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Conchak Investments Zambia

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Greenhouses

Greenhouses are essentially just structures which are intended to protect the crops within from the elements. When crops can be grown intensively and in climates they are not endemic to, the greenhouse becomes vital. A greenhouse can be used to protect many different types of crops, be they grown Hydroponically, or conventionally.

Greenhouses can take on many different shapes, depending on the size of the operation and the location. It is important that a greenhouse does not get confused with a shade house. A greenhouse effectively closes the interior off from the elements, allowing one to create a controlled environment. Impervious "plastic" greenhouse sheeting is used as covering. A shade house, uses shade netting of various types as covering. This prevents crops from burning with too much sun, and protects them from hail and storms, but the climate within would still be a version of what is outside

A greenhouse is a little more complicated to build, as one needs to choose the type of "plastic sheeting" carefully to ensure suitability to the climate and desired crops. Other factors that have to be considered include; rainfall, snow and wind. Shade netting does not offer an impervious barrier, so, for example, the force of the wind is less of a problem, as the air can pass through the net, whereas a solid sheet will have to bear the full force of the wind. Heating and cooling by means of ventilation hatches, fans, evaporation coolers and solar radiation is also relevant in a greenhouse, as an artificial micro climate is being created, whereas a shade house interior is only a version of what is outside.

Greenhouses and shadehouses can take on many different forms and shapes, each for a purpose and ultimately to suit the production systems within, the crops to be cultivated and the climatic conditions of the area. They can range from simple plastic covered enclosures to very sophisticated, structures where most functions are computer controlled to create optimum conditions within to have the crops within perform at their absolute best.

Greenhouse designs:

When choosing a design of Greenhouse or Shadehouse, there are many factors that have to be considered, and striking the correct balance requires experience and in depth knowledge.

Greenhouse designs:

Right:

Standard Tunnels are the most widely used design, with manual or automatic ventilation and temperature controls. (Rovero - Netherlands)
Below Left:
Gothic Arch Tunnels are very similar to he Standard Tunnels, but cater for heavy precipitation , offering better roof drainage and no horizontal surface for hail or snow to settle. (Rovero - Netherlands)

Above Right:
Multi-Spans offer large growing areas within and sophisticated roof ventilation options. Negatives to this design would be vulnerability to heavy winds and high initial investment costs. (Rovero - Netherlands)
Right:
Shadenet Houses, depending on their design can offer protection from the elements, to both plants and livestock, with very large un impeded space within. There are versions which are purpose designed to offer hail protection to crops and others to protect orchards from birds and bats. (Top right - Nucor; Bottom Right - Comavit)