TUNNEL FARMING

TUNNEL FARMING

Tunnel farming is the environment-controlled process within a polythene sheet to grow the horticulture crops (flowers, fruits, and vegetables) in an out-season time. Also known as hoop houses. The original idea came in 1970 in South Africa.

In winter seasons, this technique is used to grow summer crops by providing an adequate condition. The crux of this lye in that trap the sunlight and shield the elements of crops.

It is similar to the greenhouse however it is easily movable and to install. The area is covered by a polythene sheet with the support of D-shaped bamboo and steel pipes. The soil is covered with a black polythene sheet with holes in which seeds are sown. Sunlight passes through the transparent sheet and is absorbed by the black sheet that raises the temperature at the desired level.

There are three types of tunnel. Lets have a quick glance at the certain feature of different types of tunnel:

1-Low tunnels

  • It is high as 3 ft in height.
  • Less expansive as compared to others.
  • Bamboo sticks are used in it.
  • It gives less productivity.
  • Soil preparation and spraying and picking of crops are difficult in this.
  • Suitable for watermelons, cucumber, melons, bitter gourds, squash, and snake gourds.

2-Walk-in tunnels

  • It is high as 6 ft in height, 12 ft in width, and 190 ft in length.
  • Mulberry sticks are used in it.
  • It gives more productivity than low tunnels.
  • Soil preparation and spraying and picking of crops are relatively easy than low tunnels.
  • Suitable for cucumber, tomato, sweet pepper, and hot pepper.

3-High tunnels

  • It is high as 10 ft in centers and 6.5 ft at sides, 30 ft in width, and 190 ft in length.
  • Iron rods and plastic pipes are used in it.
  • It gives more productivity than both.
  • Suitable for tomatoes, sweet pepper, and cucumber.

BENEFITS:

It increases the life span of plants.

It maximizes the required product within a specified area.

It helps in achieving the market demand for productivity.

It gives products earlier than conventional means.

It enhances crop quality as well.

It provides shelter from environmental hazard’s i.e. hailstorms, cold waves, winds, and sunlight.

It lessens the use of water and fertilizers.

It requires less land and time.

It is easily managed in controlled conditions.

It impairs in weed growing using a black polythene sheet on the soil.

It also hinders the other insects.

It also reduces soil-borne diseases.

tunnel farming

INPUTS AND OUTPUTS:

Inputs:

Farmers will be needed Rs 1.5 to 2 million Pakistani rupees for developing a medium-sized tunnel. It requires collars, heaters virus net, and a buffer zone automatic irrigation system.

1-Buffer zones

It is a room between an open environment and a tunnel area. We spray different chemicals in it to reduces the weed spore spread and disease controlled.

2-Trellising system

It refers to ropes, sticks, or wire for providing vertical farming. It helps in providing good quality crops by proper spacing and increases yield.

3-Insect net

It is highly transparent protects from insects and pests and provides proper airflow. It offers a 12% shade factor.

4-Fans

It allows air exchange inside and outside the tunnel. Maintenance of proper temperature and humidity is necessary for optimal growth.

5-Electrically conductive meter

It measures the electrical conductivity of the soil. It is used to determine the nutrients of the soil and the impurities of the water.

6-Soil pH meter

It measures the hydrogen ion activity in a water-based solution. It is used for determining the acidity and alkalinity of the soil.

7-Hygrometer

It is used for determining the water vapors and humidity levels of soil and surrounding spaces.

8-Farm yard manure

It is made up of animal dung, urine, and farm wastes.

It provides nutrients to crops.

9-Substrates

It is growing supports materials

It helps in the retention of water and provides a medium for growth.

OUTPUTS:

In the farm tunnel, farmers can get greater plantations on a per acre basis, via the use of hybrid seeds, pesticides, balanced fertilizers, and irrigation as result flowers get a regular drift of nutrients, and accordingly producing fine and volume production. Most vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, are skilled to climb up on a string or spindle, which is connected to the overhead wires. This approach can no longer solely prolong the developing season, however, additionally enhance the health, boom price, and nutritious values of the crops. Agricultural economists are of the view that via adopting this method, the farmers can get 3 to 5 times extra production.

About 3 times more yield is gain per acre through this farming in the case of tomatoes, capsicum, and cucumber crops. However, 60 to 70 % higher than normal yield is obtained.

Important points that must be kept in mind,

  • Self-pollinated plants should be used.
  • Soil and water testing are done before starting this.
  • Always keep the direction of the tunnel from east to west for better temperature gain.
  • Proper distance between plant to plant and row to row.

  • Research done by Aqsa Munawar for MaxGrow agrochemicals.

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