Extension of Crop Harvest Period Through Customised LED Light Recipes
The majority of the local indoor farmers grow crops that are harvested for their leaves. One way to increase the growth rate of such leafy greens is to provide a longer period of light. However, some of the crops grown, e.g., spinach, are long-day plants that flower when the light periods are longer than their critical day-length. While important to a plant’s life cycle, this vegetative to reproductive phase change is undesirable for farmers, not only because it shortens the harvest period hence reducing the yield, but also because it changes the taste profile. To tackle this problem, a light recipe that was able to suppress flowering was formulated. Plants grown under this light recipe showed a faster growth rate than those grown under flowering-suppressing short-day photoperiod. Moreover, they do not flower even when the light period has surpassed the critical day-length. Positive results were obtained when this light recipe was tested on spinach and arugula. This technology would work for other long-day crops, and it will be beneficial to indoor farmers who are interested to try it.