Crop type: Arugula, Broccoli Sprouts, Leafy Greens, Microgreen Mustard, Microgreen Pea Sprout, Microgreens, Sunflower Sprouts
Increase yield by 13% over the winter growing season, Greenbelt Microgreens turned to Heliospectra LED lighting to deliver fresh, flavorful and highest quality arugula and microgreens to more than 400 retail stores across Toronto, Canada.
Founded by Ian Adamson, Greenbelt Microgreens grows 15 different varieties of organic microgreens and living lettuce in a 3.5 acre state-of-the art greenhouse.
Pairing Heliospectra's Elixia adjustable spectrum LED grow lights with the helioCORE™ control system, Greenbelt ensured their plants received the precise amounts of light needed despite seasonal changes in natural daylight. Maintaining consistent harvest of grams per tray was key for retail sales.
"Quite simply, we receive less hours of light and less light intensity in the winter than we do in the summer. This creates challenging seasonal swings in our production numbers and our greenhouse space planning...
For Greenbelt Microgreens, it was never a question of if we required supplemental lighting, but when we would do it. Seasonal supplemental lighting maintains our crop quality and allows us to meet continual retail demand and accurately forecast our yields.
Alice Farris, Head Grower
Microgreen leaves tend to grow thinner and are more delicate during the short, dark days of winter. Greenbelt is able to maintain the summer quality of crops, in yields, color, and in texture. The helioCORE DLI, On Target (PPFD) controls and dynamic automatic adjustments of light are critical to crop performance year-round. Yield differences can happen within hours given Greenbelt's short production cycles (between 4 to 12 days from seed to store shelf).
The helioCORE and real-time response enabled Greenbelt to gain immediate control for consistent production, yields and crop quality, 365 days a year.
Given Ontario also has some of the highest electricity rates in North America, the ability to monitor light run times and schedule supplemental lights during the lowest cost energy hours was also a key savings benefit for Greenbelt Microgreens.
Sustainability is an important aspect of Greenbelt's business vision. Ian Adamson and his team grow in living soils using only organic cultivation methods. 100% of the rainwater collected from the greenhouse roof is recycled within the facility. They also supplement with solar energy. And innovation and automation are evident in every aspect of Greenbelt's operations.
From conveyor driven soil production lines, feed lines, automated watering booms to automatic harvesters and packaging lines, the Greenbelt team works efficiently and quickly. Their aim is to increase product quality and enhance shelf life for loyal retail customers and consumers.
(Note: Greenbelt Greenhouses has now re-focused the business on cannabis cultivation for 2019.)