How to Keep Greenhouse Conditions Optimal for Plant Growth
Of the countless variables that go into running a successful indoor growing operation, installing the right lighting is one of the more crucial. Even if you have the most advanced greenhouse control system or the best fertilizer, if this one variable is off, your plants won’t be able to reach their maximum growth potential.
The ultimate goal for controlled environments? Higher, faster, more easily repeatable yields. One 25,000-square meter Japanese indoor farm produces 10,000 heads of lettuce per day, which is an impressive 100 times more per square foot than traditional, outdoor farming methods. This yield is accomplished with 40 percent less energy, 80 percent less food waste, and a mind-blowing 99 percent less water than traditional, outdoor agriculture. According to USDA data, the average yield for conventionally grown tomatoes in 2016 was 1.85 pounds per square foot, while greenhouse tomato growers saw yields of 10.59 pounds per square foot.
Ag-tech tools deliver solutions for farmers to some of the most common, persistent growing issues. Smart sensors, monitors, and automated tools work together to optimize greenhouse or indoor farming environments while minimizing the time and effort spent managing these growing variables.
The development of reliable plastic systems, paired with smart sensors and monitors, offers a significant opportunity for growers to enhance traditional drip delivery and go beyond wasteful, imprecise watering methods.
Properly managed temperature and humidity are key factors in helping plants to thrive in a greenhouse setting. In the absence of proper controls, however, these same factors can undermine plant health and erode yield.
By 2020, the United States greenhouse industry is expected to grow to $4 billion thanks to the demand for more indoor production. The demand is driven by limited labor, land, and water, as well as the need to produce more for less, which means operating costs are on the top of growers’ minds.
Technology offers a range of opportunities for the commercial grower to make effective use of the greenhouse environment. The latest tools enable the grower to exert a high degree of control without having to be constantly on-site. They make the growing process more efficient and can drive higher yields as well.
Urban farming has some unique advantages. In particular, it brings the grower closer to the consumer, saving on transportation costs and reducing harmful emissions. But urban farmers face challenges: Arable land is expensive and hard to come by.