In Kent, Thanet Earth plans to produce 15 percent of the UK’s salad vegetables using high-intensity greenhouses (some covering almost 10 hectares), and reduce imports from the Netherlands.
Thanet Earth has devoted three of the seven glasshouses they have planned for tomatoes. Steel columns support a layer of ‘high-transluncency glass,’ according to Icon magazine. While the floor of the greenhouses are compacted earth, the plants grown in rockwool. “No soil is used for growing. The plants are carried in troughs that are suspended from the ceiling, hanging a metre above the floor. This height means that they can be picked without the workers bending over. They are planted in Rockwool, an inert substrate, and fed with nutrients through the irrigation system.”
The greenhouses are climate controlled and monitored for performance. Steve McVickers, Thanet Earth’s managing director told Icon: “Temperature, humidity, the amount of water in the Rockwool; we’re looking at the growth of the plants, we’re looking at the ventilation, we’re looking at where the sun is, we’re looking whether it’s raining, we’re looking at the wind direction. The greenhouse is constantly adjusting itself.” The farm is also green, using a CHP plant, and reservoirs that store water for use in summer.