A Sustainable Alternative to Disposing Media in Greenhouse Vegetables


Sustainable Growing Media in Greenhouse Vegetables

Photo: Agricultural Adaptation Council

Research that might probably divert 1000’s of tons of greenhouse vegetable manufacturing waste from landfills is displaying early promising outcomes in Canada. Walker Industries has partnered with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) on a undertaking to consider the feasibility of gathering and recycling spent rising media from growers in the Leamington/Kingsville space.

Funded in half by way of the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative (GCII) administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC), the analysis additionally includes testing Walker’s composting course of to decide whether or not it will probably efficiently inactivate sure viruses just like the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), a extremely damaging plant pathogen that may trigger extreme manufacturing losses in affected crops and has unfold to all the foremost greenhouse tomato rising areas of the world.

Stonewool (rockwool) is among the essential substrates utilized by greenhouse vegetable growers in Canada to develop their crops. A mineral-based product spun into wool and enclosed in plastic, it offers construction for the roots of crops grown hydroponically (with out soil).

Once used, most stonewool slabs at present find yourself in landfill, as do historically compostable supplies like pepper and tomato vines to stop the unfold of ToBRFV.

“The goal is to eliminate the disposal of the spent growing media slabs and instead turn that waste into usable products,” says Geoff Boyd, Vice President of Resource Recovery at Walker. “At the same time, we want to make sure that we can compost this material properly and effectively destroy any plant viruses, so we don’t inadvertently spread them around.”

The analysis crew is conducting trials to separate the plastic that surrounds the stonewool slabs and course of the remaining materials right into a clear and usable product that is freed from plastic contamination. The processed stonewool is then composted in Walker’s static aerated composting system. Prior to placement in the compost row, the contaminated materials is secured in a particularly formulated vessel that permits the warmth and air to cross by way of however prevents the stonewool from coming into contact with the opposite materials in the compost row.

After the compost course of is accomplished, a bioassay is used to decide if composting was efficient in deactivating the virus. Samples of tomato tissue from the bioassay are despatched to a testing lab to detect for the presence or absence of the virus.

“So far, the results are positive on the processing. We are now waiting on lab results from the bioassay tissue samples,” Boyd says, including he hopes to have the undertaking wrapped up with remaining outcomes by this fall.

Continue studying for extra on the Agricultural Adaption Council’s web site.



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