Greenhouse farming is a term used to define virtually any major agriculture endeavor that is carried out using greenhouses. These allow farmers to grow many different kinds of crops in climates that may not be hospitable. The development of greenhouse farming techniques has generally resulted in more overall food for the whole world and helped to reduce world hunger problems. It’s also been helpful in allowing people to buy almost any fruit or vegetable at their local grocers, regardless of whether the food is out of season.
The capacity to carefully control temperature is usually considered the most important advantage of greenhouse farming. Farmers can create their greenhouses using materials that maximize the heat from the sun. Some farmers may also include heaters inside the greenhouses, which can be helpful in very cold climates. Other aspects of environmental controls, including careful adjustment of humidity, are also often useful.
Another big plus for greenhouse farming is that it allows people to take advantage of vertical space. In a normal farming environment, the growing area is generally a flat expanse, but this isn’t true when farming in greenhouses. Many farmers will have plants sitting in shelves or hanging from the ceilings, and this sometimes allows the farmer to pack more plants in an acre than usual.
Greenhouse farming can be more flexible than regular farming, especially when farmers have multiple separate buildings. For example, a farmer could set up a building that was perfect for growing a particular tropical species and then set up other buildings that grow plants that thrive in cooler climates. Each building can have perfect environmental controls to maximize the growing potential of each species.
It’s very common for greenhouse farmers to use a technique called hydroponics. This involves growing plants suspended in liquid. Sometimes this liquid is simply water, but usually it is infused with very specialized nutrient mixes. This often allows plants to grow larger and more rapidly than they normally would, and it lets farmers maximize efficiency.
The main disadvantages of greenhouse farming are generally related to cost. When farmers plant outdoors, they only require the money for seed, labor, and whatever additional costs are associated with equipment or land. Greenhouse farming introduces a whole new set of expenses related to buildings and maintenance of those buildings. Farmers who have to artificially heat the inside of their greenhouses generally have even greater costs to deal with.