Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Jan 18, 2020 11:57:21 GMT 1
Greenhouse farming is a system of farming in which crops are cultivated in an enclosed environment. This enclosed structure is called a greenhouse. It is a building with glass sides and a glass roof although it can also be constructed using plastic. It is often used for plants that are sensitive to the weather because the greenhouse makes it easy to control temperature and humidity irrespective of the external weather conditions. Generally, the greenhouse is different from a typical farm which consists of an area of land used for growing crops or keeping animals.
Types of Greenhouse:
Based on the type of material and automation processes involved, greenhouses can be classified or grouped into three main types:
1. Glass Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse is built using glass, usually of 3mm thickness, which is known as Dutch Light or Horticultural glass grade. It’s the cheapest type of greenhouse.
2. Plastic Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse is built using moldable polymer materials such as polyethylene (or polyethylene) film or polycarbonate materials. It is more durable than the domestic greenhouse.
3. Commercial Greenhouse: This type of greenhouse is a full-service, stand-alone unit with built-in screening, heating, cooling, and lighting equipment that can be remotely controlled via a mobile device or computer. This type of greenhouse is the most expensive.
Factors that determine how you will construct your greenhouse:
You should site your greenhouse in a location where the light intensity is high and the temperature and humidity is moderate.
The two primary materials used in the construction of a greenhouse are Glass and Plastics (Moldable Polymers). Typically, glass has a higher light transmission value (97% to 98%) when compared to plastics (80% to 96%). This is why a glass greenhouse enables more light to get to the plants. On the other hand, when light passes through the plastic greenhouse it diffuses thereby penetrating an extensive area of the house.
Additionally, plastic is lighter than glass so it requires less construction work and materials when used for greenhouses. However, in some cases, plastic like the twin-wall polycarbonate (TWP) is more expensive than glass and it is more durable. Also, plastics are known for their excellent thermal insulation value (R) making them suitable for retaining the ground-generated heat inside the greenhouse.
Type of crops:
The type of crop(s) you choose to plant in your greenhouse is largely dependent on the choice of consumers in the market. Before starting your greenhouse farm, it is recommended that you undertake a market survey to know the type of crop that is in high demand. Your market survey should also provide information that ensures your harvest time coincides with the period your market needs your product.
It is essential that your greenhouse is well ventilated. In order to provide proper ventilation, you should ensure that the greenhouse is oriented so that the vents are open towards the direction of the prevailing wind flow of the greenhouse site or location.
If you decide to start a greenhouse farm you can either build from the scratch or purchase a commercial greenhouse.
When building, the popular type of greenhouse is the plastic type using polyethylene material and steel frames. You can also build your plastic greenhouse with wooden frame.
The decision to construct your greenhouse enables you to customize the facility to fit your need. Also, it is less expensive when you construct or build your greenhouse.
In Nigeria, the cost of building a local plastic greenhouse with a dimension of 10 meters by 25 meters is estimated at N2,000,000.
Some of the requirements for your greenhouse construction include flat cleared land, excellent water source, bags of cement, sharp sand, ballast, digging tools. You will also need equipment such as metal rods, hammers, marking rope, ladder, tank stands, binding wire, wood for soil sterilization, manure, etc.
Some Advantages of Greenhouse Farming:
A small portion of land is required
The greenhouse protects crops against adverse weather conditions, pests, and diseases.
The system optimal condition for growth with easy-to-control temperature and practice of IPM (integrated pest management)
The greenhouse ensures higher yields and improved quality of vegetables.
The system ensures efficient use of resources such as water and nutrients.
The greenhouse is durable and this system of farming produces an excellent return on your investment.
In our next post, we shall discuss, how to successfully start your Greenhouse farm.