Agriculture continues to play such a crucial role in food production. It has evolved so much over the years with the introduction of smarter ways of farming, and greenhouse farming is no exception.
The concept of cultivating plants in controlled environments has been around since the Roman era. The greenhouse concept, as well as the plants, quickly spread to the Netherlands and eventually, England.
Experimentation with greenhouse design continued in Europe during the seventeenth century, as technology advanced and construction skills improved.
Today, greenhouses are everywhere and are made from different materials that ensure a sustainable environment that encourages various plant and fruit growth. They have especially grown in popularity for market gardening.
Market Gardening Explained
Market gardening is farming, but relatively for small-scale production. It focuses on producing high-value crops like fruits, vegetables and flowers, providing a wide range and steady supply.
Market gardening also serves as a business because the main goal is to supply local stores, the community, and restaurants, consistently, all year-round. When looking at this fact, the greenhouses come into play.
Let’s get into how the greenhouse works to better understand how to pick the perfect greenhouse for your market gardening.
How the Greenhouse functions
To survive and flourish, plants require sunlight, warm temperatures, air, water, and nutrients. Each of these criteria has distinct requirements for different plants. The first two criteria for your plants are met by a greenhouse, but the last 3 are up to you.
Due to the glass or plastic structure, the greenhouse will trap light inside it which is then converted to heat. All of this light and warmth provide the plants with optimal photosynthetic conditions, allowing them to grow well.
The Greenhouse needs
Additional artificial heat
Adding additional heat is a good idea for the gloomy seasons or days. Linking the additional heat to a thermostat is also ideal because it keeps the temperature within the preferred range.
They are a number of flooring options one can use for their greenhouse, but the best option would be a poured concrete floor. It reflects light and heat throughout the day, which is the whole point, and it is easy to walk on or even clean. If you are not keen on the concrete option, you can try out the special greenhouse vinyl tiles.
All hands on deck
Market gardening is for small-scale production, but it still needs as much attention as it can get. Consider getting staff to help build the ideal structure and help with the maintenance of the place. You need to make sure the greenhouse is up to standard, so you need to have all hands on deck!
- The greenhouse gives a longer growing season since the temperatures don’t change much because of the heat trapped inside.
- It allows you to experiment with exotic plants and allows for a wide variety of produce. If used for business, you too could end up with your produce on the T&T flyer or appearing on FreshCo’s catalogues etc.
- Bad weather can never harm anything in a greenhouse, so this is such a huge advantage. You don’t have to worry about those terrible storms or the scorching days.
- Saving energy is another great benefit.
- A greenhouse is a friendly environment that can help in saving water too. You generally use less water than conventional farming.
- Having a greenhouse can help with stress relief; gardening helps one to relax.
- A huge advantage that greenhouses have is protection from harmful pests and predators. Smaller pests like rodents can be kept out using traps or screens.
- If you are all about protecting the environment, then you can also fight global warming by going green. Planting a lot more things help keep the atmosphere cleaner and fresher.
- Growing your own food reduces your grocery bills.
There are many types of greenhouses and choosing the right one all depends on what you want to use it for. Before you build a greenhouse, consider the following points.
What to consider before you start
When looking to build a greenhouse for market gardening, you need to know how much space you will need for your project. This is essential because your plants should not be too cramped. Plants grown in a greenhouse need ample space to grow and thrive.
The end goal
When starting the greenhouse project, one needs to know what the end goal is. If it is just a hobby, or a project meant to feed your family, then you know you need a small greenhouse but if it is for supplying stores then you must go for the bigger sizes. As mentioned previously, with market gardening, some people aim to supply local stores or maybe just the community, so you need to define that vision.
The water system
A greenhouse needs to have a fully functional water system, like sprinklers, that help with keeping the moisture throughout the whole room. So, you need to see if you can get a water source close to where you are building your structure.
The temperature of a greenhouse is what makes it thrive. A thermometer is important as it can help you monitor the temperature to control it.
Greenhouses have a large variety in terms of shape and size, and you need to have the design before you go ahead and build. The design factor also helps with the size at the end of the day.
What you are growing
The main point of having a greenhouse is because you want to grow something, be it fruit, flowers, or veggies, this is very important in the planning phase, so you need to choose the
Ground stability will determine how long your greenhouse will stand. If it is on a less stable area, then you can use your wood or metal to build, but if you are working with a stable surface then pvc pipes may be the way to go. A perfect foundation makes a good home for your plants, so don’t forget about this.
Even though you can set up your greenhouse anywhere, with some weather conditions, you need to know the right type of greenhouse and what material to use for flooring as well. For instance, wood greenhouses are most suitable for areas that snow a lot. This is because the wood helps keep the warmth inside for the plants to grow well.
If you intend to run your greenhouse for business, you need to have a designated room for transplanting, receiving, dispatching, and storage as well. You also need to have a layout for how you will plant your fruit, vegetable, or flowers. Again, a drawn-out plan will be your best option, and when production starts, you need to make sure systems remain in place for good.
Finally, in the list of important factors is research. If you are going to take on market gardening, then you need to know what you are doing or at least engage someone who does. Greenhouses need a lot of knowledge and work, so you need to be prepared for you to be successful. Planning and preparation are always key, so make sure you do your homework!
Types of Greenhouses
Even though this type of greenhouse is expensive, you are guaranteed that your plants have all the light and air they need. This is a greenhouse made from glass and is very appealing to look at.
Plastic greenhouses are perfect because they are more affordable. They can have frames made from wood, metal or pvc pipes. Moreover, they are not damaged easily and are very easy to clean. This is a very popular type of greenhouse because of the many advantages it holds.
This greenhouse is built on one side of a wall and looks like half of a house. It is called a lean-to greenhouse because, technically, it is leaning onto a building or house. The way it’s built helps radiate heat from the building. These lean-to greenhouses are mostly small not exceeding 12ft and have a maximum of 2 rows of plants. This is mostly suitable for someone looking to do a small project and just looking to feed the family.
Wooden frame Greenhouses
Wooden frame greenhouses are meant for places that are cold. The wooden material helps retain the heat inside the greenhouse. What is the advantage of going with this option? It is an easy build. Wood is easy to work with. It is so useful in market gardening because even in the winter times, you know you are still planting, growing, and harvesting for your clients.
PVC or Polyester Plastic Greenhouse
PVC is a very common material that is used to make greenhouses. It is lightweight, affordable, and easy to build with, so this is an excellent option to consider.
Ridge and furrow Greenhouse.
This is a greenhouse that is an A-frame structure. It is designed in a way where all the A-frame structures connect in a neat row. Each row connects at the eave where all the rain and snow are drained out. It is found in the larger farms because you can have a lot of these. It looks good but is expensive to set up and requires large amounts of land.
What is a good size for a commercial greenhouse?
A good size for a commercial greenhouse can vary depending on what you are growing, but a general rule of thumb is around 10,000 square feet. This allows for plenty of space to grow your crops, as well as room for storage and other necessary features.
Smaller greenhouses can be effective for producing small batches of specialty crops, but a larger greenhouse is necessary for a more extensive operation.
Is a taller greenhouse better?
Tall greenhouses can be advantageous in a few ways. They allow for more vertical growing space, which can be helpful for crops that need lots of room to grow. Additionally, tall greenhouses can help to trap heat and create a more favorable environment for crops. However, they also require more structural support and can be more expensive to build.
What type of roof is best for a greenhouse?
There are a few different options for greenhouse roofs. One option is to have a curved roof, which can help to trap heat and keep the interior of the greenhouse warmer. Another option is to have a sloped roof, which can help with drainage but may not be as effective at trapping heat. A third option is to have a flat roof, which is the most affordable but may not be as effective at trapping heat.
What kind of ventilation is necessary for a greenhouse?
Ventilation is an important part of keeping a greenhouse healthy and functioning properly. Some type of ventilation system is necessary in order to allow hot air to escape and fresh air to enter. There are a few different options for ventilation, including roof vents, side vents, and roll-up doors.
What type of heating is necessary for a greenhouse?
Heating is another important part of keeping a greenhouse functioning properly. In cold climates, some type of heating system is necessary in order to keep the greenhouse warm. There are a few different options for heating, including propane heaters, electric heaters, and radiant floor heating.
Is a greenhouse a good investment?
A greenhouse can be a good investment for a number of reasons. They can help to increase crop production, which can lead to increased profits. Additionally, they can help to extend the growing season, which can also lead to increased profits. Greenhouses can also be used for storage, which can be helpful for keeping items safe and organized. However, it is important to do your research before investing in a greenhouse, as they can be expensive to build.
With all that we have mentioned in this article, we hope you are now aware of how it is to have the right systems in place for the right greenhouse for your market gardening. We certainly hope this information will help you out in whichever stage you are at now, be it starting, growing, trying to restore a dead garden, or maybe transitioning into market gardening. We hope it works out well. Happy gardening!