A Gudie to Polyhouse vegetable farming, cultivation practices
Are you looking forward to grow your veggeis in controlled envirinment such as polyhouse? you have reached the right place to learn polyhouse vegetable farming. Polyhouse is one kind of greenhouse where polyethylene is used as the cover. In India, Polyhouse farming is the main popular greenhouse technology for its low cost of construction. Polyhouse is also known as a polytunnel, hoop greenhouse or hoop house, grow tunnel or high tunnel.
Polyhouse is economical compared to the greenhouse but the later is more durable than polyhouse. Temperature, humidity, and ventilation can be controlled by equipment fixed in the Polyhouse or by manual opening and closing of vents. Polyhouses are mainly used in temperate regions in similar ways to glass greenhouses and row covers.
Types of Polyhouse
Depending on the control system using types of Polyhouse can be divided with a semi-automatic control system or with a fully automatic control system. In the semi-automatic control system, manual adjustments are necessary to maintain the Polyhouse farming in good condition. In an automatic system, pre-settings are sufficient for the maintenance of Polyhouse farming. Proper alertness and technical skills must be needed while managing semi-automatic Polyhouse. Any deviation from this can result in damage of crop and may lead to the loss. In an automatic system of Polyhouse, less attention is enough for maintenance, but it is costlier compared to semi-automatic type.
Based on the environmental control system Polyhouse can be divided into two types:
Naturally ventilated polyhouse – Naturally ventilated Polyhouse has vents at the top and at sides which exchanges air arising from the density difference of hot and cold air through air vents.
Environmental controlled polyhouse – This type of Polyhouse is constructed primarily to extend the growing period of crops or to increase the off-season yield by controlling the light, temperature, humidity, etc.
Based on the number of spans Polyhouse can be divided into two types:
- Single span
- Ridge and Furrow
Based on the construction type Polyhouse can be divided into three types:
Low Tech and Cheap Polyhouse:
These are the simplest type of Polyhouses and need the least amount of money to be constructed. They are made of easily and locally obtainable products like bamboos as supporting materials and the construction is done using these. They use an easy UV film for cladding and do not have high tech, temperature adjusters.
But, low-grade temperature and humidity controllers are present which serve the purpose. The light entering the Polyhouse is controlled by using shades on the transparent roof to modulate the intensity. They do not need much expertise and can be built in a very short period. They are generally used as shelters for crops during heavy rains and snow.
Moderate Tech Polyhouse:
These types of Polyhouses are more durable than the above-mentioned ones since they are constructed using galvanized iron rods which are sturdier and offer more resilient to natural conditions. The arrangement is screwed and grounded firmly and offers better protection against high winds and harsh climate.
Thermostats are present in this Polyhouse which precisely can manage temperatures. They are also fitted with an exhaust which helps in controlling temperature and humidity. These are most appropriate for areas that have a rather dry climate. They require a lot of care and regular maintenance and repairs.
This Polyhouse for the more technologically advanced Polyhouses that are equipped with the latest technologies and have an automated system for everything. It overcomes the disadvantages of the latter two types with a technological solution.
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Vegetable crops Suitable for Polyhouse farming:
Let us discuss some of the vegetable crops suitable for Polyhouse farming;
- Bitter Gourd
- Colored Capsicum
- Tomato, etc.
Polyhouses are mainly used in temperate regions in similar ways to greenhouses and cloches (row covers). Modern designs allow sowing process and harvesting machines to move inside the structures to automate production.
Selecting the right location:
Initially, Polyhouse farming was introduced to grow species in colder regions that require a warmer climate. Later on, with advancements and research, there were various other things one could grow at different places by adjusting the conditions appropriately. Some of the factors that want to be considered are as follows;
- a) Pollution
The point of the Polyhouse is to be efficient and provide the best suitable environment for the growth of crops hence it should be away from pollution. Away from pollution simply implies that there shouldn’t be any industrial plants and farming must be done little outside city limits to also avoid vehicular carbon emissions.
- b) Water Stagnation
The area where the Polyhouse is built should not be in any case be a low-lying area which will pave way for waterlogging during monsoon and water release. This will destroy the crops and extra care should be taken for areas that receive heavy rainfall.
- c) Reachability
Though the Polyhouse must be located in an area where it is away from pollution and the harmful gases emitted from industries and vehicles, it must be easily accessible and road connectivity should be good.
Considering these factors, a perfect location for the Polyhouse farming can be selected and the construction can begin. The next step would be the probable conditions that can be created and the type of crops that would be most suitable.
Recommended size of Polyhouse
A bigger Polyhouse would have more temperature build-up especially if there is no proper ventilation. In case of naturally ventilated Polyhouse, the length must not exceed 60m.
Watering system in Polyhouse vegetable farming
Drip irrigation is the best technique for watering the Polyhouse plants owing to the small root system. It should be ensured that the water is dispersed at the root area only and that it does not fall on the leaves. Falling on leaves may lead to infection, disease spread and even scorching. Water is forced out through the nozzles under high pressure through the micro-sprinklers. These sprinklers are arranged at a height of one foot above ground level to ensure that water is dispersed at the basal part of the plants.
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Importance and advantages of Polyhouse vegetable farming
In Polyhouse vegetable farming, we can protect our crops from any adverse environment such as high humidity or high temperature. There is a capability in Polyhouse to control temperature or humidity. There will be an increase in the production of vegetables in Polyhouse farming without losing their color and quality.
Polyhouse farm can protect the crops by preventing the entry of animals and birds into the farm. When we cultivate in the normal farm, nearly 1/3rd of the crops can be lost due to the attack of insects and worms, whereas in Polyhouse farming, we can harvest the crops about three to five times more without much damage or loss.
One of the major reasons for the decrease in agriculture in India nowadays is no availability of enough agricultural lands. But the invention of Polyhouse is a result of lack of agricultural lands. We can obtain more crops from less space in Polyhouse farming. The Polyhouse is made in such a way that it can give water and fertilizers in required amounts in a controlled manner which can result in high yields.
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Polyhouse cultivation is used for the following purposes;
- Raising of seedlings in the nurseries.
- Raising of exotic vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, watermelon, summer squash, etc.
- Raising of vegetable crops like Capsicum, Tomato, Cucumber, Brinjal, and Cabbage.
- Raising plants in poly houses for hybrid seed production.
- Raising potted ornamental plants.
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