This study monitored the growth and development of ‘Coastal Star’ romaine lettuce crops grown under an orange-red UbiGro luminescent quantum dot (QD) greenhouse film and identical crops grown under a colorless control film at the Santa Fe Community College Research Greenhouse in 2021.
UbiGro QD greenhouse films emitting at 600 nm were installed above a 254 ft2 (23.6 m2) nutrient film technique (NFT) system inside the Santa Fe Community College Research Greenhouse (SolaWrap cover, 83% PAR transmission). An identical neighboring NFT area in the greenhouse was chosen to serve as the control group, over which a transparent polyethylene film (K50 Clear 6 mil, RKW Klerks) was installed to balance the light intensities and diffusivities between the two areas (see Table 1 describing the haze and transmission of the QD film and the polyethylene control film).
A reflective mylar barrier was hung between the two areas to prevent light mixing between treatment areas. A Watchdog Plant Growth Micro Station with four quantum light sensors was installed to measure daily light integral (DLI) on each side of the experiment using five-minute measurement spacings. Crops were grown with Calcium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, and Potassium Nitrate-rich nutrient salt solutions with targets of EC 1.7 and pH 5.8. In order to better achieve proper light intensity for lettuce, shade curtains were deployed over the crops in both treatments until August 26 (covering the first three crops in this experiment), when they were removed.
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