Hailed as the world’s most popular fruit, tomatoes are not only in season but also seemingly in vogue, as more Britons discover their wide-ranging health benefits and culinary versatility.
In fact, consumers are now getting through around 500,000 tons of tomatoes every year, a current rise of approximately 20%, with this number set to rise during British Tomato Fortnight. And yet, only a fifth eaten are homegrown.
However, this is about to change, as more growers invest in sustainable practices and technology to significantly reduce environmental impact. New methods in vertical farming mean that tomatoes are being harvested all year round in the UK, packed with flavour, using the right balance of light, combined with the right temperature and yield.
Choice of lighting is paramount to optimised growing in vertical farming, with LED grow lights offering up multiple benefits to indoor tomato growing. Light Science Technologies takes a closer look at some of the key advantages of harnessing the potential of LED lights:
1. Lower energy consumption
Unlike many alternative greenhouse lighting solutions, LED lights are very low on energy consumption which can make the energy savings considerable when growing tomatoes.
They also generate less heat so don’t need specialised air-cooling facilities, like HPS lights, and they last for an extremely long time – up to 60,000 hours, and are incredibly resilient.
2. A customised lighting solution
While LEDs do need precise power management, this can be easily done using intelligent technology and tools that are designed specifically to streamline the control of lighting in the greenhouse. There are solutions on the market today that are capable of being programmed, designed, controlled and monitored using intelligent systems that can be customised to suit specific greenhouse and tomato growing requirements.
3. Reduced heat output
This makes the LED grow light a strong candidate for improving tomato crop yields, particularly in a warmer climate. Their reduced heat output limits the impact of lighting heat on the crop which is one of the most important factors when managing crop yield in a warmer climate.
4. Improved temperature control
LED lights can help growers to manage heat challenges in their greenhouses by gaining better control over temperature and the greenhouse climate for improved yield and results. The temperature conversation is one that will always get the vines in a knot, but for tomatoes it appears that better control over heat and climate are the answer to a very complex puzzle.
A study into the use of LED grow lights to improve tomato crop yield examined the impact of environmental conditions. It found that air temperature played a significant role when it came to tomato production and quality with the best possible temperatures sitting at 28 degrees C for day and 20 degrees C for night. Higher or lower temperatures were found to negatively impact the crop. This is a strong tick in the box for a lighting solution that doesn’t add to the temperature variables when planning greenhouse lighting.
5. Access to the right Controlled Environment Agriculture expertise
Work with a trusted partner who can create the right recipe for your environment and who has the latest technology and science at their fingertips, ready to help you shift your yield forwards. A bespoke solution may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, and could see you achieve returns on investment (ROI) that help you grow more for less.
To discuss how we can help further in more detail please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01332 410601.