Greenhouses assist in the cultivation of crops.They come in handy in the extension of the growing seasons of certain crops. They are also handy in protecting the crops from adverse conditions that are brought about by predators and weather conditions. As such, greenhouses enhance the abilities of man and nature in the cultivation of crops.
Greenhouse has become very efficient tools for farmers for proper cultivation to take place. Nevertheless, proper development and growth of the crops lie in the hands of the cultivator. Many factors are considered when it comes to maintaining greenhouses. Some of them include humidity, temperature, shading, and ventilation. You need to pay close attention to the mentioned aspects as you handle a greenhouse.
Fertilization is a key aspect when it comes to maintaining crops in a greenhouse. The process helps in ensuring that the nutrients needed to sustain growth are provided in the greenhouse setup. Without nutrients, growth and development are hindered.
You may have heard that greenhouse crops are heavy feeders. Heavy feeding means that the crops require a lot of fertilizer. It is, however, not enough to identify crops as heavy feeders. The most important bit is to know the ratios of the elements that get into the fertilizer. This is equally important as knowing how much fertilizer gets to the crops. Note that too much of the fertilizer has its pros and cons, hence the need for knowing the quantities that are ideal for varying crops.
According to recent research, it has been proved that nitrogen, nitrate and ammonium balances affect the growth of plants. For instance, in a state like Texas, farmers are advised to use less than 50% nitrogen in ammonium form. If used in high amounts, ammonium can cause foliage burn because of toxicity.
Most people who own greenhouses supply nutrients to their crops via the liquid feeding program. This nutrient supply method can be supplemented by realizing granular fertilizer to the vegetation.
The frequency in which you apply fertilizer on the crops influences their growth. It is best to supply the nutrients during the peaking times of the reproductive or vegetative growth of the plants. The best way of applying fertilizer is through constant application. However, constant feeding can be adjusted to meet the needs of the crops. For instance, highly soluble salts can be fed to the crops during every application. The farmer should maintain a balance between the nutrients to avoid occurrences of toxicities and deficiencies in the crops.
You can acquire fertilizers that offer all the nutrients that are needed by plants. The fertilizers comprise of phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen, essential elements for the growth and development of crops. You can also go for custom made fertilizers, which are made for different crops. All these can be acquired from local stores that deal with farming products. They also come at friendly costs.
Below are some pointers on the various basic elements that are essential for greenhouse crops:
Nitrogen – Plants acquire nitrogen from varying sources. Potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, and calcium nitrate are all sources of nitrogen. When supplying nitrogen, do not supply more than 50% in ammonium form.
Potassium – This nutrient is vital for the utilization of water by the plants. Potassium nitrate is the commonly used source of potassium.
Phosphorus – Phosphorus is necessary for the growth of the plants. You are required to supply it in large amounts. However, you should be cautious when supplying it in large amounts as it makes the other nutrients insoluble. As a result, plants are unable to absorb the nutrients. The main ways of supplying phosphorus are via super phosphate or phosphoric acid.
Other vital nutrients
For farmers to complete the nutrition of crops, there are some nutrients that can be of help. Some of them include magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, sulfur, boron, manganese, chloride and molybdenum. While some are supplied via supplemental application, others are supplied via the growing medium.
In your feeding program, do well to incorporate the primary and secondary nutrients. Do well to note that you can get commercial blends that can be used for the crops in greenhouses.
When dealing with greenhouses, you have to monitor the balance of varying nutrients supplied to the vegetation. It is through proper nutrition that the plants will attain optimal growth and development. Once you know how to go about the nutritional requirements, you shall harvest quality crops. At the same time, the produce will be much.
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