STATUS OF SOILLESS CULTURE IN EUROPE
In the symposium of Parnu (Estland) of the International Peat Society a paper was presented by Claes Bohlin (Sweden) where he stated that in Europe we are using about 16 million m3 of growing media. From this figure there were 3,5% pre-shaped products (mineral wool and different foam products) and 3,2% minerals (sand, clay, perlite and vermiculite). Calculating the amount of products that are used in hydroculture we are reaching about 600,000 m3 pre-shaped materials and about 250,000 m3 of minerals (mainly perlite and expanded clay). On top of this we have to add the coir blocs which is about 100,000 m3. In total we have about 950,000 m3 growing media used in hydroculture which correspond to about 8,500 ha. Facing these figures we can say that hydroculture became more and more popular especially in vegetable growing, cut flowers and ornamentals. The main properties which laid to this success are the physical properties of the media used and the automatic irrigation and fertilization systems. Newly developed systems for the determination of the moisture content in the growing slabs led to ideal growing conditions of water- and air-relationships. Finally a lot of research has been carried out in order to find environmental solutions for the used materials after cultivation.
Verdonck, O. (2007). STATUS OF SOILLESS CULTURE IN EUROPE. Acta Hortic. 742, 35-39