Seed potatoes are being grown aeroponically and in addition to being free from pests and diseases, are yielding more and costing less than when they are grown conventionally.
These are the findings of Airponix, which has patented a sterile fog generation system which supplies all the nutrients and water needed by the potatoes. Anri Brand of the company says the fogging system is very low pressure. “We can do it economically and it allows the use of a lot less water.”
The fog droplets are said to allow each plant to receive the same amount of water and nutrients irrespective of where it is in the glasshouse, ensuring higher overall crop yields.
The system does not require LEDs or other artificial light sources and follows the natural season with slightly earlier planting than for conventional potatoes at the end of February, says Barry Robertson, horticultural production manager at Airponix.
Trials have so far been carried out in a cold glasshouse in Norfolk but an A-frame structure with a racking system is also being looked at which would enable the number of plants per square metre and therefore yield to be considerably higher than for arable land, according to the company.
Elite seed potatoes measuring up to 45mm in diameter have so far been successfully grown using tuber cuttings. In 2020 the aim is to trial growing tissue cultured plants.