Designing and Building a Greenhouse

Greenhouses in tropical climates allow you to have more environmental control and result in abundant harvests. 

Greenhouses allow growers to maximize potential yield while lowering production costs. With the expansion of production profit margin, this could give room to lowering consumer prices of vegetables while maintaining a healthy profit margin for the grower. With the right construction plan and crop selection, you can grow all year long. In building a greenhouse, you might want to consider some factors first before proceeding to the actual construction. Below are some of these:

1. Size of the Greenhouse

When planning to build a greenhouse for your farm or garden, you should consider the size of the greenhouse that you want to have. The size of greenhouse that you require will depend on a number of environmental factors, such as terrain profile, climate and other environmental variables, but the most important factor to take into account is the type of plants that you plan to grow in your greenhouse. 

2. Water System

Many new growers use a hose to water their plants inside their greenhouse, but a greenhouse should ideally have its own watering system. You might need to consistently sprinkle water on your plants to maintain the moisture or humidity that the plants require inside a greenhouse. Forgetting to water your plants for one day could have disastrous consequences, so you should consider getting an internal water system, such as a sprinkler system or fogging/misting system or drip irrigation system, set up for efficient functioning of the greenhouse. Advanced growers understand the need to provide clean, fresh water that is pH adjusted to the grow media used in their systems.

3. Heating and Cooling Systems

Another important factor to consider when setting up a greenhouse is a heating and/or cooling system. This is really important as maintaining the optimum temperature, relative humidity, and vapor pressure difference inside the greenhouse is paramount in plant growth and yield. Understanding the relationship between the environment and plant physiology is important for plant transpiration inside the greenhouse. Remember that without a proper heating and/or cooling system in place, the plants can end up dying in greenhouse cultivation despite having ample nutrients and sunlight.

4. Design of Greenhouse

Greenhouses are available in various shapes and sizes and you should select one that best suits your requirements based on environmental factors. It also depends on your personal preference and the plants that you wish to grow in your greenhouse. In tropical environments, be aware that high temperatures are detrimental to the growth of plants therefore the need to provide ventilation through the top and laterals of the greenhouse. Using fine mesh netting not only helps with ventilation, it also prevent the tiniest of bugs/insects to enter the greenhouse. Greenhouses in the tropics are also subject to frequent rains and typhoons, so ensure that the roof design can handle excessive rainwater and that the necessary foundation works and structural reinforcements are in place.

There are many types and models to consider in choosing which greenhouse type best fits the surrounding environmental factors. Considering the tropical climate in the Philippines, the best greenhouse design type is the ‘tropic-type’ greenhouse design. The tropic-type model greenhouse offers superior protection against tropical conditions characterized by high heat and humidity in the dry season and occurrence of heavy rains showers during monsoon season.

In the tropic-type greenhouse design, a fixed roof vent opening allows excess humidity to exit top-side of the greenhouse while the entire lateral structure is covered in fine mesh netting to prevent the entrance of bugs, insects, and birds. In addition, the shape of the arches allows excellent light transmission. due to its asymmetric geometry with one side of the roof steeper than the other. The slope of the roof relies on the balance between the angle of incidence to allow optimal sunlight transmission and rainfall calculations.

The tropic-type greenhouse design is scalable and modular which makes it easy for future expansion construction activity. Reinforced columns can share load between units and gutters can be placed to divert rainwater to the drainage system. Diagonal side reinforcements act as lateral stabilizers while each section is cross-braced to share horizontal load across the entire structure down to the foundation.

Tropical Greenhouse Model

Advantages:

  • Suitable for warm tropical climates
  • Optimal light transmission
  • Ample topside and lateral ventilation features
  • Fully enclosed in fine mesh netting
  • Adapted to handle excess rain showers
  • Strong wind resistance
  • Structurally reinforced to reduce load
  • Modular design enables ease of build
  • Designed with scalability in mind for future expansion

Standard Features:

The standard dimensions of this type of greenhouse are:

  • Width: 9.60m
  • Length: 20m
  • Eave height: 3.50m
  • Ridge height: 5 – 5.50m
  • Column distance: 4m

LOCK CHANNELS and UV PLASTIC

When you build a greenhouse, you’re making an investment in your future as a commercial or hobbyist farmer. Using the best quality greenhouse materials is essential to protect your investment. Using durable and affordable lock channels with wiggle wires to fasten UV film and fine mesh netting in a greenhouse’s construction will ensure that it lasts for years to come in even the harshest environments.

How to use Lock Channels and Wiggle Wires?

The lock channel and spring wire (also known as wiggle wire) can help prevent greenhouse plastic tearing that commonly occurs during or after greenhouse installation, which is but one of the various ways in which they help to protect your investment. The flexibility of this lock channel allows you to bend the channel around the arches of your greenhouse roof line.  The galvanized or aluminum allows for easy pre-drilling, welding, or use of self-tapping screws which makes installation easy.  Once your greenhouse is constructed, you can rest trouble-free knowing that the galvanized or aluminum alloys will keep your lock channel from rusting or decaying over time.

Spring Lock, commonly known as wiggle wire, is a simple and economical way to install greenhouse coverings, including poly plastic and shade net, to a frame structure. The spring lock is coated with a polymer to elongate lifespan and is used in conjunction with lock channel (or c-channel) to form a tight and secure attachment of your greenhouse covering.

WIGGLE WIRE AND LOCK CHANNEL Greenhouse wiggle wire and lock channel is an immediate and secure way to install your UV plastic to your greenhouse.  The wiggle wire and lock channel creates a more secure hold of the UV plastic to the greenhouse since it’s a continuous bond to the greenhouse structure.  Wiggle wire will hold tight to the greenhouse for the entire length vs staples or screws which are spaced every 1 to 2 feet.

Why use UV-stabilized Polyethylene Plastic?

Anti UV treated Polyethylene plastic film has many properties that make it useful as a covering for greenhouses.  It’s low cost, large sheet size, ease of attachment and good light transmission are properties that have helped to expand its use so that today it is the most common material used in greenhouse roofing. Polyethylene plastic of various thickness is an affordable covering for greenhouse structures.  It’s easy to install and is much less expensive than glass panels or rigid polycarbonate sheets.  It is the most popular choice among small/medium commercial (and home) growers.  A good quality UV stabilized polyethylene greenhouse plastic film should last you at least 4 years even in high UV environments when installed properly. When selecting a plastic greenhouse covering you should select a thickness of at least 6 mil.

GREENGOLD FARMS DESIGN & CONSULTING

We offer design and consulting services for your greenhouse cultivation project. Our team of design experts and field professionals can help you meet your objectives within the project budget parameters. Our projects range from humble high value crop planting projects for foundations and private farms to complex hydroponic/organic greenhouse production facilities. Our expertise is being able to leverage modern horticultural knowledge and techniques adapted to local conditions using locally available resources. Our strength is rooted in the understanding of how to turn your farm more productive to gain higher profits while lowering production costs in the long-run.

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