We started by working with Allegro Acres and scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Harrow Research and Development Centre to determine the light recipe best suited to pepper production and the location of the greenhouse. Throughout the growing season, crop registration was done to monitor multiple crop parameters and optimize plant growth by adjusting their lighting accordingly. And it is not just a matter of better taste, size, and appearance, but of crop yield as well.
For an eight-week period during production, far-red was added to the spectrum at different periods of the daily light cycle to increase internode length in the pepper plant. Why? This prevented the crop morphology from remaining too compact, which would negatively impact fruit development and ease of crop manipulation. With short internodes, it becomes difficult if not impossible for workers to manage the canopy without damaging the crop. Without far-red, a grower cannot stretch internodes as needed.
In addition, far-red promotes apical dominance in the crop, which means that the main stem overtakes side shoots and makes it easier for workers to identify which side shoots to pinch off. Far-red also promotes leaf expansion, which reduces canopy density and ensures that developing peppers are sufficiently shaded.
And as easy as it was to add far-red to the light spectrum, it was just as easily removed once far-red served its purposes to ensure that the crop’s resources were redirected back to fruit development and generative processes.
Very easy – we say that our solution is “Plug and Play Sun All Day!” Most importantly, only one fixture does all the work, just like a gaming console- no extra wires, circuits or equipment needed. Each fixture is a small computer in which the recipe resides, so the recipe is basically modifiable software. Since one fixture can implement an infinite number of recipes, we can program each one individually and create different zones in the same greenhouse to cultivate many varieties of produce.
In the early stages of production at Allegro Acres, for example, a predominantly blue light spectrum was used in one zone. After observing the crop’s development, the light recipe was reviewed and changed to predominantly red about 6 weeks later. Sollum’s user-friendly technology makes it easy to adjust light intensity and spectrum through the SUN as a Service platform.