What is Greenhouse Technology?
A greenhouse means area or a house in which plants are grown under artificial controlled climatic conditions, so that light, temperature and humidity are maintained at required level.
The agricultural country like India, Sri Lanka etc. has a variety of problems in agricultural itself.
In spite of the 80% of population depending on agricultural, our farmers cannot produce sufficient food, grains, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables, fruits, etc.
Agriculture industry is the largest industry in India and other nearby countries, but still it’s output is not satisfactory. Majority of the farmers are below poverty line.
The growing population and agricultural production are not matching.
The environment degradation, global warming, drastic changes in climate desertification of soil, depletion of groundwater, shortage of rainfall urbanization, Pollution etc. have created many problems for agricultural development in all over the world.
To get rid from all such problems we have to use high-tech technology in agriculture.
Advantages of Greenhouse Technology
- Greenhouse causes greenhouse effect on the plants that increase the rate of photosynthesis by increasing CO2 concentration around the plant.
- CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 300 PPM while in greenhouse it is up to 1500 PPM. So plants show, vigorous growth and productivity of plant increases 3 to 4 times.
- Maximum production can be obtained in small area.
- Agricultural products can be made available during odd reasons. This may lead to fetch maximum price in the market.
- In greenhouse, Plants are protected from attack of pets and other pathogens, hence pesticides and fungicides can be avoided. Due to this flowers, fruits and vegetables will remain free from pesticides and fungicides. So they will be of international standards, hence export of these products can be increased.
- Greenhouse can be constructed near the city or market, so that expenses on the transport and time required for transporting the material can be reduced.
- Fresh and healthy vegetables, fruits and flowers can be made easily available in the market.
- Greenhouse cultivation helps in modernization the agriculture.
- Hardening and acclimatization of tissue culture plants are carried out in greenhouse.
- Greenhouse provides totally or partially controlled climatic conditions required for potential growth of crops, which in turn results in high quality crop production.
- In the greenhouse microclimate around the plants can be manipulated to obtained, early flowering and fruiting.
- By using pollinating insects in greenhouse percentage of fruits, setting can be increased.
- Greenhouse technology is helping to cultivate some plants in problematic agricultural zones like barren and uncultivated lands, wastelands and deserts, etc.
- Greenhouse cultivation, may be a right option to provide fresh vegetables, fruits and ornamental throughout the year and even during off-season to metropolitan and other cities.
- Greenhouse cultivation of exportable flowers will be the major source of foreign earnings.
- Technology is the boon for nurseryman. The seedlings and saplings of various plants can be made available within shortest possible time.
- Transgenic or GMOS (genetically modified organisms), plants required controlled environment to grow and sustain and establish. The greenhouse is only way to provide such environment.
- Greenhouse is helping in conservation and cultivation of rare endangered plants.
Applications of Greenhouse Technology
Increasing the agricultural product churn and improving the quality of the agricultural products. The main objectives are –
- To provide high quality product to the consumer that cannot be grown outdoors at that time of the year at a given place.
- To protect the crop from high as well as low temperatures and from rainfall.
- To have the timely harvest and also improves the quality of the product.
- To increase the yield of the crop for better crop management.
- To increase harvesting pride and to increase the plant population per unit area.
- To grow crops in off-season and get the higher return.
- By maintaining relative humidity less than 90% and by pruning healthy and productive plants can be maintained.
In case of fruit vegetables like tomato and cucumber by artificial pollination, fruit setting can be increased.
Training and some special horticultural practices can be applied for increasing productivity and quality of crop.
Applied to vegetable plants
- Vegetable plants includes tomato, brinjal, chili’s (capsicum), okra, cucumber, potato etc.
- Selection of crops for growing in a greenhouse should be based on the marketability and the consumer preferences.
- Should produce higher yields over a long harvesting period under high humidity prevailing in greenhouse.
- In case of tomato, indeterminant varieties of hybrid, which flower, fruit grow simultaneously are preferred.
- This kind of varieties can sustain the harvesting period even up to five months.
- In case of cucumber gynoecious hybrid would be the best choice.
- By using various rooting media quality seedlings of vegetable crops can be produced.
- By maintaining temperature of greenhouse 18 degrees Celsius at day and 15 degrees Celsius at night, healthy and early growth of seedling can be achieved.
- Seedling can be kept disease free. After transplanting on suitable growth medium early and vigorous growth of the crop can be achieved.
Applied to fruit plant
- Cultivation of herbaceous or under shrub fruit crops like strawberry, watermelon, apple, pineapple, papaya, grapes etc.
- Partially controlled climate greenhouse and shed net are commonly used for the cultivation fruit plants.
- Production of the crop can be increased by 3 to 4 times. Shelf life and quality of the fruits can be substantially increased.
- In case of watermelon, the size of the fruits and quality can be increased.
- Artificial pollination technique can be used for increasing productivity as well as production of seedless fruits.
- In case of papaya, guava and grapes cutting and seedlings can be easily raised in the greenhouse off-seasonal fruiting can be obtained in case of fruit plants like mango, grapes and apple are cultivated in greenhouse.
Applied to medicinal plants
- Cultivation of important as well as rare medicinal plants are obtained for To obtain seedlings and other planting material of medicinal plants.
- To obtain maximum quantity of crude drugs from the available space and site. We increased the active in ingredients of the medicinal plants.
- To develop new varieties of commercially important medicinal plants.
- To provide raw material for the production of hairball medicines to the pharmaceutical industries throughout the year.
- To keep the crude drugs free from contamination and adulteration.
- Major medicinal plants cultivated in green houses are with the active ingredients like alkaloids, essential oils, and glycosides. Commonly grown medicinal plants are mints, roses, saffron, Gloriosia, vanilla etc.
Applied to ornamental plants
- Ornamental plants mainly include garden plants, flowering trees and flowering seasonal.
- All the plants are generally raised and maintained in the nurseries, which are equipped with various types of green houses and shade Nets.
- There is mainly based on greenhouse technology for the commercial production of cut flowers and cultivation of important floriculture crops such as Gerbera, Carnation, Gladiolous, Roses, etc.
- The quality of the cut flowers can be maintained with the help of greenhouse technology only.
Limitations of Greenhouse Technology
- Capital investment for the erection of greenhouse is very high and hence it is beyond the reach of small farmers or poor farmers.
- It requires trained and skilled laborer, knowing the crop cycle and as well as technology of greenhouse.
- The cost of planting material is very high as the plantlets are raised through tissue culture. Similarly, the imported seeds are used for showing hence the initial cost is also very high as compared to the open field cultivation.
- The maintenance and day to day care of greenhouse is difficult tasks and it is very costly. It requires heavy recurring expenses.
- The cost of cultivation is quite high and in such condition if the market prices are low it will result into a tremendous economic loss, which will be very difficult to recover in successive years hence, the financial sustainability is very important factor.