and at the lowest points of the slab. The drainage slits should be made vertically and should be at least 2 cm long, by cutting the foil from the bottom of the slab upwards.

To minimise variation it is important that the drainage pattern for every dripper is the same. This way you can reduce the standard deviation in the root environment which can effect production and quality across the glasshouse.

Season Dynamics: determine your target levels
It is important to have target levels in the block before planting; the Cultilene Framework gives guidelines for this. Each part of the growing season has its own particular characteristics which will influence the watering strategy and target water content and EC levels to achieve the desired plant balance.

In tomatoes, when planting in short days, with low light conditions, it is important to use the water content as a tool to steer the plant in a generative way (see image). A larger water content drop and higher EC can be used during this period before there are swelling fruit on the plant. This will help to produce stronger truss development, better flower colour and setting. This is a critical stage in achieving the right balance in the crop for the rest of the season.

For more information:
Saint-Gobain Cultilene
Zeusstraat 2
5048 CA Tilburg
T + 31 (0)13 578 00 57
[email protected]
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