Greenhouse

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Victoria amazonica (giant Amazon waterlilies) in a large greenhouse at the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden. Botanical Garden V.L. Komarov Botanical Institute.jpg
Victoria amazonica (giant Amazon waterlilies) in a large greenhouse at the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden.

A greenhouse (also called a glasshouse, or, if with sufficient heating, a hothouse) is a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. [1] These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame. The interior of a greenhouse exposed to sunlight becomes significantly warmer than the external temperature, protecting its contents in cold weather.

Contents

Young tomato plants for transplanting in an industrial-sized greenhouse in the Netherlands TomateJungpflanzenAnzuchtNiederlande.jpg
Young tomato plants for transplanting in an industrial-sized greenhouse in the Netherlands

Many commercial glass greenhouses or hothouses are high tech production facilities for vegetables, flowers or fruits. The glass greenhouses are filled with equipment including screening installations, heating, cooling, and lighting, and may be controlled by a computer to optimize conditions for plant growth. Different techniques are then used to evaluate optimality degrees and comfort ratio of greenhouses, such as air temperature, relative humidity and vapour-pressure deficit, in order to reduce production risk prior to cultivation of a specific crop.

History

Cucumbers reached to the ceiling in a greenhouse in Richfield, Minnesota, where market gardeners grew a wide variety of produce for sale in Minneapolis, c. 1910 Bachman greenhouse.jpg
Cucumbers reached to the ceiling in a greenhouse in Richfield, Minnesota, where market gardeners grew a wide variety of produce for sale in Minneapolis, c.1910
Versailles Orangerie at the Palace of Versailles, France. Orangerie du chateau de Versailles le 11 septembre 2015 - 90.jpg
Versailles Orangerie at the Palace of Versailles, France.
A plastic air-insulated greenhouse in New Zealand Greenhouse New Zealand.JPG
A plastic air-insulated greenhouse in New Zealand
Giant greenhouses in Westland, the Netherlands Westland s-gravenzande 2.jpg
Giant greenhouses in Westland, the Netherlands
A heated greenhouse, or "hothouse", In Macon, Georgia c. 1877 Central City Park, hothouse, circa 1877 - DPLA - 64ba00c11210fef2d3cbc4f4039859cb.jpeg
A heated greenhouse, or "hothouse", In Macon, Georgia c. 1877

The idea of growing plants in environmentally controlled areas has existed since Roman times. The Roman emperor Tiberius ate a cucumber-like vegetable daily. [2] The Roman gardeners used artificial methods (similar to the greenhouse system) of growing to have it available for his table every day of the year. Cucumbers were planted in wheeled carts which were put in the sun daily, then taken inside to keep them warm at night. The cucumbers were stored under frames or in cucumber houses glazed with either oiled cloth known as specularia or with sheets of selenite (a.k.a. lapis specularis), according to the description by Pliny the Elder. [3] [4]

The first description of a heated greenhouse is from the Sanga Yorok , a treatise on husbandry compiled by a royal physician of the Joseon dynasty of Korea during the 1450s, in its chapter on cultivating vegetables during winter. The treatise contains detailed instructions on constructing a greenhouse that is capable of cultivating vegetables, forcing flowers, and ripening fruit within an artificially heated environment, by utilizing ondol , the traditional Korean underfloor heating system, to maintain heat and humidity; cob walls to retain heat; and semi-transparent oiled hanji windows to permit light penetration for plant growth and provide protection from the outside environment. The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty confirm that greenhouse-like structures incorporating ondol were constructed to provide heat for mandarin orange trees during the winter of 1438. [5]

The concept of greenhouses also appeared in the Netherlands and then England in the 17th century, along with the plants. Some of these early attempts required enormous amounts of work to close up at night or to winterize. There were serious problems with providing adequate and balanced heat in these early greenhouses. The first 'stove' (heated) greenhouse in the UK was completed at Chelsea Physic Garden by 1681. [6] Today, the Netherlands has many of the largest greenhouses in the world, some of them so vast that they are able to produce millions of vegetables every year.

Experimentation with greenhouse design continued during the 17th century in Europe, as technology produced better glass and construction techniques improved. The greenhouse at the Palace of Versailles was an example of their size and elaborateness; it was more than 150 metres (490 ft) long, 13 metres (43 ft) wide, and 14 metres (46 ft) high.

The French botanist Charles Lucien Bonaparte is often credited with building the first practical modern greenhouse in Leiden, Holland, during the 1800s to grow medicinal tropical plants. [7] Originally only on the estates of the rich, the growth of the science of botany caused greenhouses to spread to the universities. The French called their first greenhouses orangeries , since they were used to protect orange trees from freezing. As pineapples became popular, pineries, or pineapple pits, were built.

19th century

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, Brussels, Belgium, an example of 19th-century greenhouse architecture Laeken Greenhouses.jpg
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, Brussels, Belgium, an example of 19th-century greenhouse architecture

The golden era of the greenhouse was in England during the Victorian era, where the largest glasshouses yet conceived were constructed; ones with sufficient height for sizeable trees were often called palm houses. These were normally in public gardens and parks. These were a stage in the 19th-century development of glass and iron architecture, which was also widely used in railway stations, markets, exhibition halls, and other large buildings needing a large and open internal area. One of the earliest examples of a palm house is in the Belfast Botanic Gardens. Designed by Charles Lanyon, the building was completed in 1840. It was constructed by iron-maker Richard Turner, who would later build the Palm House, Kew Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, in 1848. This came shortly after the Chatsworth Great Conservatory (1837-40) and shortly before The Crystal Palace (1851), both designed by Joseph Paxton, and both now lost. [8]

Other large greenhouses built in the 19th century included the New York Crystal Palace, Munich’s Glaspalast and the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (1874–1895) for King Leopold II of Belgium. In Japan, the first greenhouse was built in 1880 by Samuel Cocking, a British merchant who exported herbs.

20th century

The Eden Project, in Cornwall, England Eden project.JPG
The Eden Project, in Cornwall, England

In the 20th century, the geodesic dome was added to the many types of greenhouses. Notable examples are the Eden Project in Cornwall, The Rodale Institute [9] in Pennsylvania, the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. [10] The pyramid is another popular shape for large, high greenhouses; there are several pyramidal greenhouses at the Muttart Conservatory in Alberta (c, 1976).

Greenhouse structures adapted in the 1960s when wider sheets of polyethylene (polythene) film became widely available. Hoop houses were made by several companies and were also frequently made by the growers themselves. Constructed of aluminum extrusions, special galvanized steel tubing, or even just lengths of steel or PVC water pipe, construction costs were greatly reduced. This resulted in many more greenhouses being constructed on smaller farms and garden centers. Polyethylene film durability increased greatly when more effective UV-inhibitors were developed and added in the 1970s; these extended the usable life of the film from one or two years up to three and eventually four or more years.

Gutter-connected greenhouses became more prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s. These greenhouses have two or more bays connected by a common wall, or row of support posts. Heating inputs were reduced as the ratio of floor area to exterior wall area was increased substantially. Gutter-connected greenhouses are now commonly used both in production and in situations where plants are grown and sold to the public as well. Gutter-connected greenhouses are commonly covered with structured polycarbonate materials, or a double layer of polyethylene film with air blown between to provide increased heating efficiencies.

Theory of operation

The warmer temperature in a greenhouse occurs because incident solar radiation passes through the transparent roof and walls and is absorbed by the floor, earth, and contents, which become warmer. As the structure is not open to the atmosphere, the warmed air cannot escape via convection, so the temperature inside the greenhouse rises. This differs from the earth-oriented theory known as the "greenhouse effect". [11] [12] [13] [14]

Quantitative studies suggest that the effect of infrared radiative cooling is not negligibly small, and may have economic implications in a heated greenhouse. Analysis of issues of near-infrared radiation in a greenhouse with screens of a high coefficient of reflection concluded that installation of such screens reduced heat demand by about 8%, and application of dyes to transparent surfaces was suggested. Composite less-reflective glass, or less effective but cheaper anti-reflective coated simple glass, also produced savings. [15]

Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most important components in a successful greenhouse. If there is no proper ventilation, greenhouses and their growing plants can become prone to problems. The main purposes of ventilation is to regulate the temperature and humidity to the optimal level, and to ensure movement of air and thus prevent the build-up of plant pathogens (such as Botrytis cinerea ) that prefer still air conditions. Ventilation also ensures a supply of fresh air for photosynthesis and plant respiration, and may enable important pollinators to access the greenhouse crop.

Interior of a "hothouse" (or greenhouse) in Central City Park, Macon, GA, circa 1877. Central City Park, hothouse interior, circa 1877 - DPLA - c4a22591a2b28b6ccf7b4c4bd3a4af1e.jpeg
Interior of a "hothouse" (or greenhouse) in Central City Park, Macon, GA, circa 1877.

Ventilation can be achieved via the use of vents – often controlled automatically via a computer – and recirculation fans.

Heating

Thermal lights at a greenhouse in Narpes, Finland Greenhouse in Narpes.jpg
Thermal lights at a greenhouse in Närpes, Finland

Heating or electricity is one of the most considerable costs in the operation of greenhouses across the globe, especially in colder climates. The main problem with heating a greenhouse as opposed to a building that has solid opaque walls is the amount of heat lost through the greenhouse covering. Since the coverings need to allow light to filter into the structure, they conversely cannot insulate very well. With traditional plastic greenhouse coverings having an R-value of around 2, a great amount of money is therefore spent to continually replace the heat lost. Most greenhouses, when supplemental heat is needed use natural gas or electric furnaces.

Passive heating methods exist which seek heat using low energy input. Solar energy can be captured from periods of relative abundance (day time/summer), and released to boost the temperature during cooler periods (night time/winter). Waste heat from livestock can also be used to heat greenhouses, e.g., placing a chicken coop inside a greenhouse recovers the heat generated by the chickens, which would otherwise be wasted.[ citation needed ] Some greenhouses also rely on geothermal heating. [16]

Cooling

Cooling is typically done by opening windows in the greenhouse when it gets too warm for the plants inside it. This can be done manually, or in an automated manner. Window actuators can open windows due to temperature difference or can be opened by electronic controllers. Electronic controllers are often used to monitor the temperature and adjusts the furnace operation to the conditions. This can be as simple as a basic thermostat, but can be more complicated in larger greenhouse operations.

For very hot situations, a shade house providing cooling by shade may be used.

Lighting

During the day, light enters the greenhouse via the windows and is used by the plants. Some greenhouses are also equipped with grow lights (often LED lights) which are switched on at night to increase the amount of light the plants get, hereby increasing the yield with certain crops. [17]

Carbon dioxide enrichment

The benefits of carbon dioxide enrichment to about 1100 parts per million in greenhouse cultivation to enhance plant growth has been known for nearly 100 years. [18] [19] [20] After the development of equipment for the controlled serial enrichment of carbon dioxide, the technique was established on a broad scale in the Netherlands. [21] Secondary metabolites, e.g., cardiac glycosides in Digitalis lanata , are produced in higher amounts by greenhouse cultivation at enhanced temperature and at enhanced carbon dioxide concentration. [22] Carbon dioxide enrichment can also reduce greenhouse water usage by a significant fraction by mitigating the total air-flow needed to supply adequate carbon for plant growth and thereby reducing the quantity of water lost to evaporation. [23] Commercial greenhouses are now frequently located near appropriate industrial facilities for mutual benefit. For example, Cornerways Nursery in the UK is strategically placed near a major sugar refinery, [24] consuming both waste heat and CO2 from the refinery which would otherwise be vented to atmosphere. The refinery reduces its carbon emissions, whilst the nursery enjoys boosted tomato yields and does not need to provide its own greenhouse heating.

Enrichment only becomes effective where, by Liebig's law, carbon dioxide has become the limiting factor. In a controlled greenhouse, irrigation may be trivial, and soils may be fertile by default. In less-controlled gardens and open fields, rising CO2 levels only increase primary production to the point of soil depletion (assuming no droughts, [25] [26] [27] flooding, [28] or both [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] ), as demonstrated prima facie by CO2 levels continuing to rise. In addition, laboratory experiments, free air carbon enrichment (FACE) test plots, [34] [35] and field measurements provide replicability. [36] [37]

Types

Recreational Greenhouse at Palazzo Parisio, Malta. !!! Palazzo Scicluna, now Parisio 06.jpg
Recreational Greenhouse at Palazzo Parisio, Malta.
An old dilapidated greenhouse, where everything grows wild. Vaxthus - Skane - 2014.jpg
An old dilapidated greenhouse, where everything grows wild.

In domestic greenhouses, the glass used is typically 3mm (or ⅛″) 'horticultural glass' grade, which is good quality glass that should not contain air bubbles (which can produce scorching on leaves by acting like lenses). [38]

Plastics mostly used are polyethylene film and multiwall sheets of polycarbonate material, or PMMA acrylic glass.

Commercial glass greenhouses are often high-tech production facilities for vegetables or flowers. The glass greenhouses are filled with equipment such as screening installations, heating, cooling and lighting, and may be automatically controlled by a computer.

Dutch Light

In the UK and other Northern European countries a pane of horticultural glass referred to as "Dutch Light" was historically used as a standard unit of construction, having dimensions of 28¾″ x 56″ (approx. 730mm x 1422 mm). This size gives a larger glazed area when compared with using smaller panes such as the 600mm width typically used in modern domestic designs which then require more supporting framework for a given overall greenhouse size. A style of greenhouse having sloped sides (resulting in a wider base than at eaves height) and using these panes uncut is also often referred to as of "Dutch Light design", and a cold frame using a full- or half-pane as being of "Dutch" or "half-Dutch" size.

Uses

Greenhouses allow for greater control over the growing environment of plants. Depending upon the technical specification of a greenhouse, key factors which may be controlled include temperature, levels of light and shade, irrigation, fertilizer application, and atmospheric humidity. Greenhouses may be used to overcome shortcomings in the growing qualities of a piece of land, such as a short growing season or poor light levels, and they can thereby improve food production in marginal environments. Shade houses are used specifically to provide shade in hot, dry climates. [39] [40]

As they may enable certain crops to be grown throughout the year, greenhouses are increasingly important in the food supply of high-latitude countries. One of the largest complexes in the world is in Almería, Andalucía, Spain, where greenhouses cover almost 200 km2 (49,000 acres). [41]

Greenhouses are often used for growing flowers, vegetables, fruits, and transplants. Special greenhouse varieties of certain crops, such as tomatoes, are generally used for commercial production.

Many vegetables and flowers can be grown in greenhouses in late winter and early spring, and then transplanted outside as the weather warms. Seed tray racks can also be used to stack seed trays inside the greenhouse for later transplanting outside. Hydroponics (especially hydroponic A-frames) can be used to make the most use of the interior space when growing crops to mature size inside the greenhouse.

Bumblebees can be used as pollinators for pollination, but other types of bees have also been used, as well as artificial pollination.

The relatively closed environment of a greenhouse has its own unique management requirements, compared with outdoor production. Pests and diseases, and extremes of temperature and humidity, have to be controlled, and irrigation is necessary to provide water. Most greenhouses use sprinklers or drip lines. Significant inputs of heat and light may be required, particularly with winter production of warm-weather vegetables.

Greenhouses also have applications outside of the agriculture industry. GlassPoint Solar, located in Fremont, California, encloses solar fields in greenhouses to produce steam for solar-enhanced oil recovery. For example, in November 2017 GlassPoint announced that it is developing a solar enhanced oil recovery facility near Bakersfield, CA that uses greenhouses to enclose its parabolic troughs. [42]

An "alpine house" is a specialized greenhouse used for growing alpine plants. The purpose of an alpine house is to mimic the conditions in which alpine plants grow; particularly to provide protection from wet conditions in winter. Alpine houses are often unheated, since the plants grown there are hardy, or require at most protection from hard frost in the winter. They are designed to have excellent ventilation. [43]

Adoption

Worldwide, there are an estimated nine million acres of greenhouses. [44]

Netherlands

Greenhouses in the Westland region. Westland kassen.jpg
Greenhouses in the Westland region.

The Netherlands has some of the largest greenhouses in the world. Such is the scale of food production in the country that in 2017, greenhouses occupied nearly 5,000 hectares. [45]

Greenhouses began to be built in the Westland region of the Netherlands in the mid-19th century. The addition of sand to bogs and clay soil created fertile soil for agriculture, and around 1850, grapes were grown in the first greenhouses, simple glass constructions with one of the sides consisting of a solid wall. By the early 20th century, greenhouses began to be constructed with all sides built using glass, and they began to be heated. This also allowed for the production of fruits and vegetables that did not ordinarily grow in the area. Today, the Westland and the area around Aalsmeer have the highest concentration of greenhouse agriculture in the world.[ citation needed ] The Westland produces mostly vegetables, besides plants and flowers; Aalsmeer is noted mainly for the production of flowers and potted plants. Since the 20th century, the area around Venlo and parts of Drenthe have also become important regions for greenhouse agriculture.

Since 2000, technical innovations include the "closed greenhouse", a completely closed system allowing the grower complete control over the growing process while using less energy. Floating greenhouses[ clarification needed ] are used in watery areas of the country.

The Netherlands has around 4,000 greenhouse enterprises that operate over 9,000 hectares [46] of greenhouses and employ some 150,000 workers, producing €7.2 billion [47] worth of vegetables, fruit, plants, and flowers, some 80% of which is exported.[ citation needed ] [48] [49]

See also

Citations

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  4. rogue classicism: Roman Greenhouses? Cartilaginum generis extraque terram est cucumis mira voluptate Tiberio principi expetitus Nullo quippe non die contigit ei pensiles eorum hortos promoventibus in solem rotis olitoribus rursusque hibernis diebus intra specularium munimenta revocantibus
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General and cited references

Further reading

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A vivarium is an area, usually enclosed, for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research. Often, a portion of the ecosystem for a particular species is simulated on a smaller scale, with controls for environmental conditions.

Polytunnel

A polytunnel is a tunnel typically made from steel and covered in polyethylene, usually semi-circular, square or elongated in shape. The interior heats up because incoming solar radiation from the sun warms plants, soil, and other things inside the building faster than heat can escape the structure. Air warmed by the heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall. Temperature, humidity and ventilation can be controlled by equipment fixed in the polytunnel or by manual opening and closing of vents. Polytunnels are mainly used in temperate regions in similar ways to glass greenhouses and row covers. Besides the passive solar heating that every polytunnel provides, every variation of auxiliary heating is represented in current practice. The nesting of row covers and low tunnels inside high tunnels is also common.

Cold frame

In agriculture and gardening, a cold frame is a transparent-roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from adverse weather, primarily excessive cold or wet. The transparent top admits sunlight and prevents heat escape via convection that would otherwise occur, particularly at night. Essentially, a cold frame functions as a miniature greenhouse to extend the growing season.

Fossil fuel power station Facility that burns fossil fuels to produce electricity

A fossil fuel power station is a thermal power station which burns a fossil fuel, such as coal or natural gas, to produce electricity. Fossil fuel power stations have machinery to convert the heat energy of combustion into mechanical energy, which then operates an electrical generator. The prime mover may be a steam turbine, a gas turbine or, in small plants, a reciprocating gas engine. All plants use the energy extracted from the expansion of a hot gas, either steam or combustion gases. Although different energy conversion methods exist, all thermal power station conversion methods have their efficiency limited by the Carnot efficiency and therefore produce waste heat.

Vertical farming Practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers

Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Some common choices of structures to house vertical farming systems include buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. As of 2020, there is the equivalent of about 30 ha of operational vertical farmland in the world.

Ground-coupled heat exchanger

A ground-coupled heat exchanger is an underground heat exchanger that can capture heat from and/or dissipate heat to the ground. They use the Earth's near constant subterranean temperature to warm or cool air or other fluids for residential, agricultural or industrial uses. If building air is blown through the heat exchanger for heat recovery ventilation, they are called earth tubes.

Waste heat Heat that is produced by a machine that uses energy, as a byproduct of doing work

Waste heat is heat that is produced by a machine, or other process that uses energy, as a byproduct of doing work. All such processes give off some waste heat as a fundamental result of the laws of thermodynamics. Waste heat has lower utility than the original energy source. Sources of waste heat include all manner of human activities, natural systems, and all organisms, for example, incandescent light bulbs get hot, a refrigerator warms the room air, a building gets hot during peak hours, an internal combustion engine generates high-temperature exhaust gases, and electronic components get warm when in operation.

Vegetable Edible plant or part of a plant, involved in cooking

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. An alternative definition of the term is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, flowers, nuts, and cereal grains, but include savoury fruits such as tomatoes and courgettes, flowers such as broccoli, and seeds such as pulses.

A seawater greenhouse is a greenhouse structure that enables the growth of crops and the production of fresh water in arid regions which constitute about one third of the earth's land area. This in response to the global water scarcity and peak water and the salt-infecting soil. The system uses seawater and solar energy. It uses a similar structure to the pad-and-fan greenhouse, but with additional evaporators and condensers. The seawater is pumped into the greenhouse to create a cool and humid environment, the optimal conditions for the cultivation of temperate crops. The freshwater is produced in a condensed state created by the solar desalination principle, which removes salt and impurities. Finally, the remaining humidified air is expelled from the greenhouse and used to improve growing conditions for outdoor plants.

Ecohouse Home built to have low environmental impact

An Eco-house (or Eco-home) is an environmentally low-impact home designed and built using materials and technology that reduces its carbon footprint and lowers its energy needs. Eco-homes are measured in multiple ways meeting sustainability needs such as water conservation, reducing wastes through reusing and recycling materials, controlling pollution to limit global warming, energy generation and conservation, and decreasing CO2 emissions.

Building-integrated agriculture (BIA) is the practice of locating high-performance hydroponic greenhouse farming systems on and in mixed-use buildings to exploit synergies between the built environment and agriculture.

Climate-friendly gardening

Climate-friendly gardening is gardening in ways which reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from gardens and encourage the absorption of carbon dioxide by soils and plants in order to aid the reduction of global warming. To be a climate-friendly gardener means considering both what happens in a garden and the materials brought into it and the impact they have on land use and climate. It can also include garden features or activities in the garden that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

Agrivoltaics Simutaneous agriculture and solar energy production

Agrivoltaics,agrophotovoltaics,agrisolar, or dual-use solar is the simultaneous use of areas of land for both solar photovoltaic power generation and agriculture. The coexistence of solar panels and crops implies a sharing of light between these two types of production, so the design of agrivoltaic facilities may require trading off such objectives as optimizing crop yield, crop quality, and energy production. However, in some cases crop yield increases due to the shade of the solar panels mitigating some of the stress on plants caused by high temperatures and UV damage.