Higher Yields: Because greenhouses can provide the crop the ideal growing conditions, crops can spend all their energy growing, and growing for an extended season, thereby increasing the yield. Additionally, there are more crops grown per square foot and high wire crops grow much taller. Hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes are typically vine-type which typically are over 25 feet long before the crop is ended, compare that to a 5” tall bush-type tomato grown in the field! The yields for greenhouse tomatoes are typically over four times the yield of field-grown tomatoes.
What is hydroponics? What are the advantages of growing hydroponically? Believe it or not, plants don’t actually need soil to grow! Soil provides an anchor for plants and nutrition, but those can be provided in other ways. The plants can root into many substances for the anchor. For high wire crops plants are twisted with string and supported to a wire above, rather than a stake in the ground.
By growing in inert growing media, the plant can be provided exactly the optimum food for that crop and stage of life, giving the best flavor and highest yields.
Additionally, GVC can guide a grower recycling nutrient solution recovering fertilizer and water, and feed it again and again to the plant. This gives the grower significant savings in fertilizer and reduces the negative impact of runoff into the environment.
Growing in poor soil/non-arable land: Good farm land is becoming scarce as people move out into these areas to live. Hydroponic growing does not require good soil. Typically, plants are grown in coco-coir which is made from the waste products of coconuts. Other growing media includes rockwool, perlite, sawdust, sand, etc.
How is disease management different from field grown vegetables? Soil pests and diseases are significantly reduced because the media can be discarded. For example, there are no nematodes in the growing media and no need for toxic soil fumigants.
Since many vegetable diseases are due to wet conditions and spread or increase with rain such as bacterial spot and speck (and many others), disease problems are already reduced.
Still, other diseases exist in greenhouses and due to the high value of the crop, small losses in yields lead to big losses in revenue. An effective management plan for these greenhouse diseases, such as bacterial canker, vary by greenhouse, crop ending, etc.
How is pest management different from field grown vegetables? Because bees have to be introduced into a greenhouse for pollination, pesticides must be used with caution. Fortunately, Natural Enemies are very effective in greenhouse growing and are the standard throughout Europe, Canada, and increasingly in the United States. By using Natural Enemies (predators, parasitic wasps, beneficial fungus, etc.) GVC can help provide growers' customers with Pesticide Free products and achieve a premium price.