Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Middenmeer greenhouses

Huge greenhouses. 50 acres for peppers, 25 acres for small tomatoes.

World's largest producer of orange peppers. Greenhouses powered geothermally. Electricity is traded for waste heat from Micosoft data center next door. Automatic window cleaner keeps acres of glass clean.

Substrate for lice(?), which serve as a host for parasitic wasp. Wasp, in tern, controls pests in the greenhouse.

Rockwool slabs used as growth medium (not soil). Provide nutrients and are recyclable.

Precautions taken before entering planted area (booties, jackets) to avoid contamination.

Temperature and humidity controlled for prime growing conditions.

Biggest leaves I've ever seen on a pepper plant.

Carriage with a lift to pick peppers. Plants will eventually reach up to around 12 feet. Carriage activated by electronic key, which tracks each bin and worker. Bins move around automatically by system in floor (full bins go to packing room, empty bins return to greenhouse). Rubber cradle inside bin prevents peppers from bruising. Workers cut toward rubber thumb guard with special knife, avoiding damage to plant/peppers. Stems are cut at node so that they remain very long on pepper.

Carbon dioxide pumped to base of plant for maximum growth.

Plants in photo are about half as tall as they will be by November, when they take everything down in preparation to start again with new seedlings for next year's crop.

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