Controlled Environment Agriculture

Full Sized Spinach Production System

Horticultural Methods of CEA Spinach Production on a Commercial Scale

David de Villiers

Cornell University CEA Program is developing a Controlled Environment Agriculture Spinach Production system based on the technology developed and lessons learned during the construction and operation of the CEA Commercial Lettuce Production Facility.

The CEA Commercial Spinach Production Project has accomplished the following:

  • Developed methods to prevent root disease in hydroponically-grown spinach without the use of chemical pesticides (ongoing).
  • Developed a germination system to produce consistently uniform seedlings.
  • Selected cultivars suitable for CEA commercial production.
  • Developed CEA cultural production system.
  • Quantified the nutritional value of spinach grown under CEA conditions.
  • Quantified the energy requirements of spinach grown under CEA conditions.
  • Determined the best ways to market spinach in retail and food service outlets.

The research project was funded by NYSERDA and NYSEG.

View the final report of this project (pdf)

Spinach growing in a tray

Spinach production testing to determine optimal time of harvest in a controlled environment are underway at Cornell University.

Seed germination

Methods to provide uniform timing of spinach seed germination have been developed in Cornell CEA.

Seed holding technique

Seed holding techniques are being tested with a variety of materials. Felt strip 'sandwiches' hold seedlings during growth in the hydroponic system.

Iron-deficient spinach looks yellow

Spinach nutrient solution studies show the effects of iron-deficiency in spinach seedlings.