Research Facility LVG Running Aponix Barrels

Staatliche Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Gartenbau Heidelberg (LVG) is running a test of 3 different soilless systems starting June 2016. The systems can be seen at the open door day on the 10th of July 2016 (see: invitation). For the aponix barrels mini grow cubes are used in a fully automated hydroponic circulation growing leafy green salads. Types used: Descartes and Barlach. There are 6 standing barrels each having 11 ring segments, height 2m, 132 grow spaces each. The test is conducted in a conventional greenhouse.

Irrigation is on a timer 5min irrigation – 10min pause. Please check the images in the gallery on this page. They show the first iteration of the test of the new setup:

  • Images with the smaller plants were made 7 days after transplantation of the seedlings.
  • Images with the bigger plants were made 21 days into the production.
  • Harvest is planned for day 28.


First findings at a glance:

  • The plants in the lower sections look the same as the plants on the top. There is even growth between the different levels and also on the different sides. We expected the plants in different areas on the barrel surface to be a little more heterogenous. It came as a very pleasant surprise that the plants from different areas on the barrel surface look uniform like they would have been grown in a conventional horizontal NFT channel. Check out the documentation images.
  • Since we are using the prototype parts not yet having implemented the inside wing structure that the series Version 2.0 will later have, a potential uneven distribution of liquid fertilizer inside the barrel could also have played a role in resulting in uneven plant growth. In fact this was not a problem as expected, the production version will completely eliminate this with their inside wings diverting water exactly and very concentrated onto the root zones of each plant.