FIVE IMPORTANT CRITERIA TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING A SOILLESS GREENHOUSE

Entering the hydroponic market will result in increased yields and income by the Grower. In addition, growing plants in other substrates like Coco Coir will supply a soilless growing medium that eliminates soil-borne pathogens, weed infestation and facilitates best management practices.

The saying “Plan twice, execute once” should be kept in mind when planning a greenhouse. A multitude of criteria must be included in planning before constructing a greenhouse. We want to ensure that you follow best practices whether you use Coco Coir or not. In this article, we want to discuss factors affecting the planning needed before greenhouse construction.

1. THE LOCATION OF THE GREENHOUSE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT 

The location of a greenhouse is critical.  Legal implications may vary from area to area, and it is crucial to stay within the law. Climatical variables, slope, water availability and quality, possible shading, windbreaks, and room for future expansion should be well thought through when evaluating the ideal location.

Even the greenhouse orientation on the selected site is crucial to determine the sunlight availability necessary for photosynthesis.

The availability of electricity is essential, while the condition of access roads is also critical.

The unavailability of labor close by to aid in harvesting and planting operations can give rise to unnecessary costs, driving the laborers there over long distances.

Existing windbreaks might be an advantage as long as they don’t shade the greenhouse during the day. Windbreaks should be planted to protect the greenhouse and to optimize temperatures inside the greenhouse.  

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2. USE THE AID OF A RELIABLE KNOWLEDGE BASE FROM THE START

Constructing a greenhouse would need the input of specialists regarding horticulture, agriculture, law restrictions, greenhouse structure, and discharging of drainage water. Therefore, to avoid problems after construction, you should consult with specialists in the various disciplines, and even then, brainstorming by all specialists would be recommended.

3. STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENTS OF GREENHOUSE

The greenhouse structure influences irrigation, sunlight penetration, angle of incidence, heating, ventilation, and crop type.  Therefore it is advised to enter into a consulting process with the greenhouse suppliers or specialists to address structural issues.

Difficulties and mistakes in greenhouse structure will only become visible after you have started production, and then it will be too late. Then, you will have to tear it down and start from scratch. 

4. IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY AND QUALITY

The existence of a constant and adequate supply of high-quality irrigation water is necessary. If underground water is used, the wells should be tested to ensure a constant water supply to the greenhouse. A laboratory must determine the water quality to ascertain whether the water quality meets the standards for hydroponic farming.

5.  THE INCLUSION OF APPROPRIATE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IN THE GREENHOUSE

The inclusion of management systems to control irrigation, nutrient supply, temperature, and ventilation would significantly unburden the greenhouse supervisor and management. At the same time, the automated management systems will ensure optimum conditions that will maximize yield and income if set up correctly. Consulting specialists is the recommended way to go about it.

IN CONCLUSION

Planning is the most critical phase of constructing a greenhouse. Mistakes made during this phase will influence the growth and yield of our crops for the lifespan of the greenhouse. However, rectifying the mistakes made might cost a lot of money and maybe postponing the first crop for a year.

To avoid this scenario, it will be in your own interest to use specialists in the various disciplines in order to address all criteria that might affect the viability of the erected greenhouse.

The good news for new growers who want to use coco coir as their preferred substrate is that the experienced Agronomy staff of Pelemix will guide them from the start concerning all information they might need to achieve exceptional yields.

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