What is a polyhouse?
A polyhouse refers to a structure that is specially constructed, similar to a building, for the growth of plants under controlled conditions. It is made with transparent materials, like glass or polythene, to permit the entry of natural sunlight into the built area for the plants.
Similar to greenhouses, they can be of various shapes and sizes based on the requirements of the user. Its frame is made of GI Pipes and can range anywhere between 50 Sq meters to 4000 Sq meters. Similar to a greenhouse, a polyhouse requires various heating, cooling and misting systems to maintain a conducive environment for the plants to grow in.
Crops that can be grown in a polyhouse include- Floriculture crops, Nursery plants and exotic vegetables.
Difference between polyhouse and greenhouse:
The main difference between a polyhouse and a greenhouse can be seen in the quality and build.
• A polyhouse is made out of polythene plastic as compared to a greenhouse which is made of glass or PVC.
• The materials of building make a polyhouse much more durable than a green house.
• Polythene plastic will not crack or break as easily as glass making polyhouses much more long-lasting build than greenhouses.
• Polyhouses have shown better strength in standing against natural calamities like hail, storms and hurricanes.
Benefits of polyhouse farming:
• High quality at low cost of construction
• Protection against insects and rodents
• Cost effective and low cost of maintenance as compared to traditional farming
• Plants stay clean and increase in shelf-life
• Controllable climate
• Increase in harvest quantity as lower outbreak of diseases caused by external factors.
• Off season crops can be comfortably grown
• No dependency on season changes for crop cycles to finish
• Subsidiary costs, quality and quantity advantages
How to select the right location for a polyhouse?
- There should be enough land area to build a structure around the defined open space for the plants
- The land should have a free flow of resources like water, electricity etc.
- The site location should not exceed to pollution limits set by the respective government.
- The site of construction should be higher than the surrounding land areas.
- There should be sufficient transportation space and availability of good roads to and from the polyhouse for construction and transport of harvest.
Conditions that can be maintained in a polyhouse:
• Carbon dioxide and oxygen levels
• Air flow and ventilation
These factors can be maintained by installing high quality misting, heating and cooling systems that will help regulating the environment of the polyhouse creating an artificial conducive place for various plants to grow freely.
Based on the control of these factors a polyhouse can be termed as:
I. Uncontrolled- Only when the top of the polyhouse is covered and all natural factors are freely available
II. Partially controlled- When a polyhouse has windows that can be opened and closed as per the requirement of the plants
III. Completely controlled- when a polyhouse does not have any windows, is completely closed and the conditions within the polyhouse are controlled remotely with advance technology and automation.
A polyhouse is extremely advantageous and a profitable investment in the agricultural sector in India. With a growing demand for exotic plants a polyhouse is the most suitable form of cultivating crops on a commercial scale.