A Tunnel Greenhouse: Everything You Need to Know

A Tunnel Greenhouse: Everything You Need to Know

As a horticultural farmer, your crop is your life and you will do anything to protect it and ensure that it flourishes to its fullest potential. One way to ensure you have a healthy crop is to install a tunnel greenhouse. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about greenhouse tunnels.

 

What is Tunnel Farming?

Tunnel farming aims to protect one's crops from environmental hazards. This is done by creating an elongated tunnel-like structure that is either semi-circular or square-shaped. The structure is typically built out of steel pipes over which a polyethene plastic is secured. This will generally protect the plants from elements such as hail, strong winds, extreme sunny conditions, snow, frosts and pests. Both subsistence and commercial farmers make use of tunnels; however, commercial farmers will typically also employ greenhouse methods such as electric lighting and ventilation. Tunnel farming is well known for its ability to grow crops that require warm weather in areas or times of the year where temperatures are below ideal.

 

The Benefits of Greenhouse Tunnels

There are multiple benefits to making use of greenhouse tunnels that make them an appealing option to farmers. The most noticeable advantages consist of:

 

  • Water Wise: Irrigation can be controlled more effectively in a tunnel than in traditional open-air farming.
  • Climate Control: Due to the polyethene plastic covering, it is much easier to have a controlled climate in which to grow your crop. Thus, there won't be extreme temperature fluctuations or changes in humidity. 
  • Pest Protection: It is very difficult for pests such as birds and insects to enter one of these tunnels which is why it provides a decent amount of pest protection.
  • Greater Crop Yield: As the conditions within a tunnel are made to be ideal and due to the fact that more plants can be planted in closer proximity to one another, a farmer's crop yield increases.
  • Long Growing Season: As one is able to control the climate one can grow crops at times of the year that are not usually possible in open-air farming. For example, tomatoes can now be grown in the winter and summer months.
  • Cost-Effective: As less water is used, a greater crop yield is inevitable and one can grow all year round, it is almost certain that one will make a financially beneficial decision by implementing tunnel farming.

 

Types of Greenhouse Tunnels in South Africa

There are many types of greenhouse tunnels to choose from depending on your crop's requirements and the size of your operation. The following types of greenhouse tunnels are available at Dicla:

 

Standard

The Dicla standard greenhouse tunnel is 10.5 metres wide and 4.1 metres high. The length can be adjusted according to your needs; however, it does typically come in a 30.8 metre length. The structure consists of steel pipes that are covered with a 200-micron MultiSolar plastic. This plastic is imported from Turkey and is sure to provide your crop with the highest quality protection. This tunnel is also fitted with 2 ventilation flaps to ensure your crop receives enough air.

Hobby

The hobby greenhouse is similar to but smaller than the standard greenhouse tunnel. Thus, it is easy to transport and set up alone, all you need is a trailer! One can order the hobby tunnel in a variety of lengths, with the width being a standard 6 metres.

Roll-Up

The roll-up Dicla greenhouse option is similar to the standard version; however, the sides are able to roll up. This feature provides a higher grade of ventilation to your crop, which is perfect for creating a cooler environment, should your crop need this.

Multispan

The multispan option is one large tunnel that is created by joining multiple single tunnels together. This is the perfect solution for commercial farmers that have large crops.

Wind Support

Wind support runners are tunnels that have been strengthened with added triangular supports to withstand high wind speeds. These tunnels will typically also provide more support against other environmental conditions such as storms.

 

Where to Find Quality Greenhouse Tunnels in South Africa

Dicla is a greenhouse manufacturing and installation company that specialises in providing high-quality horticulture solutions. They boast a long history of experience, knowledge and customer service that is sure to provide anyone interested in farming with the service they deserve. To find out more about Dicla and the greenhouses they manufacture, visit the AgrifoodSA directory.

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