Green house farming in Zimbabwe – a consideration for Zimbabwean farmers

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Greenhouse is one of such a useful technique to consider in horticulture. There is a saying that moves me “to move mountains first move little stones”. Again farming is a serious business that needs to be developed gradually, don’t rush to take it as a quick return business, consider f a well-planned idea, budget, and seek guidance at every step until you are able to sail alone in the same route.

Here is the idea of a back yard green house business. With the aid of an Agricultural engineer, you can be able to construct on your own, or simply contracts the expert to make it for you. There is therefore a need for you to know the costs of the structure, as well as the agronomy part of greenhouse production on different crops, of common being tomato, peppers, cucumbers, germ squash etc.

Building a simple greenhouse does not need to be expensive or time consuming depending with material you are using, which can be poles, plastic or glass or steel and plastic. The final choice of the type of the greenhouse will depend on the growing space desired, home architecture, available sites, and costs. The greenhouse must however provide the proper environment for growing plants.

1. Location

The greenhouse should be sited where it gets maximum sunlight. Sunlight all day is best but morning sunlight on the east side is sufficient for plants. Morning sunlight is most desirable because it allows the plant food production process to begin early, so growth is maximised. Good drainage is another requirement for the site. When necessary build the green house above the ground so rainwater and irrigation water drains away.

2. Structural Materials

Selection of commercial greenhouse frames and framing materials depends on you. The frames are made of wood, galvanized steel, or aluminium. Build-it-yourself greenhouse plans are usually for structures with wood or metal pipe frames. Frames can be covered with glass, rigid fiberglass, rigid double-wall plastics, or plastic film. All have advantages and disadvantages. Each of these materials should be considered -it pays to shop around for ideas.

3. Ventilation

Ventilation is the exchange of inside air for outside air to control temperature, remove moisture, or replenish carbon dioxide (CO2). Several ventilation systems can be used. Be careful when mixing parts of two systems. Natural ventilation uses roof vents on the ridge line with side inlet vents (louvers). Warm air rises on convective currents to escape through the top, drawing cool air in through the sides.

4. Watering

A water supply is essential. Hand watering is acceptable for most greenhouse crops if someone is available when the task needs to be done. A variety of automatic watering systems is available to help to do the task over short periods of time. Bear in mind, the small greenhouse is likely to have a variety of plant materials, containers, and soil mixes that need different amounts of water. There is therefore a need for a drip irrigation kit, with a facility for fertigation.

5. Carbon Dioxide and Light

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and light are essential for plant growth. As the sun rises in the morning to provide light, the plants begin to produce food energy (photosynthesis). The level of CO2 drops in the greenhouse as it is used by the plants. There is a need to balance the availability of the two, which I don’t see any problem in Zimbabwean environment.

There is therefore a need for one to consult, and have proper advice on greenhouse construction, greenhouse crop returns analysis, yield capacity. For what I have seen and I understand, there is no reason to loose when using this technology, give yourself time, plan it harvest the best.

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    • G Chiunda
    • February 5, 2015

    Would like toinvest in greenhouse farming at my 250ha farm. I would like to start with a 75x50m area. Need someone to consult and where to get supplies for material and crop

    • tose respite care home
    • November 10, 2015

    need quotation for greenhouse 192 square metres

    • Didi
    • November 20, 2015

    I am also interested in farming , need someone to help with advice on how to go about it.

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