The Role of Cover Material in Soil Water Retention and Growth of Tropaeolum majus and Fragaria spp. by Vertical Farming using Hanging Baskets in Urban Agriculture

도시농업을 위한 저관리 용기형 수직녹화에서 피복재가 토양수분 및 한련화와 딸기의 식물생장에 미치는 영향

  • Ju, Jin-Hee (Department of Green Technology Convergence, College of Science Technology, Konkuk University) ;
  • Yang, Ji (Department of Green Technology Convergence, College of Science Technology, Graduate School of Konkuk University) ;
  • Park, Ju-Young (Department of Green Technology Convergence, College of Science Technology, Graduate School of Konkuk University) ;
  • Yoon, Yong-Han (Department of Green Technology Convergence, College of Science Technology, Konkuk University)
  • 주진희 (건국대학교 녹색기술융합학과) ;
  • 양지 (건국대학교 대학원 녹색기술융합학과) ;
  • 박주영 (건국대학교 대학원 녹색기술융합학과) ;
  • 윤용한 (건국대학교 녹색기술융합학과)
  • Received : 2018.01.19
  • Accepted : 2018.03.30
  • Published : 2018.05.31


Vertical farming systems offer many advantages in urban spaces. They have also been proposed as an engineering solution to increase the productivity per unit area of cultivated land by extending crop production in the vertical dimension. However, soil water retention is a major constraint affecting the plant environment. This study analyzed the effects of growth environment of Tropaeolum majus and Fragaria spp., on the vertical farming system, by using four different types of cover material types including sphagnum moss (Control), a shading net (S.N.), multi-layered fabric (M.L.F.), and non-woven fabric (N.W.F.). The volumetric soil moisture contents and plant characteristics were investigated from May to September 2014. Plant materials were individually cultivated in hanging baskets measuring $30{\times}17{\times}17cm$, filled with a mixture of soil and perlite, and placed at 1.5m height. Each treatment was performed in quadruplicate and consisted of five plants, amounting to a total of 20 plants. The analysis indicated that different covers were associated with multiple functions and soil water retention improvements may have a positive impact on the vertical farming system. The difference in soil water retention increased in the following order: M.L.F. > Control > N.W.F. > S.N.. Furthermore, the differences in plant height and survival rate increased in the following order: M.L.F. > Control > N.W.F. > S.N. Therefore, M.L.F yielded satisfactory good response for the vertical farming system of cover materials. Our results clearly demonstrate that vertical spaces represent an attractive alternative to urban farming and suggest that further increases in yield may be achieved via different cover materials in vertical farming using hanging baskets.


  1. Besthorn, F. H., 2013, Vertical farming: social work and sustainable urban agriculture in an age of global food crises, Australian Social Work, 66, 187-203.
  2. Choi, Y. J., Chun, H., Choi, Y. H., Yum, S. H., 2007, Nutritional components content of oriental melon fruits cultivated under different greenhouse covering non-woven fabrics, Journal of Bio-Environment Control, 16, 72-77.
  3. Christenhusz, M. J. M., 2012, Tropaeolum majus, Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 29(4), 331-340.
  4. Dionysios, T., Ian, D., Martin, M., 2016, Vertical farming increases lettuce yield per unit area compared to conventional horizontal hydroponics, Food and Energy Security, 5, 184-191.
  5. Garg, A., Balodi, R., 2014, Recent trends in agriculture: vertical farming and organic farming, Advances in Plants and Agriculture Research, 1, 1-4.
  6. Hong, S. J., Kim, H. K., Park, S. W., 2001, Effect of mulching materials on growth and flowering of oriental hybrids lilies in alpine area, Kor J. Hort. Sci. & Technol, 4, 585-590.
  7. Ju, J. H., Kim, H. R., Kim, W. T., Choi, E. Y., Yoon, Y. H., 2015, Plant growth assessment of flowering shrub species in a vertical greenery system with different cover materials and substrates for low maintenance, J. People Plants Environ, 5, 371-378.
  8. Ju, J. H., Lee, S. Y., Yoon, Y. H., 2013, Effect of organic soil conditioner ratio on the soil moisture content and growth of Cotoneater horizontalis in the container type for wall-planting under non-irrigation, Journal of Environmental Science International, 22, 17-23.
  9. Kim, I. J., Kim, M. J., Nam, S. Y., Lee, C. H., Kim, H. S., 2003, Effects of mulching materials on growth, yield and weed occurrence of Polygonatum sibiricum REDOUT, Kor. J Weed. Sci, 23, 34-39.
  10. Kwon, J. K., Choi, Y. H., Park, D. K., Lee, J. H., Um, Y. C., Park, J. C., 2001, Optical and physical properties of covering materials for plastic greenhouse, Protected Horticulture and Plant Factory, 10(3), 141-147.
  11. Lee, J. A, You, E. H., Kim, K. J., Kwon, H. J., Song, J. S., 2011, Effect of storage non-woven fabrics type on quality maintenance in edible flower, Flower Res. J., 19(4), 212-218.
  12. Marcia, S. P, Franco,M. L., Marcia, I. G., 2008, Bioactive compounds and quantification of total ellagic acid in strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.), Food Chemistry, 107, 1629-1635
  13. Perez, G., Rincon, L., Vila, A., Gonzalez, J. M., Cabeza, L. F., 2011, Green vertical systems for buildings as passive systems for energy savings, Applied Energy, 88, 4854-4859.
  14. Specht, K., Siebert, R., Hartmann, I., Freisinger, U. B., Sawicka, M., Werner, A., Thomaier, S., Henckel, D., Walk, H., Dierich, A., 2014, Urban agriculture of the future: an overview of sustainability aspects of food production in and on buildings, Agric. Hum. Values, 31, 33-51.
  15. Uhm, M. J., Kwon, S. W., Song, Y. J., 2014, Influences of tunnel covering materials and seeding dates on the growth and productivity of water spinach (Ipomoea aquatic F.) under unheated greenhouse, Protected Horticulture and Plant Factory, 23, 349-355.
  16. Vachon, C., D'Aprano, G., Lacroix, M., Letendre, M., 2003, Effect of edible coating process and irradiation treatment of strawberry fragaria spp. on storage -keeping quality, Journal of Food Science, 68(2), 608-611.
  17. Whittinghill, L. J., Rowe, D. B., 2011, The role of green roof technology in urban agriculture, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 27(4), 314-322.