How To Do Green House Farming?
Don’t you like to be served all day long with the delicacies and mouth watery foods on your plates?
Of course yes !
Our mother Land is so acquainted with its beauty and nature and every human being is always inspired by this beauty of nature, its belongings and the most important factor – soil.
And the soul of the soil are our farmers who serve us with a variety of foods on our dining tables.
Farming is the most important occupation in the world but it doesn’t guarantee you any financial protection and due to this many farmers are forced to leave their occupation and shift to some other professions because most of the farmers use traditional farming technique in which climatic changes become a tough challenge for them to survive and thus for securing their income/profits they have to shift to modern day techniques and one such technique is GREENHOUSE FARMING.
Before knowing about Greenhouse Farming, we should know what a Greenhouse is?
Basically, a GREENHOUSE is a structure made up of transparent material which is used for growing crops under maintained environmental conditions so as to provide optimum growth and productivity to the crops.
Greenhouse is the most profitable and the fastest growing business opportunity in the Agriculture sector as it helps in the production of both seasonal and non seasonal crops.
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What is Greenhouse Farming?
Greenhouse Farming is a farming technique for growing crops in a structure made up of transparent, or partially transparent material i.e Greenhouse, so as to provide favourable growing conditions to its crops and also protect it from various pests.
Important Factors to keep in mind for greenhouse farming:
1. Shape of the structure
3. Cover material
4. Size of the Farm
5. Farm management technology
7. Natural Ventilation
8. Efficiency of materials
10. Condensation Run-off
Before starting greenhouse farming you should have knowledge about your site. Some of the factors to remember are :
- The PH of the soil should be between 5.5 to 6.5 and EC(Volatility) to be 0.3 to 0.5 mm/cm.
- There should be a good water supply available at all times with a proper drainage system.
- The site should be made pollution free.
- The PH of water samples for irrigation purposes should range between 5.5 to 7.0 and EC 0.1 to 0.3 .
Apart from these you should have well trained workers who must have technical, economical and marketing knowledge.
Orientation of the Greenhouse
The main purpose of greenhouse farming is to facilitate a controlled environment for the growth of plants for which we have to follow certain designs for a perfect greenhouse farming. Some basic requirements are as follows:
- The heating and cooling equipment, water pipe, stand and all fixed services should be equipped to the frame of the structure .
- The hanging baskets, shelves and persons working on the roof should not be superimposed and it should have a live load.
- The greenhouse should be designed so as to hold 15 kg per metre square and 45 kg at its centre.
- The structure should be able to withstand travelling of winds at 110 km per hour and at least 15 kg per square metre of wind pressure.
- The average snowfall of the location should also be looked after.
- The greenhouse should be fabricated of galvanized iron pipes and should avoid the rusting of the poles and pipes.
- The greenhouse should be so designed that it could provide all necessary safety, serviceability, general structural integrity and suitability and should take all the necessary dead, live, wind and snow loads.
How does a Greenhouse work?
The basic principle of greenhouse effect is that when sunlight passes through the transparent materials it strikes the opaque surface inside (the plant leaves that grow on greenhouse floors or any planters), then the light energy is converted into heat energy which pulls the atmosphere inside the greenhouse and then the warm air rises and heats up the whole area and this warmth is the most important equipment inside the greenhouse for the proper productivity of the crops.
Suitable crops for greenhouse farming
As greenhouse farming requires high investment therefore to maintain financial security the crops which have high commercial value and sustainable market demand should be cultivated such as floriculture crops and vegetables.
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List of Ideal floriculture crops and vegetables:
Types of greenhouses
Green houses differ on the basis of its shape, construction, material and ventilation and each type has its own advantage. The different types of green houses are so designed so as to match their certain specific needs.
On the basis of shape it is divided into:
- Saw tooth type greenhouse
- Ridge and Furrow type greenhouse
- Uneven span type greenhouse
- Even span type of greenhouse
- Quonset greenhouse
- Interlocking Ridges greenhouse
- Ground to Ground greenhouse
On the basis of construction it is divided into:
- Wooden framed structures
- Pipe framed structures
On the basis of covering materials it is divided into:
- Glass greenhouse
- Plastic greenhouse
On the basis of ventilation it is divided into:
- Natural vent greenhouse
- Climate control greenhouse
Before starting greenhouse farming, there are some of the basic equipments that you really need to make your greenhouse function efficiently and effectively. Some of them are mentioned below :
- Shelves and Benches
- Doors and Vents
- Ventilation and Coolers
- Shade cloths
- Watering systems
- Greenhouse grow lights
- Ground and Floor covering
Some other equipment are picturised below.
Cost Analysis of the Greenhouse
Greenhouse farming is bit expensive. Initial investment is higher in greenhouse cultivation. So you can either go for a loan/subsidy from the government or you can plan for a low budget greenhouse in which a simple structure is designed out of bamboo, woods, etc. and due to this initial investment is low as compared to the high tech greenhouse designs.
How to start protective cultivation?
Cost of cultivation is carried out in two parts.
- Fixed costs – This includes permanent items cost. Example: land cost, construction, irrigation and other material costs.
- Recurring costs – This includes plantation costs, maintenance, labour, transport, storage, cultivation & packing costs.
Estimation of fixed costs:
Fixed costs can depreciate or appreciate according to the market value, interest value on the invested capital or Rental value of the land.
Estimation of Recurring costs:
These costs can be roughly calculated through the following table:
|Plant protection chemicals|
|Total working capital|
|Interest on working capital @|
|10% for half period|
|Total variable cost|
|Cost of production (Rs/q)|
Likewise we can also estimate the profits as per:
|Total variable cost|
|Cost per quintal|
Advantages of Greenhouse Farming
- Cultivation of crops can be carried out under a control environment
- It reduces risks of unfavourable weather conditions and optimizes the growth of crops and protect them from pests
- It provides excellent opportunity to grow high quality crops for export markets
- Crops can be grown throughout the year to meet the market demands
- It works within the limited land resources
- Greenhouse farming contributes to faster growth and high yielding within a low area of cultivation
- It provides local employment for educated youth
- Less requirement of water
- Off season crops can also be grown throughout the year
Disadvantages of greenhouse farming
Besides the positive factor of greenhouse farming, there are some negative factors too. Some of them are:
- Appropriate on a smaller surface and hence it’s limited to the production of vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs
- Lack of pollination
- Highly Expensive
Production of crops is risky as it requires knowledge, proper climatic conditions, labour, infrastructure and many more for which you don’t have any control. So it is not easy. But greenhouse technology is a means of sustainable crop production which can guarantee food security in the regions facing the problems of food scarcity. It assures high quality crops and also increases its productivity but the initial cost becomes the biggest concern in this technology. By time many scientists and engineers are working on it so that they could reduce the cost. In many cases, they use alternate construction materials or some innovative environmental control technology.