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Fresh air, sunny days and a good night’s sleep help boost our immune system. Plants need sunshine too. But can they be strengthened at night?

A Dutch artist sought to provide an answer recently when investigating the influence of UV light. A 20,000-square-metre field of leeks was illuminated at night by a combination of solar-powered red and blue LEDs.

The different light effects not only enhanced growth but were beneficial to the plants’ defense systems. Potentially reducing the use of pesticides by 50%.

Moreover, it seems other kinds of crop are just as receptive. Greater sustainability in agriculture, particularly in the Netherlands, one of the industry’s biggest exporters, can only be a good thing.

And not just for the plants…

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