TheBenefits of a Greenhouse
Agreenhouse is a plastic or glass building that traps ultraviolet raysfrom the sun, providing a friendly environment in support of theplants to grow. There are three components of a greenhouse: thestructural design, greenhouse covering, and the environmentalcontrols. The structure design provides protection against wind,heat, cold, and rain damages. The greenhouse covering is thepolyethylene film that covers the greenhouse. On the other hand,environment controls are systems that regulate and controltemperature and humidity. Most farmers have adopted the use ofgreenhouses to plant tomatoes, onions, carrots, flowers, among otherplants. The greenhouse building has the capability to simulatewarmth, as well as provide a summer-to-summer like environmenthence, protecting the plants from cold and hot shifts in temperature.In addition, the farmer has complete control of everything thathappens in the greenhouse including watering, temperature, shade, andintroduction and timing of pollination. For individuals who want toenjoy fresh vegetables and fruits then, greenhouse offers the mostefficient and safe way to grow and produce such crops. Greenhouseoffers an ideal environment for their growth. Therefore, any personattempting to become a self-sufficient or to garden as a small hobby,a greenhouse will help to increase the quality, as well as theproductivity. There are many benefits associated with a greenhouse.They include protected environment, varieties of growing choices,increased yields, extended seasons, special considerations, andutilization of solar power.
Agreenhouse building has a protected environment that protects plantsfrom rain, wind, and other harsh weather elements. Furthermore, italso protects plants from animals and predatory pests. According toGrowNYC(n.p),if a farmer does proper ventilation and careful plant selection, theplants are unlikely to be affected by soil-borne diseases. Accordingto the construction of the building, greenhouse offers a friendlyenvironment for the seeds to germinate and develop, which birds,unexpected frosts, and heavy rains would otherwise attack. Anotherbenefit of greenhouse is that it protects plants from garden pestsand animals such as beetles, locust swarms, spider mites, moles,squirrels, deer, rodents, tent caterpillars, among others. It isnearly impossible for the pests to invade the building hence, afarmer can plant fruits, vegetables, and flowers without the worriesthat pests will attack them. Due to its roofing, greenhouse buildingcan protect the plants growing inside it from all these attackers. Inaddition, the farmer can also use screens and traps to guard thegreenhouse against such pests. GrowNYC(n.p) says that a farmer may also opt to purchase beneficial insectsto control nuisance insects. For example, ladybugs are beneficialinsects that can get lid of aphids. The beneficial insects leave thegreenhouse immediately they exhaust their favorite food source, orthe wind may carry them away. Accordingly, the farmer may also chooseto retain the beneficial insects such as ladybugs by feeding themwith dill, fennel, and cilantro when there are few nuisance insectsto feed on. Rodriguez(n.p) suggests it is wise to purchase beneficial insects when farmingin the greenhouse.
Researchshows it is possible to grow any vegetable, herb, tree, or a shrub inthe greenhouse due to its controllable environment. This is unlikeoutside the greenhouse environment where the climate is the primarydetector of the kind of plant to grow. For instance, it is possiblefor the northeast farmers to grow and enjoy ornamental plants thathave always grown in the southwest. That is because one can create adry, arid environment like that in the southwest region. TheGreenhouse Buyers gives a good example of the orchids from thenortheast regions. Correspondingly, if one prefers a unique plant, itis possible to build a greenhouse according to his or herpreferences. In fact, it is much easier to build a greenhouse thanbuild a patio deck or a pond. In addition, one can customize thenumbers of entrances, the size of the building, placement of theplants, positioning of the gardening tools storage, and many more,similarly to the botanical exhibition. Apart from growing varietiesof plants, the greenhouse also saves expenses that would otherwise beused to buy groceries. A greenhouse gardening is a good source offruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Furthermore,Rodriguez(n.p) urges that planting in the greenhouse mean harvesting morebedding plants and edible vegetables. This is not only that plantshave increased yields with less exposure to threats but alsoincreased yields when planted in the environment where humidity andtemperature are controllable as well. Most greenhouses have anultraviolet film that blocks UV rays to penetrate into thegreenhouse thus, protecting the plants. Furthermore, the carbondioxide that the plant releases at night, they also consume it in themorning themselves. Similarly, the temperature is also high due tothe greenhouse effect. The greenhouse absorbs and retains the longwaves (IR) for a long period. As a result, the plant yields up to tenpercent extra foods than the similar plant in the open field.
Becausegreenhouse has controlled environment, it is possible to plant eitherearlier or later than one would in the outdoors. A farmer can extendthe season by controlling the amount of moist, temperature, and lightentering the house. Likewise, the farmer has control over thequantity and quality of natural light entering the house by placingglazing material. Pena(5), notes that the great concern in the greenhouse is the duration,quantity, and availability of solar radiation during plant growth.Further, a farmer can use sensors to control and measure thetemperature inside the greenhouse. He or she can use the vents andfans to lower the temperature and a heater to raise the temperature.On the other hand, a farmer can control the amount of moisture bywatering, raising, and lowering the level of humidity, similarly tothe temperature. For instance, cooking greens and lettuces does wellduring winter seasons in the fields. However, in the greenhouse, theycan be planted at any time of the season and still have high yields.Further, when building a greenhouse, it is advisable to design it ina way that it can rays from the sun can penetrate through the plasticor the glass in order to provide a warm environment. However, afarmer has to monitor and gauge the inside and temperature toaccurately cool or heat the temperature. It would be verydisadvantageous if he or she left the entrance open and the heatescapes. In case of such phenomenon, the temperature woulddrastically fall, and it could take some time to heat it back.Additionally, since the temperature inside the building is muchwarmer than outside, one can plant earlier and keep the plant growingfor an extended period than it would in the fields. According to Pena(8),if one wishes to use greenhouse during warm summer, them, and itshould be covered with a shade cloth to prevent too much heat fromdamaging the plants. Correspondingly, one should open the ventilationto release excess heat during hot seasons.
Useof Environmental Control Systems
Likewise,it is also possible to install environmental control systems tomonitor and track humidity and temperature. Such systems include anelectric fan, air mixers, sensors, irrigation, fertigation,sprinkling, filtration, and growing system.
Thisis a dedicated system can automatically switch on an electric fanwhenever the temperature is high and switch it off whenever is low.
Themain purpose of air mixers is to ensure even movement of air andcreate a uniform environment.
Asensor is an integrated computer network that controls variousvariables in the greenhouse. There are indoor and outdoor sensorsthat monitor internal and external temperatures, wind speed, andhumidity respectively.
Irrigation and Fertigation System
Theirrigation system consists of top sprinklers, drip lines,distribution pipes, and pumps. It ensures the plants get the correctamount of water. On the other hand, fertigation system consists ofelectric solenoids, computerized field fertigation heads, cables,lighting protective device, and power supply. Its main purpose is tocontrol and automatically regulate the nutritional composition ofacid and fertilizer in the soil. The system adjusts itself accordingto the climate change and the growth rate.
Someexamples of growing system include tissue culture, hydroponic/soilless culture, and transplant mixture production. Their main purposeis to increase the crop yield.
Accordingto research conducted by Arizona University students, one shouldintroduce insects or mechanically pollinate in order for apollination to occur (Rodriguez,n.p).In case a farmer opts to use insect pollinators, he or she mustchoose the correct insects, introduce them at the right time, as wellas remove them when pollination is over. On the other hand,mechanical pollinators involve shaking the plant to transfer throughthe air.
Theweather is impulsive. Interestingly, even the best meteorologists andthe best meteorological equipment have never been a hundred percentaccurate. For farmers, unforeseen and drastic weather change meansplants death including the most attended plants in the open air. Mostpeople who use greenhouse say it is possible to control theenvironment inside the greenhouse. According to GrowNYC(n.d),one can create a year-round spring-like environment that offers awarm temperature and favorable environment for plants to grow in agreenhouse. One can control the amount of sun that gets in thegreenhouse. For instance, one section can be full sun while the otherone can be fully shaded. As soon as the sunlight enters through thewindows, it heats up the air inside creating warmth that isunavailable in the open air. Warmth is an essential component thatenhances plant growth. With sufficient warmth, plants have less fightwith chills and frost hence, they focus their energies on growth. Asa result, the plants become even healthier compared to those plantedin the open air. Additionally, since greenhouse plants do not dependon the rainwater or outside moisture, one can control the amount ofwater the plant consumes. Furthermore, one can plant spring plants inthe winter since the temperature is warm throughout the year. Apartfrom watering, it is also possible to have an automated system todrip-feed water to the plants. A farmer using a greenhouse can plantanything at anytime time rather than wait the climate to predict whatto plant at what season. Additionally, greenhouse offers a controlledenvironment in the areas with unpredictable climate, extreme amountof precipitation or extreme temperatures. With the greenhouse, onecan control when to irrigate because rainwater is not reliable.
Accordingto the fine gardening, compost adds valuable nutrients to the soil.Additionally, compost improves the texture of the soil byincorporating organic matter. Placing a hot compost bin inside agreenhouse enhance accessibility to the needed compost. The heatinside the greenhouse raises the compost temperature hence, fasterdecomposition. In the meantime, the organic matter breaks down togenerate heat that is helpful in heating up the chilly weather in thegreenhouse. Under greenhouse farming, it is also possible to adoptthe modern techniques such as aeroponics, hydroponic, and nutrientfilm techniques. Furthermore, plants in the greenhouse are morenutritious than plants in the open air. This is because plants grownin the open air are commonly sprayed with pesticides and other toxicchemicals to increase production and improve the crops conditions. Aresearch conducted by Environmental Working Group shows that thesepesticides and toxic chemical remains on the produce even afterharvest. Therefore, for individuals who wish to grow their own food,they can do so in the greenhouse without the worries of pesticideresidue.
Accordingto Pena(12),greenhouse farming is a source of income. In terms of revenue, theUnited States top agricultural products are greenhouse products suchas sweet corns, cranberries, apples, tomatoes, among others. In themodern world, greenhouse farming has become fashionable and a sourceof income for most families. Farming is appealing to retirees as apart-time source of income. Besides, greenhouse farming is alsoapplicable for people with a limited agricultural background.Correspondingly, increased yields translated to saving more money andpromoting a sense of self-sufficiency. It is also cheaper to startplanting from the seed rather than buying starter plant from anothernursery hence saving more money. Moreover, plants are rarely at riskof soil erosion due to either flash floods or torrential rain.
Asmuch as greenhouse has many benefits, it also has some disadvantages.It is expensive to construct a greenhouse, as well as to maintain it.During winter, the temperatures are low hence, one requires a heaterto warm up the greenhouse hence, an extra charge to the electricbills. Opting for a greenhouse with humidity and temperature trackingsystem is more costly though it increases plants yields. Besides,green housing farming requires a lot of maintenance and labor.Greenhouse is the best solution to a beautiful farming all round theyear especially in the turbulent climates. Although it requiresexpertise and a lot of knowledge to maintain a greenhouse, it is morerewarding to those who plant and nurture crops that grow within them.Investing in a greenhouse is an excellent business if it is wellplanned, built, and maintained. It can be a source of income and atthe same time save monthly grocery bill.
GrowNYC."Good Food, Good Health | GrowNYC." GoodFood, Good Health | GrowNYC.Web. 5 May 2015. <http://www.grownyc.org/good-food>.
Pena,J. G. "Greenhouse vegetable production economic considerations,marketing, and financing." (2013).
Rodriguez,Amy. "Why Do Plants Grow Better in Greenhouses?" HomeGuides.Web. 5 May 2015.<http://homeguides.sfgate.com/plants-grow-better-greenhouses-47175.html>.