Plant Empowerment stands for an energy-efficient cultivation method with optimum production. This new cultivation method focuses on the crop and avoids unnecessary consumption of fossil fuels. The most important characteristic is dealing with moisture in the greenhouse differently. The New Cultivation includes a series of adjustments to the cultivation method. The way of cultivation is divided in 7 steps by Wageningen University & Research Horticulture:
With more energy screens and more screen hours, insulation is intensified and the heat loss from the greenhouse is smaller. Top screens above the energy screen prevent cold airflow and a façade screen improves the insulation of the greenhouse. With screen control you must must take account of light, cracks, temperature distribution and crop temperature.
The evaporation of the crop and the moisture drainage are important issues to take into account in Plant Empowerment. Ventilation takes place above a closed screen and the grower must ensure the exchange of greenhouse air and the air above the screen. With suction of dry outside air, the RH in the greenhouse can possibly be regulated more precisely without the addition of extra heat.
CO2 and moisture loss are reduced with less ventilation under light conditions. This leads to a more optimal growth climate. By bringing extra air movement with fans, the microclimate is controlled and a more even climate is realised.
Energy consumption can be reduced by limiting the tube temperature and by limiting the minimum tube. The minimum tube must only be used if there are serious moisture problems. The advice is to bring the heat where it is needed. This is possible through the use of a growth tube between the crop or a pot heater. Furthermore, the use of temperature integration is valuable.
No more exposure is required than is necessary for a good plant balance. With tomatoes, a lot of lighting in the autumn results in an overly heavy plant load in the winter. With gerbera, the lighting starts in the autumn and must be stopped in time in the spring.
It is important not to dose more CO2 than what the plant needs.
By a smart combination of all measures, the crop remains more active. It is important to ensure sufficient air movement around the crop. The grower should not start heating too early and slowly increase the temperature. The unnecessary stimulation of evaporation must be prevented.
Research has shown that with Plant Empowerment an energy saving of 30% or more compared to conventional cultivation methods is possible. Moreover, the product quality and the crop result are often better with Plant Empowerment. The crop security is greater because there are fewer problems with temperature inequality, moisture-related growth estimates and Botrytis.