The purchase of a 3-season heated greenhouse (including the option of growing vegetables in winter with minimal heating) is one of the best investments a grower will make in his or her career. A professional quality greenhouse, properly installed, can pay for itself in less than two years of production. Still, it is a significant investment and we have compiled five investments to improve your greenhouse production.
Before going any further, keep in mind that when installing your first greenhouse, it is important to prioritize having a greenhouse of ideal size, well ventilated and, efficiently heated. If you want to upgrade an existing greenhouse on your farm or build a new, more efficient greenhouse, you may want to consider adding an automatic control system and hiring a professional installation service.
Choosing the Right Width Greenhouse
There are several strategies for building a greenhouse or a greenhouse park with multiple greenhouses. It may be tempting to go for smaller greenhouses that seem less expensive. However, you would be making a big mistake in choosing this strategy. One of the five investments to consider to improve your greenhouse production is to choose a wider and taller greenhouse. The wider and taller a greenhouse is, the lower the infrastructure cost per square meter. Plus, a good-sized greenhouse will allow for optimal use of outside light and your yields will be higher. Also, the larger the greenhouse, the more efficient the heating of the mass will be, so you will have to spend less on heating costs per square meter.
We strongly believe that the best strategy when it comes to building your first greenhouse is to invest in a 30, 32, or 35-foot wide greenhouse, regardless of the length. This type of structure is also stronger and allows for trellising of crops like tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer.
Use an Efficient and Affordable Greenhouse Heating System
For now, the simplest and most efficient heating system is still natural gas or propane unit heaters. You will want to install diffusion tanks and a squirrel cage to distribute the heat throughout the greenhouse. Buying a new or newer furnace with increased efficiency (using less gas to provide more heat) is worth the investment. Then, take the time to have maintenance done to ensure that your system will always perform well.
The Importance of Ventilating Your Greenhouse
Good ventilation of your greenhouse is essential to the health of the plants that grow in it and is one essential investment to consider to improve your greenhouse production. The optimal combination is to have natural ventilation with side openings AND mechanical ventilation such as positive pressure. The addition of horizontal airflow (HAF) fans, properly placed inside the greenhouse, is also a must.
Add a Climate Controller to Your Greenhouse
Adding a climate controller is worth the investment both in terms of reduced mental load (no more having to manage everything yourself with alarms, etc.) and in terms of productivity gains. When you have a greenhouse of a nice height, well heated and well ventilated, the addition of a climate control allows you to maximize the growth potential of your crops. The controller ensures that the openings are activated in a proper manner and the ventilation or heating are optimized according to the instructions given by the grower. This investment is a must in a profitable greenhouse.
Use a Team of Professionals to Install a Greenhouse
You have reached a certain level of production on your farm and are ready to add another greenhouse? This type of investment often coincides with the time when you and your business have reached a certain maturity. You are more efficient as a human being working on a farm and your precious time is often even more limited. Choosing to have your greenhouse installed by professionals frees up time to further develop your skills, but more importantly, guarantees a well-done and durable installation. Since energy efficiency depends greatly on installation details, having the work done by a professional team is often worth the investment when our farm is well established.
The installation of a greenhouse is an important project in the profitability of a farm. There are more than five investments to improve your greenhouse production and we have therefore prepared a series of complementary articles that will help you increase your knowledge on the subject.
We invite you to check the following articles:
- Four Factors You Must Consider Before Buying a Greenhouse
- Four Ways Your Season-Extension Production Will Benefit From Using Greenhouses
- How To Properly Ventilate Your Greenhouse and Why this is Essential in Your Success
- What is the Most Efficient Way to Heat Your Greenhouse?
- Should You Consider Automatization to Increase Your Greenhouse Yields?
If you need any more 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 guarantee the success of your farm.