Growing without daylight (SPOC).

Growing without daylight is a new development, that takes horticulture to another level. With Light Emitting Diodes (LED) it is possible to offer plants the perfect light conditions, while other climatic factors are also completely controlled. Since there are no further external factors influencing the climate, all decisions in climate control have to be made by the grower. Effective climate control demands in depth knowledge of plant physiology.

HAS University has more than 5 years experience in successfully growing crops in climate chambers exclusively lit by LED. We now offer an E-learning course to share this knowledge and experience with professionals from horticulture and related industries with special interest in vertical or city farming.

Professionals working in the horticulture industry at bachelor's level (or higher) and those with a bachelor's degree in biology and related sciences will be accepted. 

What can you expect

The E-learning course consists of ten modules. Each module consists of short lectures, live chats with the course teacher, a platform to chat with fellow course members, knowledge tests and assignments. You must first pass the test at the end of each module, before you can continue with the next module.

During the course, several crops are grown under different light recipes at a HAS climate chamber, location 's-Hertogenbosch - The Netherlands. The choice of crops and light recipes are made jointly by course participants and teachers. To document progress, pictures are taken and data are collected regularly and shared with the participants.
The course content is primarily related to practical applications, and more complex theoretical content is only added when absolutely necessary. Several commercially grown crops will discussed during the course. At the end of the course you will have evidence-based ideas about potential crops for use in vertical farming, the costs involved and the yield potential of these crops in their specific farming systems.
 

Course content per module

1. Introduction
This module describes vertical farming, where it can be found and what is and can be produced using this method.

2. Water and nutrients
This module focuses on the importance of water quality and how to prepare fertiliser solutions. 
 
3. Soil and substrate
In this module the many soil and substrate types are described. Participants are encouraged to make rational choices in soil and substrate types based on the growing system. 
 
4. Seeds, cuttings and getting started
Focus on the quality of seeds and propagation material, how to initiate and spatially position your crop in order to have a perfect cultivation start.
 
5. Photosynthesis
In this module photosynthesis is explored in depth. Plants have more than one system to deal with different light wavelengths / colors. Light is the most expensive of all factors involved in growth and understanding photosynthesis helps to use it in the most effectively.
 
6. Respiration
Plants make sugars from light, but most of the sugar is used for energy storage. Plants release energy in the form of respiration, which occurs at a later stage. This enables the plant to use the energy for growth.
 
7. Transpiration
More than 90% of all the water given to plants is transpired. Transpiration is evidently very important for plants, and is more than just a plant cooling system. At the end of this module you will know the ins and outs of transpiration.
 
8. Temperature, humidity and CO2 control
The three preceding modules focused on the main processes in the plant. In this module attention is paid on how to handle these three main processes with climate control. The effects of temperature, humidity and CO2 on plant growth are explained in this module.
 
9. Light
Light is the most important growth factor in a climate chamber / closed system. Day length, light quality (colors) and quantity (Intensity or Daily Light Sum) must be managed in the correct way. The main subject during this module is how to manage light in a closed system.
 
10. Crops, varieties and yield potential
After this final module participants understand what crops can be grown in a closed system, how the choice of variety is made and how they can make their crop profitable in the chosen growth system.