Recommendations

Thermal system requirements

To achieve the maximum benefits from AQUATHERMAT®’s, it is important to choose an appropriate heating source. Many heating systems are compatible with AQUATHERMAT®:

Suggested design for benches of more than 50 ft long

Suggested design for benches of more than 50 ft long, to avoid heat loss at the mat’s end.

Irrigation

The amount of watering will be calculated and adjusted according to the properties of substrate used and the type of plants grown.  Subirrigation is not recommended for seedlings and cuttings.  Therefore, we recommend to use a mist watering until the root system is well established.

Small quantities of water pulsated regularly are preferable to one long irrigation cycle (e.g. 3 cycles of 3 minutes each rather than a single 9-minute cycle). The Microfab upper layer will therefore have time to dry which prevents the growth of algae on the surface.

 

Benches

Benches must be flat and level so as to prevent any accumulation of water. To maximize AQUATHERMAT® energy  efficiency, it is recommended to cover the table’s surface with an insulating material which is resistant to humid and hot environments (e.g. styrofoam).

Containers

The container or tray design must be accessible to sub-irrigation systems. It must have at least one drainage hole at its base which stays in contact with AQUATHERMAT ®.

  • Seedling or cuttings tray as well as multi-cell trays.
  • Pots of 7.5cm (3 in), Model AZE with 2 levels of holes, including 4 in the lower one for capillary rise and 4 on the upper level for draining purposes.
  • Trays: the bottom must be open so as to allow the base of the container to touch AQUATHERMAT® directly.

Substrate

It is vital that the heating of the substrate be regulated at an optimal temperature for cultivation. This typically means that the control is achieve by using a probe in the substrate.

High-quality substrates optimize capillary action and maximize the efficiency of the AQUATHERMAT® system. A mix which contains more than 50% of sphagnum peat ensures excellent results.

  • A minimum of 30% (ideally 50%) of sphagnum peat or coconut fibers.
  • Avoid materials whose particles are too fine (less than 0.25mm) or too crude (more than 10mm).
  • The substrate’s water retention capacity can be increased by adding a wetting agent to the irrigation water (10ppm).

If irrigating by spray, surfactant agents must be sprayed on the anti-root layer so  as to ensure instant water penetration.

Fertilization

Algae-based liquid fertilizers and fish emulsions should be avoided. For plants with well-developed roots, it is recommended to reduce the usual amount (up to 50%). All other types of soluble fertilizers can be used with AQUATHERMAT®.

Important! – Pesticides and growth regulators

Growth regulators and pesticides should be used sparingly. Systemic pesticides applied by root absorption (sub-irrigation) as well as those having considerable residual properties are to be avoided with AQUATHERMAT®. Foliage application of pesticides is the recommended method provided within the norms and recommendations of your agricultural engineer.