Climate Change and Greenhouse Farming

Increasing temperatures within our region place both open and  protected agriculture under threat. My greenhouse is located  approximately two thousand feet above sea level in the parish of  Manchester, central Jamaica, where I was born and grew up. I  have noticed a considerable change in at least two (2) aspects  of climate, temperature and rainfall. The ideal range of temperature for our greenhouses is 72 – 76°C and a fall of 10 – 15°C  during the night will not have adverse effects on production.  Temperatures above 85°C are not recommended, but we have  recorded 90°C.  What are some of the impacts of exposing plants to too high  temperatures?  Plant functions are restrained and plant growth is reduced Pollination will not occur efficiently if the relative humidity  is not within the vicinity of 70% and temperatures exceed  the 70 – 82°F range. Plants are unable to efficiently use fertiliser feeds Physiological damage to fruit such as sunburns and sunscald on tomatoes and sweet peppers and tip burn in lettuce are quite common and increases as greenhouses  warm up Workers are less comfortable in hot greenhouses making  them less efficient in carrying out routine tasks. Consequently greenhouse farmers have to find ways to keep  greenhouses at acceptable temperatures as the earth warms.  These will be discussed in the next newsletter.

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