Netherlands and China:

Growing tomatoes in a Chinese Solar Greenhouse

Last spring, the experimental facilities of Wageningen University & Research, BU Greenhouse Horticulture in Bleiswijk were expanded with a genuine Chinese Solar Greenhouse. This passive greenhouse relies on solar radiation for its heating and it provides a minimally controlled growing environment. With one million hectares, this typical greenhouse is widely applied in China, which gives all reason for serious research on improvements for this low-tech greenhouse system.

After a successful cucumber growing cycle last spring, now it is the turn to use the new greenhouse for a winter production of tomatoes. Traditionally, a Chinese winter production cycle runs from the end of August through the end of January (Chinese New Year). For a comparative trial, a tomato crop was planted at the same time in Bleiswijk and in Shouguang. Shouguang is a major city in Shandong, the dominant province for greenhouse vegetable production in China. The crops at both locations are monitored by employees of Delphy, a Dutch horticultural extension and consultancy company. Delphy has its main office in Bleiswijk and other offices around the world, including China.

The weekly provided readings of greenhouse climate, crop development and production are analysed by Wageningen University & Research in order to draw conclusions from the differences observed.

There is still one month to go, but it is already clear that for China more attention to crop planning will increase production, just as the choice for white sheets to cover the soil instead of the black sheets that are normally used.

Finding such easy to apply possibilities for improvements was the exact reason for WUR, Delphy, Ludvig Svensson, Hoogendoorn and Ridder-Hortimax to work together as Partners in International Business on the Chinese market. In this way we find ways to improve the low-tech horticulture, just as for the high tech greenhouses. The project is financially supported by the Ministry of Economic affairs and the Metropole region Rotterdam-Den Haag.

Source: Wageningen University & Research

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