The overall aim of the interdisciplinary CasH consortium is to use its technology and expertise to develop and investigate “cascade” fertigation approaches as novel, integrated production concepts for intensive greenhouse horticulture. Today, greenhouse vegetables are almost invariably produced in monocultures. Increasingly soilless cultivation systems in combination with hydroponics are employed (Sonneveld, & Voogt, 2009). In such systems the supply of water and nutrients is usually done by fertigation (combined fertilization and irrigation), i.e. in form of nutrient solutions.
The research & development activities within the CasH project will focus on:
• Identification of crop species suitable as secondary and tertiary crops
• accompanying breeding aiming at the optimization of the plant cultivars to be used
• Development and iterative optimization of cultivation practices for secondary / tertiary cops
• Scientific evaluation of the systems’ performance (plant responses, yield, quality etc.)
• Adaptation and extension of an existing Decision support system (DSS) to select suitable crop combinations considering the climate conditions of a location, greenhouse layout etc.
• Development of new models for the DSS, e.g. to simulate the fertigation of the primary crop
• Evaluation of environmental impacts and economic viability