How much does the production increase with the soilless cultivation?
One of the benefits of soilless cultivation is the increase of the production during the first years due to the plant growth conditions. The fact of reproducing the proper growing media for the plant, improves the right root system development and, therefore, a healthy plant with excellent and homogeneous fruits.
But, is there any proved evidence of these productive difference in comparison with soil cultivation?
We had the opportunity to test this advantage six years ago comparing both cultivation technics in a blueberry production. Our tests showed that, especially in the first years, the amount of fruit is greater when soilless techniques are applied.
In these trials, it was interesting to observe that when the plant grows in a pot the roots develop much faster. In the blueberry plant, for instance, the aerial part of the plant grows directly proportional to the roots. In consequence, to get a plant with size and strength that generates fruits in the quantity and quality desired, it is necessary that the roots are spread and develop properly.
In the pot, since the substrate opposes less resistance than the soil, the roots spread easily occupying the entire container in a short time. Thus, potted plants gained size faster.
Another remarkable aspect was that the plants grown in soilless cultivation were more homogeneous and their production as well. The soil presents greater irregularities in its composition and the substrate is completely homogeneous.
So, the plants grown in pots are developed in the same conditions, while the plants that grow in the soil, depending on the farm area, do not have the same soil characteristics.
This means that in soilless cultivation the plants are all the same and when they produce fruits, these are more homogeneous. In soil cultivation, there is more inequality in plant’s size and shape, and the harvest is less uniform.