Warm and cold weather alternate at the beginning of spring, but rows of lettuce thrives in the 800 m2 closed modern plant factory which uses artificial light in the Zhejiang University Agricultural Experimental Station in Changxing, Zhejiang Province. After a year’s construction and pilot operation, the modern plant factory is currently in use.
“We employ a variety of advanced techniques, ranging from environmental intelligent control, soilless multi-layer culture to nutrient recycle, to control the growth of plants,” says Prof. Lin Xianyong, who is in charge of the Agricultural Experimental Station.
He also says that “‘green’ plants are cultivated because we utilize the germ-free breeding technique and control their growth environment intelligently, thus effectively preventing the invasion of pests.”
Moreover, the output of plants can be evenly controlled throughout the year and it will also be increased tremendously. Take, for example, leaf vegetables such as lettuce. It will take merely 16-18 days from its plantation to harvest and 18-22 batches can be harvested in a year.
Its approximate output will hit 200,000 kilogram, roughly 30 times as high as in open fields.
A modern plant factory is a closed or semi-closed growing system which enables a farmer or agrotechnician to achieve constant production of vegetables all year around. The facility utilizes artificial control of light, temperature, moisture, and carbon dioxide concentrations.
It is not circumscribed by natural conditions and is applicable to non-arable land, including saline or polluted oil or special environments such as islands, spacecrafts or ocean vessels. It is an effective avenue for the solutions to such issues as population growth, resource shortage, environmental pollution and food safety.
For more information: Zhejiang University Agricultural Experimental Station