Production Nursery

As plantlets leave the laboratory they move directly to hardening off trays in the production nursery which is a multi span insect proof construction. The external cladding of the greenhouses is polycarbonate which provides a  robust protective structure as well as providing better light penetration to the crop below. The diffusing surface on the the polycarbonate reduces shading and provides improved light penetration into the lower sections of the canopy maximizing growth.

A fully  automated environmental system controlled via a PLC maintains ideal growth conditions for the production of tubers. Irrigation and temperature control is regulated by this system as well as monitoring of conditions in the laboratory and cool room. Data is collected via the PLC and used to assist with management decisions of the crop.

Plants are established in pots in a potting soil medium specifically targeted to the requirements of potatoes, plants are irrigated via sprinkler irrigation initially and then transferred to drippers which are then inserted into each pot for the remainder of the growth cycle. Tubers are assessed throughout their growing period and harvested when optimum size and maturity are reached. Harvesting is carried out by hand,  tubers are sorted and washed ready for grading and counting then placed into poly net bags  ready for the cool store. Click on the link below to see a flow chart diagram of the mini tuber production cycle at Solan. This is repeated up to 4 times per season to produce the required number of mini tubers ordered by clients. 

Established Tissue Cultures
Production Nursery – Maturing Potato Plants on Raised Benches
Tubers are gently harvested as they go through a preliminary into crates for washing, after which they are transferred to the mini tuber counting room to cure prior to grading and counting

Water for Irrigation and General Cleaning

Water used on the site is put through an Ultra Filtration process and held in storage tanks for irrigation and cleaning purposes.

An evaporative wet wall meets the cooling needs required in the local climate to maintain plant growth at an optimum rate.

Thrip proof netting is installed on all entry and exits associated with the air conditioning system and as fresh outside air is drawn through the evaporative pads, pests are prevented access. Filtered water from the storage tanks is pumped and recycled over the pads cooling the air entering the facility. This cooled air moves through the crop canopy and is exhausted on the opposite side of the greenhouse though louvres which close upon shutdown of the air conditioning system.

Canisters of live biological predators delivered for IPM program

An Integrated Pest Management program is a key element of Solan’s production system whereby beneficial insects are released weekly into the growing crop to combat potential pest incursions. This combined with appropriate cultural practices has almost eliminated the use of chemicals within the greenhouses and has provided scope to use far less toxic products should they be required to target specific pests without harming the beneficial predators that are released.

The results are a strong and healthy plant and a healthy working environment for staff.