Agriculture is Africa’s economic backbone, and the current agricultural scenario is a combination of spectacular achievements and wasted possibilities. If Africa wants to become a global economic power, its agriculture sector must thrive. Productivity should be comparable to that of nations that are now recognized as global economic powerhouses. We require fresh and effective technology capable of continuously increasing productivity.
Greenhouse technology is the process of automating the process of establishing favourable environmental conditions for plants or crops. While it was originally developed to protect plants from harsh climatic conditions, it has evolved to produce higher yields and lower labour and resource costs. Greenhouses are easy to control because they are self-contained environments. Commercial farmers today have access to a variety of technologies that allow them to achieve maximum production with the least amount of effort. The current smart greenhouse is a culmination of profound scientific know-how derived from a variety of software and hardware technologies.
There are presently more than 50 nations in the globe where commercial agricultural production takes place under a closed environment. Among them are the United States of America, Spain, Canada, and the Netherlands.
BRIEF EVOLUTION OF GREENHOUSES TECHNOLOGY
The concept of cultivating plants in controlled environments dates back to the Roman era. Tiberius, the Roman ruler, consumed a cucumber-like vegetable daily. To have it accessible for his meal every day of the year, the Roman gardeners devised artificial techniques of cultivation (akin to the greenhouse system).
Cucumbers were planted on wheeled carts that were left in the sun all day and then carried inside at night to keep warm. Cucumbers were kept beneath frames or in cucumber homes coated with either oiled cloth known as specularia or sheets of selenite (a.k.a. lapis specularis), according to Pliny the Elder’s account.
In the 17th century, greenhouses were basic brick or timber structures with a decent amount of window space and some sort of heating. As glass grew more affordable and more advanced heating methods were available, the greenhouse evolved into a roofed and walled structure made of glass with a minimal wooden or metal framework. The greenhouse had evolved from a basic refuge from a harsh climate to a highly regulated environment adapted to the demands of individual plants by the mid-nineteenth century.
The availability of exotic plants increased dramatically in the nineteenth century, resulting in a massive growth in glasshouse culture in England and elsewhere. Hobbyists, collectors, and home gardeners utilize larger greenhouses for agriculture and horticulture, as well as botanical science, while hobbyists, collectors, and home gardeners use smaller structures.
The modern greenhouse is typically a glass- or plastic-enclosed framed building used to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other plants that require unique temperature conditions.
The span-type greenhouse, which has a double-sloped, or A-shaped, roof, and the lean-to greenhouse, which has just one roof slope and leans against a building’s side, are the two most basic structural shapes.
COMPONENTS OF A GREENHOUSE STRUCTURE
The structural components of a greenhouse, such as trusses, purlins, and side posts, are the most important. Steel, aluminium, plastic, and wood are the most common materials for frames. When choosing the type of greenhouse foundation to utilize, there are numerous materials to consider. All of the following materials are suitable: wood, concrete or concrete block, and brick. The greenhouse’s covering material, also known as glazing, is frequently the most expensive part of the construction. It’s also one of the most important since the glazing enables light and heat into the greenhouse.
The first step in greenhouse gardening is to select a greenhouse type or style. Greenhouses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. The type of greenhouse you select is determined by a number of factors. The types of plants you’ll grow and the size of your garden, for example, will influence your decision. Furthermore, if you plan to grow commercially, you’ll need a different greenhouse than the ordinary home gardener. Every design style has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. There are several types of greenhouse technology, here are some of them.
1. Greenhouse With A Gable Roof: One of the most common types of a greenhouse is the gable-roofed greenhouse. They get enough sunlight while still having enough room to grow a lot of plants. You’ll also be able to roam around freely while tending to your garden, thanks to the straight walls and high roof. Because the design is basic, constructing it yourself is generally a breeze.
2. A-Frame Greenhouse: Although the A-frame greenhouse is simpler than the gable greenhouse, it is equally as popular. It just takes a few components and is affordable and simple to assemble. If you use a wood frame and a plastic covering, you can build these greenhouses for next to nothing.
3. Hoop House: These are named because of their half-hoop shape, and are another type of low-cost greenhouse. In comparison to the A-frame form, the shape adds greater height to the sides. This gives your plants more room to grow taller while also giving you easier access to them. It is considerably easier to provide ventilation to every corner of this style greenhouse than it is, with an A-frame construction.
4. Quonset Greenhouse: is one in which the pipe arches or trusses are supported by pipe purling that runs the length of the greenhouse. Polyethene is the most common covering material for this style of greenhouse. These greenhouses are usually less expensive than gutter-connected greenhouses and are beneficial when only a small, isolated cultural area is required. These houses are joined either in a free-standing manner or a ridge and furrow pattern.
5. Greenhouse With An Uneven Spread: This sort of greenhouse is built on a mountainous site. The roofs are of varied width, allowing the structure to adjust to hillside slopes. This sort of greenhouse is no longer commonly utilized since it cannot be automated.
IMPORTANCE OF GREENHOUSE TECHNOLOGY
1. Greenhouses contain moisture, hence, they require significantly less irrigation than conventional farming. Cropping time is cut in half, and crop quality is improved as well. If you’re interested in cultivating high-value crops, greenhouses are the way to go. It is also feasible to grow off-season crops in greenhouses.
2. Greenhouses provide the ideal atmosphere for nonstop gardening, whether you wish to extend your growing season by a few months or plant all year. These essential structures also allow you to broaden your plant options and cultivate plants that would otherwise be impossible to grow in your area.
3. When opposed to open-field agriculture, a greenhouse not only provides a favourable environment for the plants, but also fosters appropriate growth and fruiting. In the horticultural industry, greenhouse technology has enormous potential, particularly for the production of hybrid seeds, high-value vegetables, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, cut flowers, and fruits, which command higher prices in both domestic and international markets.
4. Greenhouse systems can aid in the drying of crop produce after harvest. When compared to open-air drying, greenhouse drying produces a higher-quality product. This emphasizes the importance of having a thorough grasp of the greenhouse effect to improve crop production and drying.
Because of indiscriminate industrialization and urbanization, the availability of land for cultivation has been decreasing all across the world. To close the gap, higher productivity is required, as well as the introduction of innovative alternative technologies.
Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us»