GROWING SALAD IN A GREENHOUSE IN WINTER FOR SALE - THE BASIS OF STARTING A BUSINESS
Given the current unstable economic situation, many probably thought about starting a family business. And if you choose a business that does not require large financial investments, but brings quick profits, the most profitable may be growing lettuce in a greenhouse in the winter for sale in bulk or retail.
ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES OF THE GREEN BUSINESS
If you already have some experience, then you probably noticed that growing greens is the least troublesome and time-consuming process. Due to its early maturity, it does not need numerous top dressings, is practically not susceptible to diseases and almost never damaged by pests, but consumer demand for it has not fallen for a whole year. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to sell lettuce, dill or green onions, then you should do their cultivation.
Now let's talk about the estimated volumes of production. Sowing salad for your own needs and selling surpluses on the local market is just an option when you can’t count on high profits. The proceeds obtained can only recoup the costs of acquiring seeds, watering and purchasing fertilizers. Another thing is if you are going to grow greens during the season on an industrial scale. Such technology can provide you with a good income, but you will have plenty of competitors, so you can start a business only with a guarantee of sales, otherwise your crop will simply die waiting for a sale.
Completely different prospects open up when growing fresh young lettuce year-round and the provision of "vitamin" products in the winter - there will be fewer competitors, and the prices of products are much higher. And in this case, your earnings will be quite decent, especially in the second year, when investments on the installation and arrangement of the greenhouse begin to pay off. The greatest benefit to such a business is if greenery is grown in the winter in the southern regions to sell products to the north. But here it is important to consider transportation costs.
To roughly calculate the income and expenses of a business, you should know the approximate cost of wholesale sales in your region and the average monthly costs of maintaining a greenhouse, taking these figures for the whole year or for one season. Of course, a number of other reasons can affect profitability. For example, an unusually cold winter will increase your expenses, which will “eat up” a significant part of the profit, or vice versa, early spring will increase your productivity, and therefore your income. In most cases, the profitability of a business with "greens" is several times higher than when growing vegetables or berries and ranges from 20% to 30%, so it’s worth starting a business.
If you do not yet have a stationary greenhouse, and you are thinking about building it, then it is worth considering several options:
- with a plastic coating - the cheapest and most affordable, but be prepared that next year it may need a little repair, and after a year or two - a complete replacement of the film.
- with glass - its device will cost more, but glass better maintains temperature. The service life of such a coating is much longer than the film, and in case of damage, partial replacement can be carried out.
- polycarbonate-coated greenhouses are an effective material, but economically unjustified for growing greenery, as its payback is long, even with the most favorable business development.
Considering the most profitable options, we will focus on a film or glass coating on a wooden frame. It is possible to increase the thermal insulation of polyethylene by covering the frame with a second layer of high-strength film so that it can withstand the temperature difference inside the greenhouse and on the street, as well as successfully withstand precipitation, snow load and wind gusts. Based on the fact that most of the heat goes through the roof, it will be more rational to make additional insulation of the ceiling from the inside. For this, it is easiest to pull white agrofiber over the ceiling, and the resulting air gap will enhance the heat-insulating effect.
If you plan to carry out the first crops in the spring of next year, then from autumn it is recommended to arrange "warm" beds. Rotting organics will naturally heat the soil, thereby speeding up seedlings, and saving on heating. If you want to start growing lettuce in the autumn, then remembering the short daylight hours, you should consider artificial illumination, and therefore the supply of electricity or the installation of rechargeable lamps.
As for heating in winter, its type depends on the availability of communications and the cost of the type of energy. Solid fuel systems are the cheapest to install and operate, but they require your constant presence on the site, since even a small break in the furnace at low temperatures entails unavoidable losses - freezing of the system itself and the death of the plantings. Another way to quickly organize the heating of a greenhouse is by electric heating. But when choosing systems ready for installation or installing an ordinary household fan heater, you should remember that this is perhaps the most expensive form of energy. Such heating can be economically justified only in cases of periodic switching on, for example, with the threat of night frosts, and not using it all year round.
And another important point is the organization of irrigation. Salad crops need a lot of moisture, so the presence of water in the greenhouse is necessary. Water supply can be provided in several ways: by supplying a water supply system, pumping water from a well or regular filling of containers installed in the greenhouse. The latter option is the most acceptable, since the water for irrigation will be settled and the optimum temperature. In addition, large volumes of water will become a kind of radiator working autonomously all year round, which will be heated in the sun during the day and give off heat at night, thereby regulating the temperature in the greenhouse.
SELECTION OF SEEDS AND SEEDING RATES
The most promising salad for growing for sale is leafy, with a short ripening period: Odessa Kucheryavets, Emerald Lace, Grand, Gourmand, Lolla Rossa, red-leafed Kitezh, Eurydice, Heat bird ", headed -" Iceberg "and others. The number of seeds purchased depends on the available sown area and the frequency of sowing in the current year.
As for the rules, there are few of them and the technology is quite simple:
- sow seeds in loose, moist soil;
- the planting pattern is - 20 cm between rows for leaf varieties and 35-45 cm - for cabbage, and the depth of the seeds should not be more than 5-7 cm;
After the emergence of seedlings, care for planting mainly consists of regular watering and, if necessary, top dressing.
The quantity and quality of watering depends on the age of salad outlets. So, for the first time it will be enough to moisten the soil once or twice a week, and as the crop grows, its demand in water also increases. The most convenient way to ensure moisture planting is a drip irrigation device. Its advantages are obvious: water consumption is less, the optimal amount of moisture goes directly to the roots, there are no drops on the green parts of the salad, which spoil the presentation of the product.
In about a month, it will be possible to collect the first crop, and send it for sale.