Whenever the idea of starting crop farming comes to mind, the farmer starts thinking which way to tow: should it be Open Field or Greenhouse way?
It can be confidently said that greenhouse farming of crops is more superior to open field farming, however, has to be adopted and handled with more caution and care.
We intend to focus more on greenhouse technology in today’s discussion.
A greenhouse is a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame.
Because the interior of a greenhouse is exposed to sunlight, it becomes much warmer than the temperature outside, and this protects its contents in cold weather. On the other hand, Open Field Farms are not within these controlled environments and are totally dependent on the natural ecosystem.
Setting aside these ‘obvious’ perceptions of the two cultivation systems, we shall be dwelling on the facts.
Growing crops under greenhouse conditions, instead of an open field, can enhance quality, quadruple production and enable growers cultivate their crop over a longer window of time. It can significantly increase yields over what is possible under open field production when carried out correctly.
Greenhouse extends your growing season as harvests can last up to eight months compared to one month in the open fields. Any gardener or farmer knows planting crops outside depends wholly on weather patterns and conditions that must be suitable for seeds to take root and thrive.
Many different techniques can be used to keep temperatures stable with a greenhouse, causing less stress to the plants and promoting strong growth much earlier in the year. Some popular techniques involve creating thermal solar mass by using natural materials that readily absorb, store and release thermal heat, and using man-made heaters and heating fans.
Expand the variety among your produce by using greenhouse. As vegetables come in and out of season, prices fluctuate accordingly based on availability, demand, and production methods among many others.
Investing in a greenhouse gives your operation the opportunity to provide a variety of different produce on the “off season” creating greater availability for your customers in times of low supply and having the ability to grow new produce or flowers that do not typically thrive in your climate.
Not having to worry about external elements gives you almost complete control to provide the best growing environment for your crops. Minimize external threats to your crops. There’s nothing worse than coming out to your newly sprouted seedlings to find that a furry little bunny made a tasty salad out of the dainty leaves that once occupied your defenseless new stems.
In your greenhouse, you control what comes in and goes out. Besides providing shelter from threatening weather, this control allows you to minimize introduction and spreading of diseases, troublesome varmints waiting to snatch up your delicious greenery and to control temperatures to keep your plants from getting too chilly.
Crops from greenhouses are protected from pests, diseases and other hazards in the open field. The closed nature of the greenhouses reduces the risks of soil borne tomato diseases. For instance, diseases spread when wet soil is splashed onto tomato leaves while it rains (or when using overhead irrigation systems). By use of drip irrigation, the amount of moisture on the tomato leaves, further reducing the risk of fungal tomato diseases that thrive on wet foliage. Pest control is also easier in a greenhouse than with outdoors tomato farming. Birds are a huge nuisance for outdoor tomato farmers this can be minimized through adoption greenhouse. Minimum water wastage is another advantage of greenhouse. Drip irrigation systems that are mostly preferred in greenhouses have no surface run-off since the water is delivered directly to the root area of the plants. Water is distributed uniformly, which prevents clogging.
Continued in Pt. 2