If you are conversant with agricultural trends, you must have heard the phrase “greenhouse farming” severally. This method of farming has been around for a while and keeps evolving as research and practice continue. But then, one question that comes to mind most times is, “how profitable is greenhouse farming?”
This method of farming focuses on providing plants with favorable environmental conditions to improve growth. It makes use of different types of materials such as polythene, wood, glass, etc. to generate a favorable microclimate. This post will explain the idea of greenhouse farming, its benefits, demerits, and the materials used.
Greenhouse Farming – What it is
While many people think that greenhouse farming is a new agricultural concept, it has been here for ages. Farmers began practicing this farming method first in the thirteenth century to meet the demands of royalty. It was also used in cultivating herbs and medicinal plants. What exactly is greenhouse farming?
In simple terms, it is growing plants in a greenhouse. Doing this allows farmers to raise plant yield levels as well as product quality. One of the main advantages of greenhouse farming is the protection it offers crops from diseases and pests.
This form of agriculture allows you to create a different climate to suit the needs of specific crops. For example, you can grow crops native to warmer locations in a colder environment using a greenhouse.
Greenhouses allow farmers to control light, humidity, temperature, and ventilation. All of these come together to create an optimal micro-ecosystem to aid the development of crops.
Benefits of Greenhouse Farming
Greenhouse farming offers farmers and crops tons of benefits. This section will highlight some of them:
Extends growing season
Certain crops will only grow at specific times of the year. For example, you are restricted to growing corn just once a year under a regular farming regime. However, greenhouse farming breaks this jinx and allows you to grow crops all through the year.
The reason for this is that you have the liberty to control the environment within the greenhouse. Once you condition the environment, crops like corn can grow all through the year.
Growing crops all through the year means that you’d be producing crops outside their regular growing season. Usually, crops cost more when they are not in season.
Greenhouse farming allows you to take advantage of these higher costs to make more profits. The reason for the high cost is that supply is generally low and people are ready to pay more to enjoy these crops. You can use a greenhouse to set your products up to bring you a higher income.
Protection from adverse weather conditions
Weather plays a major role in your output as a farmer. If the weather conditions are unfavorable, they will affect crop development and yield. You can beat the weather easily by growing your crops in a greenhouse.
It doesn’t matter the level of temperature, rain, or wind outside, the greenhouse gives you control over the internal weather conditions. As such, you don’t have to worry about weather or seasonal changes since they would not affect your crops.
One of the biggest threats that crops face is “pests.” A pest attack can wipe out a whole farm, reduce crop yield, and ultimately affect profits. With a greenhouse, you can control what enters and leaves your farm. By so doing, you improve your pest management and contain pest attacks, if they ever happen. All of this will help you to minimize the adverse impact of pests on crops.
Disadvantages of Greenhouse Farming
Greenhouse farming is great and produces amazing results. Just like every other endeavor, it comes with a few disadvantages.
You need substantial capital to invest in greenhouse farming. Not many farmers can afford this sort of money so they have to seek external help to begin. The challenge is that many of these external bodies don’t offer funds readily to smaller farmers.
As we mentioned earlier, greenhouse farming controls a lot of activity including access to pollinators. Because of the controlled environment, pollinators cannot access the crops. This can be a huge disadvantage depending on the type of plants in the greenhouse.
Asides from the startup costs, running a greenhouse may require high operating expenses. It is even costlier when you need to create a different climate from the prevalent one in your environment. You should carefully evaluate the costs before installing your greenhouse so that you don’t run into a loss.
Components of a Greenhouse
What components should your greenhouse have? Check below for some of the most popular of the lot:
- Foundation pipes: To connect the greenhouse to the ground.
- Roof: Transparent overhead that covers the structure.
- Arches: Provides support for the covering materials.
- Gable: Transparent sidewall of the greenhouse.
- Bracings: Protect the greenhouse from the wind.
- Gutters: Collects and drains out rainwater and snow.
- Ridge: Horizontal section located on the roof.
- Column: Vertical structure carrying the greenhouse structure.
There are several other components depending on the type of greenhouse farm you are running.
Crops Suitable for Greenhouse Farming
In rounding up this post on how profitable is greenhouse farming, we will show you a few crops that are suitable for greenhouse farming. Check out our list below:
- Cucumbers: Several varieties grow well vertically in a greenhouse. They produce for several seasons as well.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are very easy to grow and you can choose from hundreds of varieties. The good thing about tomatoes is that they are prolific growers.
- Chili peppers: Greenhouse chili peppers are always more attractive than those grown in traditional farming.
- Spinach: Grows quickly and keeps growing even after harvesting.
- Melons: Greenhouse melons last longer than those grown under natural circumstances. They are easy to cultivate and provide you loads of profits.
Other crops that you can grow include:
- Sweet corn
How Profitable is Greenhouse Farming?-Conclusion
Back to the question, how profitable is greenhouse farming? If you have the funds to start and sustain the farm, you could make a lot of profit. All you need to do is learn the ropes and invest in growing the right crops. Do you have any other questions? Drop them in the comments section below.