Due to its drier nature, Growstones have a high steer-ability and have proved to promote generative growth with an earlier fruit setting. This is of practical significance in climates, or for crop varieties, which tend to promote excessive vegetative plant growth with consequent difficulties in balancing the crop, and potential production delays.
In addition to all the environmental benefits, the advantages of using Growstones are directly related with its unique physical characteristics, and the ability to be customized for different plant growing applications and climates.
- Air to water ratio:
- High water holding capacity associated with high aeration at saturation (about 30%, v/v).
- Higher air-filled porosity at saturation (about 50%, v/v).
- Growstones can be manufactured with different pore size and pore type (open/closed) in order to provide either faster drainage or higher water holding capacity to satisfy a wide range of plant growth requirements under different climates. Growstones cannot be overwatered.
- Different particle size and particle size distribution can be customized to satisfy a wide range of plant requirements for different growing systems and climates.
- Yields – In cucumber greenhouse production, Growstones substrates (small pore size) outperformed rockwool in a side-by-side cucumber trial at Wageningen University trial. In greenhouse tomato trials, Growstones proved “as-good-as” rockwool, at Wageningen University and University of Arizona trials.
- Steerability – Due to its drier nature compared to rockwool and coco coir, Growstones have a high steerability: Growstones proved to promote generative plant growth with an earlier onset of fruit setting. This is of practical significance in climates, or for crop varieties, which tend to promote excessive vegetative plant growth with consequent difficulties in balancing the crop, and potential production delays.
- Reusability – In commercial and retail hydroponic applications, Growstones can be steam sterilized and re-used without loosing physical integrity.
- Chemically inert – Inert, free of weeds, nutrients and harmful substances.
- Consistency – Matches rockwool in structural consistency and reliable performance.
- Disease resistance – Significantly higher resistance to fungus such as Pythium than rockwool.
- Can be coated with fungicides and insect growth regulators for disease and pest prevention with significant increase in product added value.
- Soluble silica – High content in soluble silica. Different horticulture and entomology research groups (USDA, University of Davies) have been studying the benefits of high soluble Silica concentration in root media for disease and pest prevention for several crops.
There are many factors to consider in a greenhouse operation. The choice of growing media is among the most important ones, only second to water and energy consumption.
Until recently, the most common growing media in hydroponic greenhouse vegetable production was mineral wool. However, in commercial hydroponic greenhouses, grower’s increasingly high level of technical knowledge and experience, is leading to significant shifts in the choice of growing media. This shift is being driven by several needs: increase control over the root zone, recognized benefits from media with greater steer ability, reduce labor and energy costs, and reduce post-use disposal issues, environmental impact, and the possibility to capitalize on the added-value of using more sustainable agriculture inputs and practices.
A growing media that can satisfy all these requirements, while maintaining consistent high yields and quality, will satisfy the three sustainability principles of environmental consciousness, social responsibility, and economical profitability, and will play a important role in the future sustainable agriculture.
Growstones is such a player.
Advantages of Working with Growstone
- Customized to meet the growers needs
- Proven yields
- Ultimate in steerability
- Release of silica over time
- Level of O2 available to the roots
- Easy to irrigate