Chapter 14

Greenhouse Production Systems

(book excerpts)

There are numerous production systems currently being utilized worldwide by commercial greenhouse producers. Greenhouse crop production systems are either based on soil or soilless culture. In soil culture, crops are produced in the native soil or in a soil brought inside the greenhouse. A well-drained, pathogen-free soil of uniform texture is typically the best medium for plant growth, but some soils do not always have these attributes. When adverse conditions are found in soil and reclamation is impractical, some form of soilless culture may be justified. Soilless culture involves the growing of plants in either in a water culture, termed hydroponics, or in a soilless substrate such as sand, vermiculite, rockwool, peat moss, saw dust, coir dust, or coconut fiber. The greenhouse grower has many choices in soilless culture systems. The choice of culture will depend on the plants to be grown, the size of the system, and the financial and time investment the grower wishes to make. Many growers will try a variety of growing cultures over time, finally settling on a culture that works well for their variety of plants, and with which they experience success. All greenhouse production systems require the use of similar environmental controls, shade structures, support wires, and general production practices. The major differences would be in the type of culture used and irrigation and nutrient delivery methods. Individual production cultures are not necessarily crop specific, but several are often associated with certain crops.

Click on the following topics for more information on greenhouse production systems.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Soil Culture
  • Greenhouse Soils Amended with Compost or Manure
  • National Organic Program Standards for Compost
  • NOP Standards on Composts Used for Crop Production
  • Soilless Culture
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Soiless Culture Systems
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Hydroponic Systems
  • Nutrient Film Technique
  • Floating Raft System
  • Aeroponic System
  • Substrate Culture Systems
  • Capillary Mat System
  • Ebb-and-Flow System
  • Flooded Floor System
  • Trough Bench System
  • Trough Culture System
  • Floor Culture System
  • Lay-Flat Bag Container Culture System
  • Vertical Container Technique
  • Hanging Bag Technique
  • Deep Flow Technique
  • Hanging Basket System