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FARMING OF VEGETABLES IN SPACE-LIMITED ENVIRONMENTS

ABSTRACT

COSMOS, Ahead of Print. Vegetables that contain most of the essential components of human nutrition are perishable and cannot be stocked. To secure vegetable supply in space limited cities such as Singapore, there are different farming methods to produce vegetables. These include low-cost urban community gardening and innovative rooftop and vertical farms integrated with various technologies such as hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics. However, for large-scale vegetable production in space-limited Singapore, we need to develop farming systems that not only increase productivity many-fold per unit of land but also produce all types of vegetable, all year-round for today and the future. This could be resolved through integrated vertical aeroponic farming system. Manipulation of root-zone (RZ) environments such as cooling the RZ, modifying mineral nutrients and introducing elevated RZ CO2 using aeroponics can further boost crop productivity beyond what can be achieved from more efficient use of land area. We could also adopt energy saving light emitting diodes (LEDs) for vertical aeroponic farming system to promote uniform growth and to improve the utilisation of limited space via shortening the growth cycle, thus improving vegetable production in a cost-effective manner.