Evaluating a novel indoor compost product as an organic fertilizer to grow diverse crops in a greenhouse
The objective of Phase 1 of this project was to evaluate the potential of the product of VCycene’s intelligent composting device to be classified as a mature compost, as per the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment‘s (CCME) Guidelines for Compost Quality. Phase 2 of the project further investigated the use of this product as a growing media amendment in a greenhouse environment.
VCycene required domain expertise to address the production, evaluation, and appropriate use of the product from their intelligent biochemical composting system as a safe and effective organic fertilizer in a controlled environment.
The Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) team generated, and subsequently evaluated, product from alpha versions of VCycene’s composting device. The research team evaluated the quality of the product against the CCME’s Guidelines for Compost Quality. According to the laboratory analysis, the product was determined safe for handling (no pathogens), with acceptable heavy metal content, and passed the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s (CCME) Guidelines for Compost Quality, thus determining the ability to begin Phase 2 of the project.
The HESIC team used the compost produced in Phase 1 of the project to amend greenhouse growing media as a Phase 2. The HESIC team grew two crops in this media blend, a leafy green and a fruiting crop, in the Niagara College (NC) Greenhouse located at the Daniel J. Patterson campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), Ontario. This study provided feedback to the VCycene team with respect to the effectiveness of the alpha version of the novel composting device to produce safe, useable organic fertilizer for both leafy green and fruiting crops. VCycene is currently working on a beta prototype of their novel composter that integrates feedback learned from the outcomes of this project.
Funding: The project is being funded by the Niagara College-led Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN), through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).