Mark Bilton Studied at Brimsbury College in Pulborough, U.K. and was introduced to N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique) by the author Sir Allan Cooper of the book “The ABC of N.F.T”. Mark became the for runner in the G.F.T (Granular Film Technique) in South Africa and was awarded a Honorary Membership to the Association for Vegetable under Protection. Using one of the cleanest methods of growing which never touches the ground which is with growing crops in water and never touches the soil, known commonly as “Superponix”. With 40 years of growing and supplying in Supermarkets throughout South Africa as far as hydroponics.
Intro to SUPERPONICS:
Mr Bilton has always grown on the ground until now where he grows using a grow house / tunnel of about 70m in length. In this tunnel is where he designed a “Super-Table” which is 62.5m long, 8m wide and supports 35 galleys.
This system eliminates the hazard of soil contamination, because the plant never comes into contact with the soil.
There is a drop of 1,5% from top to bottom which means water runs from top to bottom from specified tanks and is circulated there for a little to no loss of water makes this procedure ECO friendly and recycles water.
Temperature is controlled by fans on both sides of the tunnel and under the table of galleys an irrigation systems which comes on when temperatures reaches 25’c, to keep it a static and controlled environment. Being under plastic, over the top and on both sides of the tunnel and then also covered with Anti-Viral net, which allows air movement but also keeps insects out.
Over the Anti-Viral Net is a protective layer of reinforced plastic which can be rolled up on hot days and dropped when cold. Due to Supertech in the ‘Superponics’ method of growing, Mr Bilton is able to raise 13 – 14 crops a year without leafing.
Because the crops are never sprayed with insecticide or fungicide and has no contamination, there is no need to wash the crops, therefor handling the crops are only allowed when wearing surgical gloves, clean work clothes. On both sides of the tunnel foot pit and basin are located for the decontamination of shoes and hands before working with the crops are allowed. Baby Leaves are packed into a bag that extends its shelf live to 10 days.
Mr Bilton specializes with 10 different varieties of lettuce : Aquino, Cherokee, Galatea, Gaugin, Kibrille, Olite, Rafael, Star Fighter, Telex and Versai. These seeds are acquired form Holland.