One of the major advantages of producing vegetable crops and ornamental crops under protected cultivation around the world is the ability to produce high yields throughout the year regardless of ambient weather conditions. To accomplish this objective, climatic variables inside greenhouses (such as air and soil temperatures as well as carbon dioxide concentration) should be controlled. The greenhouse sector in Egypt has achieved many success stories related to improvement of food security for Egyptian people via providing the local market during winter season with an adequate quantities of vegetable crops and ornamental plants. However, exports of greenhouses products to the foreign markets are not sufficient until now; there are some constraints such as the adoption of modern technology for greenhouse climate control and the need to further develop these, as well as implementation of food safety legislation during the different production steps.
As production costs increase by using such practices, growing areas in protected cultivation are trending in mild climatic regions of the world, where plants can grow without using artificial control of the greenhouse environment. There are several constraints related to greenhouse irrigation management such as misuse of water resources causing serious yield reductions; low irrigation efficiency can be primarily attributed to poor management of irrigation water in addition to technical problems of on-farm irrigation applications, as well as inadequate maintenance of irrigation systems often resulting from inadequate management in operation and maintenance. The use of greenhouse and plastic house techniques has contributed to better water-use efficiency.
The plastic or glass cover creates a modified microclimate in which radiation and wind movement are lower but relative air relative humidity is higher under greenhouses than in the open field, favoring a reduction in evapotranspiration. Furthermore, the higher temperature results in increased crop growth rate and higher obtained yield per unit area of protected cultivated land. Protected cultivation is a proper technology for improving vegetable crops productivity.
This chapter illustrates several beneficial agricultural practices in terms of the greenhouse sector. Work in the greenhouse sector considers greenhouse management and the proper tools that can be used depending on many factors such as the crop type, targeted market, technician availability, head and operation costs, etc.
The scientific background about greenhouse management will be explained in this chapter with the details necessary to provide the background needed about the scientific base of the modern technology. This chapter also took into consideration information needed for the local small farmers who use simple greenhouse technology to give information to inform critical management points such as proper cover materials and greenhouse ventilation systems. Furthermore management of food safety for greenhouses products and how to reduce the use of chemical pesticides through fertilization management are vital.
Recently, Egypt has established a national mega project for the establishment of 100,000 acres of greenhouses during the next few years. This project needs a lot of infrastructure, materials, manufacturing, and labor and technicians. Management of 100,000 acres of greenhouses will need proper qualified advisors and properly trained staff. There are a limited number of advisors and proper technician in Egypt because many good advisors and technicians left to work for in Gulf countries due to better salaries provided. There is an urgent need to prepare a new generation of advisors and technician in a short amount of time. The current chapter is a technical guideline for the greenhouse sector and can be used as a reference for those who work in the protected agricultural field.