Planning for Success in Greenhouse Vegetable Operations

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Planning-for-success-in-greenhouse-vegetable-operationsBy David Kuack

An increasing number of field vegetable growers and ornamental plant growers are considering adding greenhouse facilities or using current structures to produce vegetables. Richard Billekens has 28 years of experience in the production of greenhouse vegetables. He has worked as a grower in the United States, Canada and Mexico. He has also worked as consultant in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia and Sweden. He is currently head grower, production manager and head of research and development at Hortinvest Mexico SA de CV in Querétaro y alrededores, Mexico. He manages 18½ acres of greenhousegrown sweet bell peppers. Billekens said there are some major factors that growers need to consider before building any structures for vegetable production.

Choosing a Location, Market

Having experience in numerous production facilities worldwide, Billekens said he has found a location about 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level to be the best. “This provides a tropical climate, but it is not too hot and not too cold,” Billekens said. “In locations like Holland and Sweden, growers don’t have a lot of options in regards to location. They build there because of the closeness to the market. We built in Mexico because we also wanted to be close to our market, which is the United States and Canada. From here to Detroit it’s a shorter driving distance than from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Toronto. It’s only a two to three day drive for us.”

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