Ben and Benjamin deGoede were eager to innovate further and in 2021 they switched to Deep Flow Technique (DFT), growing leafy greens and herbs on a pond in a horticultural greenhouse on hydroponic floats from Meteor Systems.
DeGoede Farms is an American family farm based in Sumner, Washington. Father and son started a trial in 2016 to grow leafy vegetables and herbs using Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). This involves using a shallow stream of water along the naked roots of plants in a watertight gutter or on a special growing table.
Ben and Benjamin DeGoede were eager to innovate further and switched to the Deep Flow Technique (DFT) in 2021. This technique is hydroponic growing of leafy vegetables and herbs on a pond in a greenhouse on Hydroponic Floating Rafts from Meteor Systems. The difference from conventional cultivation on soil or substrate is that with DFT, the plants grow on nutrient- and oxygen-rich water in a large water basin. The goal of DeGoede Farms is a faster harvest time due to a shorter cultivation period, labour savings through efficient movement of the floats in/out of the water and improving the quality of the crop.
Ben DeGoede: ''We like the material the Meteor Systems floats are made of better than the traditional Styrofoam. The floating rafts have a longer life span because they can be cleaned better and there is less chance of algae growth compared to similar boards. Meteor Systems' floating rafts are available in different sizes and the number of planting holes is also variable. This makes cultivation flexible and various crops can be produced on them. Moreover, the investment costs are relatively low, which makes it financially attractive.''
Meanwhile, the first leafy vegetables and herbs grown on floats have been successfully harvested. DeGoede Farms plans to expand from 2 to 6 ponds in the coming years. In cooperation with the experts of Meteor Systems, something beautiful can definitely grow from here.
Ben DeGoede about Meteor Systems: ''Until last year I did not know Meteor Systems very well. I heard from colleague horticulturists and came across the name Meteor Systems more often at horticultural fairs and online. The first cooperation went very well. Different ideas were discussed extensively and worked out together. The specialists of Meteor Systems are close to the growers and have thorough knowledge of the practice."
In collaboration with the Thiedemann brothers at Beeren Brüder, Ridder Drive Systems and Van der Valk Horti Systems, Meteor Systems has recently completed a Mini-Air project that allows crops to be grown under plastic covers outdoors. Beeren Brüder is an organic nursery with generations of expertise in cultivating strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The family business is run by Klaus and Frank Thiedemann and is located in the municipality Oesterwurth in the German district of Dithmarschen.