What is a shade house?
A shade house refers to a structure that is enclosed by agricultural nets and other materials that will allow sunlight, air and moisture to pass through the gaps in the surface of the material. It helps in developing a natural micro environment which is conducive for the plants to grow in. they look similar to a greenhouse but the materials of construction are what differentiates the two. A shade house is generally constructed with shade cloth that protects plants from excessive heat and light. However, a greenhouse and polyhouse is constructed using glass or UV films that promote the intensity of the heat and humidity for the plants which require extremely hot climates to grown in.
Benefits of a shade house:
• Moderation of temperature, humidity, light and dryness
• Increase in yield and quality
• Reduction in crop cycle
• Lesser irrigation as moisture is preserved
• Possible cultivation of off-season crops
• Facilitates drying of yield
• Facilitates production of graft saplings
• Provides protection against pest invasions
• Facilitates the hardening of tissue culture plantlets
• Cost effective and saves resources
There are various types of shade and net houses that provide different advantages. The right type of shade house depends on factors such as the crops that are to be grown, local climatic conditions etc.
- Site location: the shade house must be located in a place that is well connected with the local market for procuring the inputs as well as quick sale of the yield. The shade house will show maximum output if it is constructed away from industrial areas with high levels of pollution. There should be a free flow of electricity and a good water and drainage system must be in place.
- Orientation: the orientation of the shade house is largely dependent on two factors- uniformity of light intensity in the shade house as well as the wind direction. Its best to install wind breakers about 30 meters away from the shade house. A single span structure can be constructed in a east-west or north-south direction however, a multi span structure should be constructed in a north-south direction only to ensure uniform light intensity.
- Materials: A shade house has 2 main components- a frame and cladding material the frame of the shade house provides support for the cladding material to rest on and be protected against wind, rain and other natural calamities. The frame of the shade house is dependent on the size of the shade house and its structure is based on the appropriate design.
The frame is generally constructed using materials like bamboo, wood, angle iron or GI pipes. The cladding materials can be made of plastic nets with different PP threads providing different shade concentrations to the plants.
Each plant has a different requirement for sunlight and shade which can create the most conducive environment for their growth. To ensure that the plants get these optimum climatic conditions it is important to select the right concentration of shade factor.