Greenhouse production of fresh leafy vegetables and fruits is an important agricultural practice that leads to an increase in production per land, water and nutrients unit. Greenhouse management requires proper knowledge of the climate and suitable environmental conditions for the cultivated crops. To achieve good management practices for greenhouses, the impacts of climate variables on plant growth and production during different seasons should be understood.
- Seeders- Low-cost seeders that will seed from 1 to 5 flats/minute are available for the small grower. The wand seeder is fitted with needles that pick up seed from a tray and place it in the flat one row at a time. The vacuum template seeder with holes matching the plug tray is connected to a vacuum box. Seeds are released when the vacuum is released. It seeds a whole tray at one time.
- Carts and Wagons- The use of carts speeds up handling and reduces labour costs. They roll easily through access doors. Their shelves should be made of lightweight materials strong enough to carry the materials without sagging.
- Conveyors- This can be used as an alternative to moving plants in carts. The system consists of a tubular or angle iron track suspended from the greenhouse or headhouse frame and a trolley-mounted rack that is pushed along manually. Suspending the track over the benches and plants means that no additional aisle space is needed. Curved sections of track are used to get around corners. Switches may be located anywhere in the system to allow transfer from one track layout to another.
- Watering Boom- Booms can be simple devices made to operate from a winch pulled cart that supports the boom over the plants. They can also be suspended from track mounted to the overhead trusses. Commercial booms generally have computer control that allows double watering, skipping sections, and multiple nozzles that change the rate of application.
- Solar Radiation- through the use of transparent equipment like transparent covers, pastics and glasses will have an impact in light transmission.
- Artificial Supplemental Lighting- Supplemental lighting to increase illuminance and/or to extend photoperiod can be a significant portion of the total greenhouse energy use. All types of lamps convert electrical energy into both light and heat. Different kinds of lamps differ in the efficiency of their conversion of electrical energy into light.
- Drip Irrigation Systems- This is commonly used and mostly preferred because it reduces water wastage and is scalable to any size and good for all purposes. It involves the use of a hose pipe with several emitters that release water at set intervals. It can be installed on the surface or burried in the soil.
- Soaker Hoses- This system is similar to drip irrigation system but it its tubes do not have emitters, instead they are porous and constantly release water to the soil.
- Over-head Sprinklers- Pipes are placed above the plants and are fitted with nozzles that can be adjusted to varrying ranges.
- Misting Spray System- This system is best for greenhouses with lots of seeds that require regular watering. It releases small amounts of water droplets (mists).
Good and proper management of greenhouses results in high yields.