Miyun, Beijing, China

Leafy vegetables grown during dog days in hydroponic farm

In the scorching summer, some leafy vegetables in greenhouses are already wilted before the dog days. Many farmers stop growing leafy vegetables in July and will replant them when it cools down, but in an 8 hectare vegetable base in Jugezhuang Town, Miyun District, Beijing, the water spinach and amaranth in the four greenhouses are not only growing well, but the output is also high; they can be harvested every 10 days.

Greenhouses no longer idle
This will be the fifth year that the leafy vegetables will be grown hydroponically, and the second year that the base will produce hydroponic leafy vegetables in summer. Normally, lettuce was grown in the greenhouses, but due to the heat, it has not been grown there in the past few summers.

"The greenhouses are idle in summer, but I hope we can find a way to make use of them," Cao Caihong, an agronomist at the Beijing Agricultural Technology Extension Station said. The two months in which the greenhouses will not grow any crops will cause the deterioration of the hydroponic equipment. Thus, if the greenhouses can be used in summer, it will not only increase production but will also reduce equipment degradation.

After research, experts from the station decided to plant water spinach and amaranth, as these leafy vegetables can grow in an environment above 30°C. According to reports, water spinach and amaranth also have a strong potential to produce shoots, which can realize one-time planting and continuous harvesting, ensuring that fresh leafy vegetables are supplied throughout the summer.

Senior agronomists and experts from the Municipal Agricultural Technology Extension Station provide technology for the base to carry out experiments throughout the entire process, from sowing seedlings and disinfecting to, field management, pest control, and cutting regeneration.

“There are many technical requirements for field management of hydroponic vegetables in summer. It is necessary to control the environment in the greenhouse, adjust the temperature and humidity in time, and at the same time disinfect the shed to effectively kill germs and ensure the cleanliness of the production environment.” Cao Caihong said hydroponics is different from soil planting: by preparing nutrient solutions, nutrient supply is more balanced, and the risk for disease is greatly reduced.

Read the entire article (in Chinese) and see pictures at www.163.com.

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