Research in innovation centre ‘de Kas’
In Van der Knaap’s own innovation centre ‘de Kas’ in Honselersdijk, the expert R&PD team has an extensive laboratory, twelve separate cultivation greenhouses and an outdoor field at its disposal. Various growing conditions can be simulated here and, in addition to our own product research, we also conduct trials for third parties.
We carry out substrate tests and specific cultivation research in our cultivation areas. In the laboratory, we can perform complete chemical and physical checks of water and soil samples, such as determining the air and water content, pH and EC measurements and WOK analyses.
Trials in 'de Kas' are not limited to rooting and growth trials with substrate. Trial set-ups can be adapted to the desired cultivation methods in consultation with the customer. This makes it possible to do research into, for example, optimal fertilisation, watering, climate and lighting. To this end, our test greenhouses are equipped with state-of-the-art horticultural technology. What's more, the innovation centre is also connected to the geothermal heat network 'Aardwarmte Vogelaer'.
Because climate control and reliable measurements are crucial to any research, all our test greenhouses are controlled by the Hoogendoorn Growth Management's latest climate control system: IIVO. We also collect data using our own Forteco scale and Growficient moisture sensors. These sensors provide extremely reliable measurements in both fine and coarse (coco) substrate. You can find out more about this on our website.
Some of our greenhouses are already prepared for trials with specific crops, such as vegetables, soft fruit, (tropical) potted plants – we even have a section with ponds for hydroponics.
With our line of Forteco products, we have plenty of experience in growing vegetable crops on substrate. One of our vegetable departments is equipped with lighting. The effectiveness of illuminated tomato cultivation has already been established in Europe. And last winter, we have conducted a successful trial with illuminated bell pepper cultivation on organic nutrients. We also have a department for open-field trials (under glass), where we mainly conduct trials with vegetable crops grown with organic nutrients.
Several departments are suitable for soft fruit cultivation. There is a department with a hanging gutter system and tubular heating for strawberry cultivation, but also an outdoor field for outdoor trials with blueberries, for example.
(Tropical) potted plants
We have set up a separate department for the cultivation of tropical plants (such as orchids). This department has a double screen cloth, cooling installation, high-pressure misting system, top and bottom heating and lighting. A second department is equipped with lighting and two new screens according to the PARperfect system. This allows the screen level in the greenhouse to be continuously controlled, so that the crop always receives the correct amount of irradiation.
Our trial greenhouses can be set up flexibly for almost any cultivation and trial set-up. Tables, gutters or directly on the floor. Floor or tube heating. Automatic or manual watering. We can imitate almost any cultivation method in 'de Kas'.
If you think your crop can be optimised further, but you do not have the facilities to do further research, please contact us at email@example.com or call +31 (0) 174 296606.
This article appeared in newsletter Grow-How! no. 31