"We want to become experts in plant conditions. To achieve that, you have to control the growth process from A to Z at all times of the day." Says Pieter van Dijk, cultivation manager at the Van der Lugt plant nursery in Bleiswijk. Recently, the company invested in innovative equipment that allows them to monitor the plants non-stop.
Water and light
"Our thermal imaging cameras take a picture of the plants every fifteen minutes. This way we can see exactly what the temperature is and also what is influencing it. For example think of a moisture shock or the sun breaking through. In addition we have sensors that measure the PAR light, the CO2 content, the temperature and the humidity in the greenhouse. These devices also measure the EC, the temperature and the moisture content in the pot."
A thermal imaging camera registers the plant temperature 24 hours a day
"We use the equipment for grafted tomato and eggplant plants. We also use sensors to monitor the pot temperature of cucumber batches. Because we sow these directly in a stone wool block, it is important that the pot is warm enough to allow the seed to germinate. Before this was measured manually and it was as such only momentary recording. Now the sensor provides a nice graph that is based on a continuous measurement."
With mobile sensors, measurements can be taken everywhere in the greenhouse
"We propagate grafted tomato plants in polytunnels. At a certain point you have to let them get used to the outside world. We used to do this by making a cut in the foil, but on the thermal imaging camera we saw that some plants all of a sudden drained too much moisture. Such a small plant is not used to evaporation. Which is why we are now taking a different approach. With a clip we secure the foil a little higher so that air enters. If the plant would react too violently to this, we lower the foil again for a little while. It is like teaching a child to walk, step by step."
The mobile sensor shows the exact conditions in the tunnel with just grafted tomatoes
For more information:
Plantenkwekerij Van der Lugt B.V.
2665 MS Bleiswijk
+31(0)10 503 30 30