This post was written by Fadi Al-Daoud and Cara McCreary, greenhouse vegetable specialists with OMAFRA, and originally appeared on the ONgreenhousevegetables blog.
The quality of water and nutrient solution used in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) production systems, such as greenhouses and vertical farms, is one of the most important factors that affect plant health and yield. Growers monitor water and nutrient solution quality by sending samples for analysis to determine the levels of nutrients and salts. They also use sensors to monitor pH and electrical conductivity (EC) regularly to determine necessary adjustments for the nutrient solution. Growers may also analyze the microbiome, the genetic material of all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in their water and nutrient solution, to evaluate levels of harmful pathogens, such as Pythium and Phytophthora species that cause root rot.
After reading the previous posts in this series, you’re now aware of WHICH pathogens can be spread through your irrigation water, WHERE they can accumulate, and WHY that’s important. We’re now moving on to posts covering WHAT you can do about it!
This post will walk you through how to sample water sources on your farm, and which tests you can run to determine if your water is helping – or hurting – your crop.
This is the second blog post in a series about water sanitation. The goal of this series is to get you reflecting on your own irrigation system before you are faced with a problem. Posts over the next few weeks will focus on identifying problems, interpreting lab tests, on-farm disease monitoring, and water treatment options. These will be good refresher resources, so make sure to bookmark them.
When it comes to talking about disease-related issues in greenhouse crops, one point of confusion is often oven WHICH pathogens CAN be transmitted by water. Some are obvious – we all know Pythium is water-borne. But what about other culprits, like Fusarium or Erwinia? Should you worry about these in your recirculating water?
Read more to find out when to suspect your irrigation water versus other factors when it comes to disease.
Spring is just around the corner, and this is historically the time of year where we get more calls about disease pressure and problems in the crop. This year, we’ve decided to run a series of blog posts about water sanitation to get you reflecting on your own irrigation system before you are faced with a problem. Posts over the next few weeks will focus on identifying problems in the greenhouse, interpreting lab test results, on-farm methods for disease monitoring, water treatment technology options and more. These will be good refresher resources, so make sure to bookmark them for future reference.
3M Petri Films are an easy to use tool in on-farm water quality testing.
Want to know when and where pathogen problems are building BEFORE they start? Interested in setting up your own water quality testing program that’s both easy and cost effective?
For those of you attending my IPM Workshop on Friday, you’ll get a bit of a taste of the tools to help you do this that have recently been developed by Flowers Canada, the Soil Research Group and other collaborators.
For those of you who are missing my workshop, or want more hands-on, in-depth information on this topic, then come to the “Greenhouse Water Quality Workshop” being run on Feb. 24. Read on for more details.