Certhon, a designer and builder of greenhouses, started growing the first crops in its very own Innovation Centre several weeks ago. The company aims to gain specific horticultural knowledge for indoor and vertical farming purposes through this brand-new test centre. Based on this knowledge, Certhon will be able to provide its customers with highly specific advice.

Six weeks ago, the first tomato and sweet pepper plants were brought into the Innovation Centre, to be followed by raspberries and strawberries two weeks ago. Next month, lettuce and herbs will also be grown in the ‘daylight-less’ Innovation Centre.

Advising customers and partners

According to Certhon agronomist Jeroen van Lent several varieties of each type of crop will be tested. “Each variety responds differently to the indoor situation. Based on the horticultural knowledge we are gaining we will be able to provide our customers and partners tailored advice.” The launch of Certhon’s Innovation Centre was preceded by two years of research. “In addition to the successful indoor projects we have already completed, we also conducted research into optimising the technology of daylight-less cultivation”, says Van Lent.

Eight different cultivation cells

The Innovation Centre contains eight different cultivation cells on a surface area of 240 square metres. “We will be able to continue our research on a really big scale. During the first few years will enable us to help our customers with the cultivation of a diversity of crops with the knowledge we will gain here. In addition to this, we will be growing pilot crops to obtain reference figures. This unique facility will also enable us to show our customers fully operational systems.”

Detailed monitoring

Van Lent expects to harvest the first tomatoes at the beginning of May. He believes that this cultivation method offers many advantages. “The crop can be monitored down to the smallest details. You can ensure that the conditions are ideal at every moment of the day. There are no fluctuations in temperature, humidity or other uncontrollable factors. In addition to the knowledge we are gaining, we are also looking for ways to optimise our technical systems.”

Present at GreenTech

Certhon will be present at the GreenTech professional trade fair with a stand at the Vertical Farming Pavilion. Visitors will be able to take a look at the Innovation Centre’s research cells in real time.

Source/photo: Certhon.