The Spacer, developed by the Spanish company Hydroponic Systems, brought hydroponic growers the benefits of soil level gutters: better ventilation between the drain channel and the substrate with a reduction of disease pressure and a healthier root system as result. In the years after, these benefits were also brought to growers using elevated gutters. Now the team launches the HS Evolution Growing System: an elevated gutter system that has a Spacer on a metal gutter integrated into the design. "Integrating this into a single system will revolutionize hydroponic growing systems because it combines the benefits of the Spacer with the advantages of the elevated system on a metal gutter, that makes it more robust. The new system can be used with height-adjustable floor supports and in a hanging version.
Soil level gutters
Since 2014, when Hydroponic Systems was born, technological innovation and the development of new options for hydroponic growing systems, has put the company at the forefront. "It has become a fundamental part of our DNA. Thus, we came to the market, hand in hand with our Spacer, which at that time revolutionized hydroponic growing systems with soil level gutters, providing a number of benefits that, in the end, made a big difference from the way they were handled before," Fued Alle with Hydroponic Systems says.
"Today, it is more than clear that the use of Spacers to support substrate bags over soil level gutters in hydroponic crops, contributes to the achievement of better yields in crops, due to the benefits it brings," he adds, showing that the the Spacer provides a firm support on which to place the substrate bags, allowing the optimal flow of drainage below. "This way it prevents roots from leaving the substrate bag and having contact with drainage flow. Also it maximizes moisture accumulation under the substrate, allowing efficient drainage." Therefore, it helps to prevent the formation of algae, fungi and that root diseases and contagion among plants proliferate.
In addition, aeration between the substrate bag and the drainage flow is enhanced. "As a result, Spacer allows savings in the use of fertilizers, phytosanitary products, and even labor (reduced work of cutting roots coming out of the bag, or lading bags, or opening more drains in the bags, etc.). Consequently, Spacer contributes to less plant loss during the production cycle, and to the extension of the cycle, resulting in increases in production in quality and quantity."
The next step was to bring all these benefits achieved through the use of Spacer in hydroponic soil level gutter systems, to elevated gutter systems. "The great advantage of an elevated gutter system is that it allows air flow below all plants. By placing a Spacer on the top of an elevated gutter, all the benefits of the Spacer are added to the advantages of the elevated system," he points out.
"With the excellent results that were obtained, we decided again to innovate and brought to market the first version of an Elevated Gutter System, which already incorporated a Spacer in its own design."
A metal lattice base was used, on which a polypropylene gutter was placed, and the system was crowned with a Spacer. "In this way, all the benefits of Spacer and all the advantages of an elevated system were combined into one system."
The next step: HS Evolution Growing System
Now the team with Hydroponic Systems, is again proud to keep a foot ahead in the development and innovation of new products and systems as they are launching the drainage collection system for hydroponic crops: HS Evolution Growing System.
The HS Evolution Growing System is an elevated gutter system that has a Spacer on a metal gutter integrated into the design. "Integrating this into a single system will revolutionize hydroponic growing systems because it combines the benefits of the Spacer with the advantages of the elevated system on a metal gutter, that makes it more robust," Fued shows.
"The HS Evolution Growing System provides greater aeration between the substrate and the gutter through which drainage water flows. Also it prevents the roots from leaving the bag and coming into contact with the drainage water, improving its circulation and flow, while preventing moisture from accumulating underneath."
Also the better root development throughout the cycle is promoted. "Plants remain more vigorously at the end of the long cycle, and fewer plants are lost during the long cycle. This way of growing prevents the proliferation of root diseases, allowing to further prolong production cycles, and to obtain better yields."
With the Spacer integrated into its structure, which is where the substrate bag is supported, the HS Evolution Growing System, in addition to all of the above, prevents that when the temperature rises and the sheet of the metal gutter is heated, the substrate bag is also heated by contact with the metal. "The roots resent it, as in all other metal elevated gutter systems."
The HS Evolution Growing System is very versatile and can have different applications, depending on the type of support being used: It can be used in vegetable crops, with height-adjustable floor supports. It can also be used in strawberry crops, if tube-like supports are placed, to raise the gutters to 1m height. In the same way, it can be hung to the structure of a greenhouse, if hooks, tensioners and cables are used. What's more, the HS Evolution Growing System, in its hanging version, can be the basis for mobile strawberry growing systems: Swinging System and Lifting System.
Swinging Mobile System
"In short, we are again proudly leading the way, revolutionizing elevated gutter systems for hydroponic cultivation, with the launch of the HS Evolution Growing System," Fued concludes. "It promises, just as at the time when the Spacer for ground level gutter systems came out, to be a success and set a new standard, redefining the concept of an optimal elevated gutter system."