Farming nowadays faces challenges with quantity and quality at a grander scale than ever before. Farmers have to keep up with technology to make better produce. This, of course, requires more significant expenses and the implementation of new methods.
Growing crops in the open field was prevalent before, if not the only option. But the risk of losing your harvest due to adverse weather conditions makes it more difficult to manage the risk of weaker yields. That’s why farmers found another way of growing their plants – in a greenhouse. Let’s see what is the difference between growing in a greenhouse and in an open field, and what are the risks associated with both methods.
Open field cultivation
Open field cultivation is the conventional method of farming dating back to the middle ages. When using the land like this, you have to take care of the soil, sow seeds or plant transplants yourself, and protect them from hazards until harvest. And the real world can be dangerous: fast changes in climate, disease or pest attacks, eroding soil, etc. This is a lot to put on your plate since you want to be competitive in the market. Fluctuations of the weather are becoming even more unpredictable recently so you have to be prepared with an appropriate reaction to the emerging problems.
Like all things that require effort, if you manage to grow healthy plants in the open field, you’ll have crops blessed with sunlight and fresh air that have just the best quality of taste (even though they often lack uniformity).
If you choose to use a greenhouse, you will have more control over the environment where your crops grow. You can efficiently manage temperature, the irrigation process, the air humidity, the light. You may use different methods to control all of these factors, and you’ll be able to protect crops from pest attacks. By having that much power over the development of your crops, you can keep them healthier and can predict how much you will harvest.
The cost for setting up a greenhouse may correlate with the advantages that the greenhouse can give. This means that by having a greenhouse your yield can be 10-12 times higher, making crop results more reliable compared to open field cultivation. Being able to control the environment enables you to grow flowers, vegetable, and fruit crops all year round. Growing in the safety of the greenhouse you can improve the genetics of the plant and grow stronger varieties. You also need less water than in an open field, you won’t rely on bee pollination and can utilize all the chemicals and pesticides that you use to control the disease vulnerability of the plant. In the open field, you have the bees but also all other animals and insects that can threaten the quality of the produce.
How to choose which one is best for your needs?
Many people think that because crops grow in a controlled environment, their quality is inferior when compared to open field varieties. The greenhouse was perceived as an artificial growing process that produces low-quality crops with heavy chemicals use (even though crops are more uniform). And on the contrary, open field is believed to be the only method that stays eco-friendly and natural.
Actually, it depends on what you are using your vegetables for and what is the quantity that you need. Greenhouse cultivation is proved to be better for vegetable and flower crops, depending on the type of the greenhouse and the crop itself. Indoor cultivation is also for smaller amounts. But if you seek quantity, it’s better to go for open field cultivation.
Product quality vs. cost?
Growing in a greenhouse does not mean that you won’t have good food. Plants bred indoors can also be a healthy choice, because they don’t need that many pesticides to survive. With the latest advancements, there isn’t any difference in the taste of the indoor and outdoor ones.
The growing demand for quality vegetables pushes people to constantly develop new technologies and enhance agriculture practices to yield more produce without losing its high quality. Thus, having more control over the growing conditions enables you to get better yields and more profit no matter if it is indoor or in the open field.