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Arupratan Ghosh
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This book is for both teachers and students of universities and colleges who are working on, or are interested in, the subject of 'Greenhouse Technology', or in dealing with subjects related to crop science. This book also targets researchers, extension workers and individual entrepreneurs to provide a clear and handy idea about greenhouse technology. The book is divided into 8 chapters. Chapter 1 contains the introduction, which elaborates on the reason and necessity of cultivation under greenhouse, the definition of greenhouse, and the history and present scenario of greenhouse cultivation. Chapter 2 narrates the meaning of greenhouse technology, the planning of greenhouse, the subjects involved in it, the fundamental points which are required to be understood for different climatic situations and the purpose of a greenhouse. Chapter 3 deals with the importance of different climatic and non-climatic factors in selecting proper greenhouse technology. This chapter also highlights the different measuring systems required for greenhouse technology. Chapter 4 describes in detail the design and construction of a greenhouse, which includes basic forms and types of greenhouses, its different covering materials, particular aspects of construction, cost estimates for different types of greenhouses etc. Chapter 5 introduces the innovative 'Bamboo Greenhouse Technology. It starts with the preparation of bamboo and ends with the detailed design and construction aspects of this unique low-cost, scientific and highly efficient greenhouse. Chapter 6 is the most important chapter for greenhouse technology. It elaborates on the control mechanisms for different climatic components, such as light, temperature, humidity, precipitation, and carbon dioxide. Chapter 7 discusses the important aspects of cultivation and special methods of crop husbandry which are essential for greenhouse cultivation. These include crop selection, bed preparation, fertilizer application, irrigation, canopy management, training and pruning, and pest management. Chapter 8 is the last chapter, and it provides some tips for the cultivation of a few important crops which are generally deemed suitable for the greenhouse.

0 Start Pages

Preface Since last 100 years only the Human civilization changed its course to have a meteoric growth to achieve a utopia of best possible human life. It has happened and still happening by the outstanding development of science and subsequent technology. Interestingly, most of such developments are concentrated around Industrialization and urbanization. Unfortunately such developments leave aside about 70% people of this planet and shrink drastically the area of land fit for agriculture. Now, at this juncture, this development phenomenon actually raises question on future development of Human civilization. Thus, being confined in an acute transitional stage of development of human society, every man with sensible mind is worried about his future generations, consciously or subconsciously. Quality of life changes each day almost in every sphere. In this respect, quality food production is the most laggard subject that cannot grow with the demand and requirement of the society, compared to the subjects like entertainment, housing, health-care, transport, clothing etc. Since last century, the wise men of our society are trying their level best to speed up the growth rate of food production mostly in respect of quantity. Erratic application of chemicals (leads toxicity in food), mechanization of cultivation practices (leads unemployment), and genetic improvement of crops (extinct genetic diversity) are the three major tools introduced and developed to augment quantity of production. But, quality and sustainability of crop production have not been addressed properly. Now, the demand for development of food production in the next few decades will be concentrated on quality, nutrient supply and sustainability of the growth. Production of the quickly perishable food items will face more serious problem in this aspect of development. In this situation “greenhouse technology” or “protected cultivation technology” is the only answer that can meet up the said future demand of balance growth of production of perishable food items utilizing least possible area employing more manpower. Greenhouse technology can increase the yield manifold and at the same time can improve the quality significantly as per demand of the market. It can also be used as an immediate tool of ‘organic food production’, which is otherwise possible only through the change of present cultivation system, but that, will require time. Sensing the commercial opportunity of greenhouse cultivation many far-sighted rich people around the globe has invaded this sector. They identify and copy ‘greenhouse technology’ with the help of experts of the pioneer countries, like Holland and Israel, without giving necessary impetus on the science behind that technology. Thus, they are dependent and have low rate of initial success. Their commercial or conservative outlook force them to cut off the spreading of these hired technology to the common mass including the educationists, extension workers, students, researchers etc. Naturally, improvement of this ‘copied technology’ or innovation of ‘new’ technology in accordance to the local situation is not possible effectively. On the other hand scientific information about greenhouse technology’ in the form of text book is not available due to the same reason. This above situation inspired me to write this book with a motto to disseminate the scientific and corresponding technical idea of greenhouse and cultivation under it. It is very much a multidisciplinary subject and indeed very difficult to co-relate amongst different discipline. I faced serious problem to generate a holistic idea about ‘greenhouse technology’ that are practiced presently. Poor availability of basic information and conceptual explanation, particularly for hot & humid tropical and sub-tropical areas, created a lot of problem initially. However, books on other subjects and different periodicals published for both scientific and commercial purposes helped a lot.Apart from this, some renowned and experienced scholars and experts, especially Dr. N P S Sirohi, IARI, Pusa; Dr R G Maiti, retd. Professor of Horticulture, BCKV; and Dr. K N Tiwari, IIT, Kharagur; helped me in different aspects. Actually a good period’ of time and labour was invested to conceive and assemble the basic idea of ‘greenhouse technology’. This book, with a separate chapter, is also elaborated the award winning innovative “bamboo greenhouse technology. It is an eco-friendly, low-cost, scientific greenhouse structure suitable for any grower. It was innovated by me in 2012, and I dream that each and every small and marginal farmer of this planet should have such a protective structure to practice precision farming under it. I specially acknowledge the help I received from m/s Sanhit Biosolution Pvt Ltd, Bolpur, to bring this bamboo greenhouse technology into reality. This book targets Government extension workers, individual entrepreneurs, and greenhouse-farmers to provide a clear, handy, and basic idea about greenhouse technology. The book is also written for the teachers, researchers and students of universities and colleges who are or would be associated with the subject ‘Greenhouse technology’ for academic or research purposes. In the process, I have listed a number of research possibilities in Indian condition that is needed to be done in immediate future. The book is divided into eight chapters containing 1) Introduction, 2) Basic idea, 3) Factors 4) Design, 5) Bamboo greenhouse, 6) climate control, 7) crop husbandry, and 8) few crop-wise package of practice. Completion of this work was a difficult task. It would not have been possible without the help of my well wishers and family members. I am grateful to every one of them. I specially acknowledge the help I received continuously from Dr. M Pandit. I also acknowledge my indebtedness to all the writers of books and periodicals I have consulted during preparation of the manuscript of the present book. I am particularly thankful to my wife Susmita, without whose devoted effort it would not have been possible to complete the manuscript. In spite of her packed daily routine she took out time to go through the entire manuscript in detail and did the necessary’ alteration, correction and modification quite speedily. Her modification work frequently had forced me to rethink many issues, and thus gave me scope to improve the contents. However, I am alert that there are a number of shortcomings in this book. At present, I am not in a position to identify and improve the same. Hope everyone who is interested about greenhouse technology will accommodate these shortcomings and also feel free to send suggestion, modification, changes, additions and alterations to the author for the improvement of this book in next edition.

1 Introduction

1.1. History of Cultivation Prehistoric people lived as hunters and gatherers. About ten thousand years since now they unveiled the mystery of germination and engaged themselves in production of plant from seed. Since then it was practiced in the open field fully exposed to sun, rainfall, ambient temperature & humidity, etc. Gradually, with the development of society, they improved the package of practice and became accustomed to produce better crop in accordance with these natural conditions. Backdrop of modern agriculture technology: Since the late 19th century, population all over the world increased rapidly, which demanded more food production. This situation prompted crop production as a profitable business. New scientific inventions were incorporated in farming practices to increase the production per unit area (yield). On the other hand, repeated cultivation of same or similar crops in the same land, year after years, gradually reduced the productivity of soil. Hence, need arose for increase of crop yield through further improvement in farming technology. First-phase development: The incorporation of ‘chemicals’ into the soil as plant nutrients(fertilizers) coupled with the use of ‘high-yielding varieties’ changed the scenario of crop production in the sixties of last century. This, along with ‘mechanization’, increased crop yield many-fold and helped to bring large areas under the plough. Countries, which developed these technologies, made good amount of money/profit from this development. Gradually, the rest of the world adopted or purchased these technologies particularly to meet up the rising demand of food in their respective country. Subsequent problem: This systemof cultivation solvedthe food scarcity problem initially but use of chemicals, cultivation of similar crop over a large area etc. destroyed the agro- ecological balance. These technological developments, coupled with adoption of labour saving technologies, gradually created problems like gradual loss of soil health, lowering of nutrient-use-efficiency and subsequent yield. This invited severe attack of pests like insect, disease, weed and related social problem like unemployment.

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2 General Idea About Greenhouse Technology

2.1. What is Greenhouse Technology? Greenhouse technology involves primarily the structural design that can take care of climate control mechanisms to create proper micro-crop-climate and secondarily it involves the technology needed for optimum growth and production of crop grown under this structure. Combination of these two aspects may be expressed as ‘greenhouse technology’. So the ‘greenhouse technology’ may be defined as “The technology required to built a structure, covered fully, partly or porously for manipulating the inside climatic conditions, under which crops/plants can be grown with special measures”.

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3 Factors for Selection of Greenhouse Technology

3.1. Non-Climatic Factors Apart from climate several other non-climatic factors has to be considered before selection of proper greenhouse technology, which are listed in the following text. 1. Location and selection of site: The ideal location for greenhouse cultivation is an area having moderate climate with high sunlight, low humidity and good natural drainage. It is better to avoid storm prone areas or it is a must to take necessary protection, like wind-break and shelter belt, in such areas. However, selection of site, where the greenhouse will be constructed, is the first consideration to select the proper greenhouse technology. The proper selection of site will also depend upon various non-technical factors, which are listed below.

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4 Design and Construction of Greenhouse

Design and Construction of a greenhouse involves five distinctly different aspects viz. (a) Basic form or type, (b) structure/designs, (c) covering materials and its fixing, (d) foundation and constructional detail, and (e) crop-support, irrigation and drainage planning. All the above aspects are interlinked. To have a clear idea, these individual aspects are discussed separately. 4.1. Basic Forms of Greenhouse Before considering anything about construction, one should finalize the form of construction. There are different forms of greenhouses for different climatic and crop situations. These types of structures are planned according to the requirement of farmer/promoter and obviously according to the purpose. Now we will describe, in brief, some of the important form or type of greenhouses. 4.1.1. Greenhouse covered with transparent and impervious material These structures are covered with water/rain impermeable transparent materials which allow necessary solar radiation for optimal growth of plants. Simultaneously it protects crops from temperature-fluctuation, rain, wind, and creates a favourable situation in respect of CO2 and humidity. This covering is also used to prevent the re-radiation of heat energy and conserve the heat generated in daytime to raise night temperature inside.

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5 Bamboo Greenhouse Technology A Multi Stage Technological Innovation

5.1. Introduction Back drop: Since the concept of greenhouse technology was introduced, metal and wooden structures were tried in different parts of the world. When greenhouse was brought in the tropical and sub-tropical areas, people tried bamboo as construction material for greenhouse instead of iron or wood. However, due to the non-standard character of bamboo, the standardization of design of bamboo greenhouse, as a model, was not possible. Actually all such designs were very much clumsy and not at all comparable to the well established models of greenhouse having metal or wood frame. Hence it is an urgent call to establish a standard design of bamboo greenhouse that can efficiently compete with the other common & commercial greenhouses made-up of GI-pipes. Innovation: This greenhouse is structured by matured, cured & treated bamboo instead of usual structural elements (GI/MS/wood). For that matter (1) innovated design and construction methods and (2) a new curing method has been generated. It is very tough to standardize the design of bamboo greenhouses, specifically due to the non-standardized nature of bamboo. Unlike GI/MS pipe etc, bamboos do not have the same dimensions and uniformity in size & shape (diameter/ width/thickness etc). Thus, in general, bamboo greenhouses are low in height and are of naturally ventilated type. However, there is still huge scope to work on design of bamboo greenhouse for different climatic situation to avail the benefits of its natural advantages and low cost.

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6 Climate Control Mechanism

The greenhouse technology is all about the controlling of ambient climatic factors to create a favourable ‘micro-climate’ for the crop growth. The magnitude of such control may differ from minimal to maximum. It may control single (like rain) to multiple aspects (like rain, temperature, humidity, sun-light, wind, carbon-di-oxide, etc in combination). It can simply be done by manipulating natural factors using the suitable/appropriate design of the greenhouse or can be done in complex form by using/installing different devices and packages (may be software) with necessary automation in a specifically designed greenhouse. It is a vast subject and very difficult to have a thumb-rule for such climate control mechanism due to seasonal climatic variations and most importantly due to the inter-relation effect between each and every climatic factors. Thus, it should be given sufficient space to maneuver the mechanism designed for a specific greenhouse targeting a specific crop. Ways to control these climatic factors in a greenhouse There are two basic ways to control the climate inside greenhouse. Primarily, through a suitable design of the greenhouse itself, the inside microclimate can be controlled, obviously up to a certain level. Through manipulation of the design, particularly the naturally ventilated system, the rain water, temperature, humidity, CO2, wind, etc can be controlled up to a certain level in favour of the crop. Secondarily, by introducing equipments, tools, devices, etc we can control the micro-climate of a greenhouse. In most cases, it can take care of a number of climatic factors, like temperature and humidity, sun-light and temperature, etc simultaneously to provide a crop-wise micro-climate inside. Frequently we use both the basic controlling methods, in combination, to achieve the required climate control system in a particular greenhouse. We have already discussed about the different climatic factors that affect the crop micro-climate. Now we will discuss the basic control mechanism of each and every climatic factors and the related technology that can be utilized for greenhouse.

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7 Basics of Greenhouse Cultivation Technology

7.1. Introduction Cultivation of crop is one of the most important aspects on which the success of a greenhouse depends. Principally it is similar to that of open field cultivation; but it is a completely different proposition in comparison. In greenhouse it needs (1) high precision technology, (2) special management, and (3) high qualityinputs. A special crop husbandry is extremely necessary, integrating all these three aspects, for successful greenhouse cultivation. Why special crop husbandry? – Ancestors of each and every crop of modern time once grew out of its own in wild, without any human intervention. Gradually it has been domesticated or brought under cultivation by progressive alteration of its natural growing and reproduction process. Even the genetic nature also altered gradually. Till recent past these development of domestication process has been restricted principally on reproduction, planting, nutrient supply, water supply, and plant protection aspects. Interestingly most of these aspects are still very much supplementary in nature, as a good percent of it is still dependent on nature and its growing system.Actually, we cannot confer any significant change, physically or genetically, in their adaptation against the natural elements like rain, sunlight, temperature, humidity, gas supply, etc. However, we try our level best with a compromising note on local climate. Hence there is ample scope to go for complete alteration of their growing habit/ practices in relation to each and every aspect of the climatic elements. It is a very difficult job, because, for a small change in any individual aspect of plant growth, all the other aspects are affected. Thus, one has to make a proper and holistic balance of alteration of all the growth aspects for each and every individual domesticated plant, we call as crop.

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8 Tips for Cultivation of Some Important Greenhouse Crops

8.1. Vegetables 8.1.1. Tomato (Lycopsarsicon Esculentum) Temperature: A warm climate crop can tolerate high temperature but cannot withstand frost. Minimum temperature for germination of seed is 8 to 10°C. Night temperature for fruit setting is 12 to 22°C. Critical night temperature for fruit setting is below 12°C. Critical day temperature for fruit setting is above 32°C. If the greenhouse can maintain the temperature as mentioned above then the non-terminal or indeterminate tomato crop can be grown for 10 to 12 month duration. Variety: Indeterminate (producing flowers and fruits continuously along the stem as it grows) hybrid varieties resistant to nematodes or fusarium or verticilium wilt disease may be selected.

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9 End Pages

Annexures Annexure – I: Conversion Formulas


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