Published 01/11/2012

It's All About the Climate

Quantity, quality, timing is everything

Ornamental plant production in greenhouses, like most businesses, is planned according to a unit sales forecast. The number of plants is easily planned, but that is where the challenge of working in a biological industry begins. Plants, simply put, are biochemical reactors that are subject to chemical reaction rates,

The popular rule of thumb for biological systems is that reaction rates double for every 10°C of temperature rise, up to a limit. So, temperature dictates plant mass, or quantity. However, quantity of ornamental plants does not guarantee profitable sales without sufficient quality. Quality is a short-lived aspect of plant production that is critical to profits, and the greenhouse climate is critical in determining crop quality.

Quantity and quality, alone or together, do not guarantee profit without timing. Hitting market windows is critical. We all know that the spring weekends are precious and that there are no New Year’s markets for the poinsettia.

Heating, cooling, ventilation and air distribution combine to result in a climate that is confined to a rather narrow range of conditions. This environment, hospitable for plants yet hostile to pathogens, is crucial for success. Greenhouse climate screens, or energy/shade curtains as they are frequently known, are frequently installed for insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs. However, recent research reinforces the benefit of curtains in creating a climate more favorable to plant production...

              

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