Hydroponic Crop Program: Decision Support

Decision Support for Growing High Quality, High Yield Hydroponic Vegetables

TomatoTomato imageThis site is intended to help hydroponic vegetable growers decide how to adjust important growing parameters to allow for the production of high quality vegetables. Air temperature, feeding solution pH, root temperature, feeding solution electrical conductivity and relative humidity are all parameters which are easily measured and controllable in a hydroponic greenhouse. These parameters also have optimal ranges depending on the growth stage of the plant and whether it is night/day and/or sunny or cloudy. These factors taken together can determine the chance of having a successful crop. Extensive scientific literature research has been conducted to determine the optimal values for these parameters and their interactions. Scientific methods, particularly utility theory, risk assessment, and decision support theory have been used to support real tomato growing recommendations that can be made from optimal values. These methods also support the application of a decision support algorithm which can decide what parameters need to be altered and in what order such that those parameters which pose the greatest risk to the crop are to be changed first.

Ways to Access This Information

There are two ways to help growers determine the needs of their crop in this site. The first is the Graphical Primer, the second is the Interactive Decision Support System. The user may also find out more about the Science Behind This Site.

Graphical Primer

Graphical Primer200×137 air temperature graph thumbnailThe Graphical Primer allows the user to explore the optimal ranges for the growing parameters. This is done by presenting graphs which may be different for a single parameter depending on the growth stage of the plant or certain climatic conditions.

Interactive Decision Support System

Decision Model232×129 thumbnail of the tomato decision support tool.The Interactive Decision Support System is an algorithm written in Java which presents an interactive user interface. The user may enter the current values of the growing parameters the crop is experiencing and the algorithm will then determine which values need to be changed and the order of urgency for each of those parameters. This algorithm may also be used as a learning tool – hypothetical parameters may be entered, allowing the user to experiment with different growing scenerios.
Both Methods, graphical and interactive versions, are also useful learning tools. If you wish to simply increase your expertise in hydroponic tomato growth, feel free to explore and interact with all aspects of this site.