Report Synopsis

Efficient Practices in Low technology Greenhouses. Surviving as a small family farm

Bao Duy Nguyen

The focus of this study was to seek best efficient practice from around the world that could be implemented in family enterprises at Geraldton, WA. Geraldton is in a warm temperate climatic zone, however the recommendations are suitable for anyone in the low technology greenhouse category regardless of location.

Low technical greenhouse structures that exist around the world vary in shapes and size. They can vary from structures that are single tunnel igloo, single or multi-span gable with pointed roofs, saw tooth multi-span and most common the flat arch multi-span tunnel. In one area of the world specifically Almeria in Spain, the parral greenhouse structures are unique to the area, improvised by the structures used in the original industry of grape farms in the area. They have a flatter roof and are reinforced with mesh wires.

Water quality for all types of greenhouses is a very important factor for growing produce, it impacts directly with production as well as fertilizer management for greenhouse crops. Heights and ventilation within the structure is also a key factor in controlling temperature, humidity, and ventilation. This aims to reduce stress in the plant as well as disease pressure.

The large concentration of low-tech greenhouse production around the world are located in those areas because the climate is already favourable for growing in those regions. This is the largest factor that effects low-tech greenhouses. This considerably effects the growth of the plant and reduces production cost involved in climate control. High tech greenhouse islocated in areas where there are greater climate challenges. Therefore, any technical changes to the structure for your low- tech greenhouse should be reflected in profit.

Efficient practices found around the world which are recommended or considered if operating in the low-tech greenhouse space are summarised below.

These investigations highlight the need to know what is happening in the greenhouse so - lowtech systems can maximize returns and remain sustainable. Improving greenhouse management is the key through identifying the systems strengths as well as weaknesses. This can be done by first understanding the environment and performance of the greenhouse. The most accurate way to understand the performance of low-tech greenhouses is through monitoring temperature and humidity, soil water moisture content, EC and nutrients, and solar radiation through a series of instruments and sensors and the utilization of cloud-based 4 internet for real time analysis. This will allow trialing to be carried out with measurable outcomes.

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