First crop trial Certhon Innovation Centre


Relatively little information is available about daylight-free cultivation of strawberries. During the first experiment in the Certhon Innovation Centre, the main focus was on what production levels could be reached by applying a basic cultivation strategy.

Cultivation information

Breed: Two common June-bearing cultivars were used: Sonata and Elsanta.

Propagation: All plants are propagated by Van Den Elzen Plants as tray plants. The plants have had one preventive pesticide treatment on arrival because they were propagated in an open field.

Trial: The cultivars were grown on a cocos substrate in 1 meter containers which were placed on gutters. Four sections were in use, each had a gutter of 4m and four containers placed on it.

Density/meter: 10 plants per m² or 9 plants per container.

Lighting: Each gutter was equipped with dimmable self-designed water-cooled LED fixtures, using HPI type daylight spectrum.

Cultivation time course:
Planting date: week 15
First flowering: week 19
First harvest: week 24
End of cultivation: week 31


Strawberry cultivation, three months after transplanting.

The experiment of the June-bearing strawberries started on the March 9th 2018, following by a production cycle of 16 weeks (8 weeks of vegetative growth and 8 weeks for production). With better climate control indoor, both productivity and quality can be improved compared to strawberries grown in greenhouses or open fields.

Specifically, yield per growth cycle during this first cultivation round, yield increase and Brix value of each cultivar can be found in the table below (Reference is a year-round production in an unlighted Dutch greenhouse (KWIN 2014-2015)):

Cultivar First harvest after transplanting (days) Production per cycle (kg/m2) Increase (Certhon experiment - greenhouse) (%) Brix (°)
Sonata 63 8,4 80,0 8,4
Elsanta 63 5,4 23,2 9,4

In the next experiment, a multilayer system will be used with several different substrates to increase production level/m2. Besides that, the focus will be on optimizing the lighting and irrigation strategy.

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Watch the cultivation of the strawberries in the Certhon Innovation Centre