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Horticulture Centre

Horticulture Centre

Technologists at the Horticulture Centre work with both students and industry, in modern production and training facilities.

The centre includes a Protected Crops Unit, Hardy Ornamental Nursery Stock Unit and the Biosecurity Unit for ornamental and edible crops.

The Glasshouse covers an area of 2000 metres squared, and stands 4 metres tall providing a stable aerial environment. There are six independent compartments with different growing systems linked by a central corridor. The Glasshouse uses computer-controlled heating, ventilation, supplementary lights, feeding regimes and screens control the environment and save energy. Wide glass panes of 1.2 m x 0.8 m allow in more light, improving crop productivity. A modern glasshouse block has six environmentally controlled growing environments demonstrating systems, such as, nutrient film technique and ebb and flood floors.

Ebb and flood floor for large pot plants with independent flood and drain system to each of the four sections with computer controlled watering and feeding direct to the roots at set intervals.

Recirculating nutrient solution system creates an environment for plants to be grown without soil using a hydroponic system. The aerial environment is enriched with carbon dioxide to increases photosynthesis and productivity.

There are poly-tunnels and nursery facilities for growing trees and shrubs, pot plants, bedding plants, soft-fruits and cut flowers. The poly-tunnels provide protection for soil and container grown species throughout the seasons. The tunnels offer wind-breaking fabric side ventilation, temperature-controlled automatic side ventilation and demonstrate irrigation methods including overhead, nozzles, trickle tape dripper leads and sand beds.

A ‘hardening off’ area allows containers of hardy nursery stock species to be finished. The area has a gravel base with land drainage with 1.5 m high rabbit-proof fencing with wind-break fabric forming six enclosed areas. Wire supports tall free standing shrubs and irrigation in the form of raised sprinklers, dripper lines and drip nozzles are used.

These production resources are used both for teaching and for technology development projects.