Have you ever wondered why some people, no matter how crazy it sounds, still believe in sirens? Or without being too extravagant, is it not sometimes curious to think that grandmothers believe that aloe Vera stalks are the remedy that can cure absolutely anything?
Yes, myths are impressive. On the basis of a fact that may or may not have been real, a whole belief is constructed that not only becomes stronger with time but is also transmitted from generation to generation until it becomes a tradition. Dogma. Unbreakable and ancestral law.
The truth is that in the world in which we live, where science and technology are responsible for making us a little more cultured, we believe in certain things that are not completely true.
For decades, the hundreds of myths of greenhouse cultivation have stained the reputation of this practice. From loss of taste to misuse of resources, greenhouse crops have been crucified as the holy sin of gardening.
Well, no! It is time to break with those false paradigms. Find out today what those myths are about growing in greenhouses that are not real.
Europe debunks the myths of greenhouse
All the great changes in the world begin somewhere, and in the case of Europe, it was in Spain in 2017. Covering more than 40,000 hectares of land (around 5,000 football fields that could connect Madrid and Moscow in a straight line) the production of fruit and vegetables in greenhouse crops represents more than 60% of the national production and 30% of the European market.
Impressive, isn’t it? Let me impress you even more. As for the labor market, they employ more than 110,000 people and produce the modest amount of 2.5 million euros per year.
Looking at those numbers, anyone could think, “Wow, I want to grow in a greenhouse too. Well… it does not exactly happen that way. Despite its prominence in the market and volume of production, throughout history greenhouse cultivation has always been surrounded by myths that make it the bad guy in the film.
That is why in 2017 the Spanish Interprofessional Organization for Fruits and Vegetables (Hortiespaña) launched a special campaign to improve the image of growing in greenhouses and ” debunking false myths ” about sheltered vegetables and their production methods.
In August 2017, the campaign began with a heartfelt video that called for awareness of this practice, and since then, Hortiespaña has been working together with organizations around the world to educate people in Europe and around the world about the benefits ( both to man and the planet ) of greenhouse cultivation.
By 2019, Hortiespaña hopes not only to debunk the false beliefs surrounding greenhouse cultivation but also to build a positive image of greenhouse agriculture in the European and global markets, which they plan to develop based on ecological concepts of sustainability that will bring us a greener future.
The 5 myths of greenhouse that are not real
One of the institutions that joined the Hortiespaña campaign was the Interprofessional Organization of Fruits and Vegetables of Andalusia (HORTYFRUTA).
They contributed by listing some of the most popular false beliefs about greenhouses to demonstrate with scientific and statistical arguments why they are not true.
Pesticides are used in greenhouse cultivation
For decades, technological advancement and industrialization were synonymous of pollution and damage to the environment. However, our generation, which has already begun to see the effects of mistreating the planet, is changing that.
Currently, there are very strict regulations regarding the products you may or may not use. One of them is precisely pesticides. Why? Well, basically… because their job is to kill. Plagues, of course. But even if they wanted to, they are not as selective as we would like. Many of them not only attack the pests for which they were designed but also affect negatively the ecosystem.
Until a few years ago, it was believed that greenhouse cultivation consumed a high amount of pesticides. Today, however, we can be proud to say that this is not true.
In Europe, for example, there has been an unprecedented evolution in the development of environmentally friendly practices. And NO, the use of environmentally toxic pesticides is not included in any of them.
Greenhouse products are tasteless
Who would like to eat a tomato without its delicious juices? Or an onion without flavor? Ew, I will pass. Well, for many years the myth that greenhouse vegetables have no taste at all has become popular.
That is completely… false! In fact, it is the complete opposite. The technological advances in the field of cultivation methods have been giving incredible results in recent years.
In some of the greenhouse crops in Andalusia, innovative techniques were implemented, such as the application of biological control through the use of specific insects that can kill various types of pests without threatening the health of the crops.
According to various opinions of agricultural technicians, 86% of the crops that apply this method yielded fruits that can be considered of better quality than those treated with chemicals.
So, tasteless food? Nothing to do with it! They provide healthier and tastier vegetables than those grown using traditional methods.
Growing in greenhouses is not natural
By hearing these kinds of statements, anyone could understand why this is still nothing more than a myth about crops. It seems that every time someone mentions “greenhouse” everyone thinks of evil scientists doing strange experiments to make plants grow.
And no, nothing could be further from the truth than that.
Andalusia, one of the pioneering areas in the cultivation of greenhouses, has the largest winter reserve that operates with sunlight throughout Europe. There, the greenhouses are basically nourished by light, temperature and 100% natural wind, basic elements for the optimum development of a good fruit and vegetable.
Because there is a good amount of sunshine, the plants receive all the heat they need from our yellow giant, so there is no need for heating or artificial lighting.
In fact, according to studies carried out by Hortiespaña, 95% of the solar energy consumed by greenhouse plants in the Mediterranean coast of Spain comes from the region.
So, no! Stop believing in false myths of greenhouse. What is produced there, is 100% natural.
The greenhouses what…? While this is one of the most common myths of greenhouse, it is completely and totally false.
It is not necessary to think too much about it, because it is enough to prove it essentially with facts. There is no cultivation system where water is appreciated the way it is when growing in a greenhouse. The reason? It is purely practical. Traditionally, farmers who work with greenhouses are often meticulous managers of this very limited resource.
In all crops grown in greenhouses, the top layer of soil is composed of several centimetres of sand. This layer allows to break the capillarity.
The capilari… what? We’re already talking about science. Well, not so much. Capillarity is a property of liquids that causes them to rise or fall through a capillary tube due to their intermolecular strength. An easy to understand example is that of plants, which suck water from the soil by capillary action.
This property prevents water from evaporating or leaking unintentionally.
And if that is not enough, we also have some technological support! Today, almost all greenhouse crops are equipped with modern, fully automatic computer-controlled fertigation systems. This makes it possible to take advantage of every drop of the vital liquid.
Thanks to all this, a greenhouse crop consumes half ( and even a little less ) of water than a traditional crop. In Spain, at least, its per capita water footprint is 20 times lower than the national average.
Cultivation in greenhouses is less modernized
After all that we have already mentioned, this myth about greenhouse cultivation seems even a bit absurd, doesn’t it seem like it? While the technology may appear to be reserved for other areas, many innovation experts are now developing new and more effective solutions to optimize agriculture.
The vast majority of these developments take place, of course, in greenhouses around the world: solar, wind and even water-based electricity systems are just one example.
But which is the reason for this increasing need? Again, the reason has to do with practical issues. The urgent need to be able to make greater use of the most productive areas and make the most of energy use has led to countless advances in this area with incredible high-tech greenhouses.
As a result, it is now possible to go further than ever in this sector! The use of plant protection products (substances intended to control pests of animal or plant origin during the production, storage, transport, distribution and processing of agricultural products and their derivatives ) can be reduced, as can the improvement of crops and the better use of rainwater.
Do you know any other myths of greenhouse?
Share it with us and our other readers, let’s grow this post! Remember that your opinion is valuable and enriches this work as you cannot imagine, see you in the next post!