Demand for red fruits, strawberries in particular, is growing on the north-European market. The harsh climate, short summers and little sunlight mean volumes, even those grown in greenhouses, are more limited than those obtained at more favorable latitudes.
The Finnish case
In Finland, Idromeccanica Lucchini conducted research to obtain more abundant and repeated harvests throughout the year. The main issue was to try and maximize strawberry production prolonging the summer cycle. The warm season in Finland only lasts four months, so a greenhouse equipped to prolong the season from June to November was necessary.
The project started with preliminary analyses to choose the type of cultivation method and the need to solve problems linked to sunlight management.
The cultivation method chosen was the "soilless" technique, which sees pots filled with peat and perlite placed in ducts for microirrigation while collecting the drain. The crop has to be protected from the weather and the cold temperatures and be tall enough to grant the space needed. What is more, greenhouses need to be affordable, manageable and easy to assemble.
Idromeccanica Lucchini technicians had to deal with a whole series of problems that needed effective solutions. First of all, the UV rays present for many hours a day in Finland during the warm season can be very aggressive. Diffused light cover films with open spectrum enable to obtain the correct climate and light conditions inside greenhouses even at the highest temperatures. What is more, the "cover/uncover" system makes it possible to choose the quantity and quality of light to let through.
In winter, the film can be removed and stored to be used the following year. This was all made possible thanks to the research and wide range of plastic materials available at Lucchini, a leader in the long-lasting film sector with high-quality light spectrum. Light management is in fact essential to pollinate strawberry plants and guarantee early flowers and fruits.