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Should You Consider Automatization to Increase Your Greenhouse Yields?

Working in a greenhouse

Deciding to install automatized systems in your greenhouse is a big decision. To have a climate control system that works for you, you will need: a program (i.e. Orisha, iGrow, etc), a heating system and automatic openings (i.e.: motorized opening roof or roll-ups on the side of your greenhouse). The heating and openings work in tandem for the dehumidification process. There are all sorts of options ranging from entry level to very, very fancy systems that you can choose from. But, should you consider automatization to increase your greenhouse yields? The answer is yes!

First, we would recommend using a program that controls heating and dehumidifying. Those are the most important settings that need to be followed throughout the day.  If you are curious, we’ve talked a bit more on heating and possible automatization to increase greenhouse yield in another article in this series entitled What is the Most Efficient Way to Heat Your Greenhouse? Another “extra” automation option that we would suggest is having automatic irrigation in your greenhouses. Especially when using drip irrigation that waters your crops many times a day it’s a huge time saver. Whether the irrigation is part of your climate system or another system altogether, it doesn’t matter. 

What Do I Need to do with my Greenhouse Climate System?

Let’s make something clear: by having an automatic greenhouse climate system, you’re not abandoning your greenhouse to robots. As the greenhouse grower, your daily responsibilities include setting the program to do what YOU say, according to the forecast about day’s luminosity, day length (sunrise & sunset), and humidity as well as any other weather conditions such as high winds and rain. You won’t use the same settings on a damp, cloudy day as you would on a hot, sunny day. The same goes for the irrigation; you will set the desired irrigation times and length at the beginning of the day, according to the day’s weather.

Greenhouse
Using automatization to increase greenhouse yield is a smart way to optimized time. /Credit: Olivier Bourget

Automatization is Your Time Saving Ally in Your Greenhouse

You, a market gardener, have countless “hats” that you need to wear: you are managing nursery & propagation, transplants, irrigation, plant maintenance and technical work, weed control, bed prep, orders, tool maintenance, marketing & social media, and sales. On top of that, you are a human who has needs: food, sleep, family, friendships. You would be hard-pressed to find a grower with spare time. There is not enough time in the day for you to run back to your greenhouse to open the roll-up sides, turn on the irrigation, close the sides, turn on the fans, close the irrigation…You are spending too much valuable time walking to and from and not enough time doing the important stuff you’ve got to do. By setting up your system and automatization to increase greenhouse yield, all the micromanagement for your crops is dealt with. You set up what you want, the computer does it for you. Simple as that. It will truly take a load of pressure off of your very strong shoulders.

Automatization can Increase the Yields in your Greenhouse

When installed and managed properly, a climate system can optimize your greenhouse production and reward you with 30% more yields. Whenever the temperature sensor notices a change in your climate, all the changes needed to recover the desired climate will be set in motion. This is all done quickly and efficiently with no time delay. Having a well-managed climate allows your yields to become regular and predictable. The changes throughout the day that you input into the system will also affect the yields positively.

Streamline and improve greenhouse production to have reliable weekly yields. /Credit: Alex Chabot
Streamline and improve greenhouse production to have reliable weekly yields. /Credit: Alex Chabot

What system should I use?

At the end of the day, you need a system that takes care of the heating and ventilation and therefore allows you to dehumidify. Consider your long-term vision for integrating greenhouses on your farm. This will help you to choose a climatic controller that fits your needs. For example, does the controller have the capacity to affect the climate and irrigation? Can it control multiple greenhouses? Can you control the greenhouse(s) from anywhere (even from the farmers’ market)? Does it record data for you? Does it have a good temperature/humidity sensor? 

And keep in mind, as you streamline and improve greenhouse production and have reliable weekly yields, your greenhouses will be making you more money than ever.

Wants to learn more before making any decisions regarding your greenhouse?

Using automatization to increase greenhouse yield is one aspect of greenhouse management. We have prepared a series of articles that will help you expand your knowledge on the topic of greenhouse installation so that this endeavor can be more enjoyable and less overwhelming.

We invite you to check out the following articles: 

If you need any further resources to help you with your greenhouse production or to learn about best practices for operating a profitable farm, we invite you to join the Market Gardener Masterclass. The Market Gardener Masterclass is a comprehensive online course that documents all the steps of successful market garden production. Our method has been developed based on over 20 years of experience in organic market gardening and is designed to allow you to deliver consistent results that will support the success of your farm