How crop hygiene helps optimize greenhouse yield

By |2023-11-22T13:02:32+00:00November 20th, 2023|Blog|

Written by: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history.


Crop hygiene and phytosanitary control are essential for healthy crops. Read on for tips to create a sound hygiene strategy that will lead to resilient crops and optimal growth.

What is crop hygiene?

A hygienic greenhouse is one without pests, weeds, diseases, pollution, or fungi. All these issues come from the outside and get into your greenhouse from insects, contamination from your workers, or excess still water.
It is important to create a strategy to avoid issues that can hinder growth. Your strategy can include preventative methods, monitoring protocols, chemical usage, acceptable pest levels, and biological controls.

Disciplines and protocols for ensuring crop hygiene

There are several different types of methods for ensuring crop hygiene. First, there are preventative methods, second are monitoring strategies, and third are responsive protocols.

Preventative methods

There are many things you can do to prevent contamination in your greenhouse. First, you should use high-quality netting and place hygiene locks at all greenhouse entrances to prevent insects, fungi, viruses, and bacteria from entering.
Before planting any new crops, you should scan the greenhouse for weeds or any small plants on the ground. Aphids and other pests tend to gravitate toward these floor plants that may not get sprayed by your greenhouse sprayers.

Your greenhouse sprayers should be set up to reach every inch and corner of your greenhouse so you don’t miss any parts of your plants. Any parts of your plants that don’t get sprayed are susceptible to pests.

It’s also important to check around the outside of your greenhouse for any aphid nests, weeds, or anything else that could possibly migrate into your greenhouse and cause problems.

Your other most important preventative methods include protocols for your workers. Your workers should wear protective clothing in your greenhouse and switch clothing between greenhouses to avoid spreading any possible issues. Have your workers use different tools for each row and disinfect your tools regularly. It’s also important to work in the same direction every time so that there is an equal time between when your workers examine every plant.

Monitoring strategies
Bacteria and disease spread quickly. If you find them early, you might be able to manage the spreading and keep more of your plants healthy. To catch problems as early as possible, you should set up scouting and monitoring protocols to ensure every inch of your greenhouse is scanned in timely intervals.
It’s important that several members of the growing team who can recognize diseases monitor your greenhouse. Your team may choose to monitor each row on a different day and then start over once the entire greenhouse has been thoroughly scouted.
While your greenhouse manager and his growing team colleagues should be monitoring, it is also important to instruct all employees to know what to look for in your greenhouse. Your workers are close to your plants, if they know what insects are harmful, the signs of disease, or the sprouting of fungi, this can help you catch them early.

Sticky cards that attract insects are also very useful to see what type of insects and the concentration of insects in your greenhouse. If you see any aphids or disease-carrying insects on your sticky cards, you know you need to do something to take care of them.
Need sticky cards? Paskal has a product like this. Talk to our sales team

Responsive protocols
Spraying chemicals is a common way to avoid and respond to pests in your greenhouse. Chemicals are poisonous, making them effective for killing pests, however, they are also harmful to your plants. Every time you spray in your greenhouse, you disturb plant growth for about two days. Plants do not grow for at least six hours after spraying and then it takes them time to get back to their normal growth rate. That means if you spray once a week, you might lose between 5%-10% of production.

If you spray, you must consider whether spraying is helping your plants by killing pests or inhibiting growth for too long. You might decide to allow a certain level of pests in your greenhouse so as not to disturb growth. Additionally, it is important to note that insects evolve and may be able to resist chemicals. Spraying might lead to stronger pests that will require stronger chemicals to remove them.

Another method is to use biological controls and create an ecosystem that is not friendly to pests. For example, if you have white flies or aphids, you might bring in another insect that won’t damage your plants but will eat the aphids and white flies. This method has shown long-term success. It is also more sustainable, and better for consumers and supermarkets that often prefer produce with fewer chemicals. You will avoid pests without disturbing plant growth. However, you must monitor biological controls very carefully to ensure nothing is out of hand and everything is working. There is little room for error.
A third method includes fogging or misting. Using very small drips, you can create fog in your greenhouse with sprays or biological treatments. With this method, you should cover your crops so the fog does not touch them. You must make sure the chemicals are in the air long enough to be effective, but also ensure that the chemicals do not disrupt the plants.

Battling viruses with vaccines
Vaccines are a great option for creating resilient and resistant plants, however, vaccines are not available for all diseases. If you have vaccines available to you, it is smart to vaccinate plants when they are young. Plants may get sick from the vaccines, so early vaccinations allow plants to recover before they flower or create crops.

You may also find disease-resistant varieties of plants, but you should be aware that the crops of these breeds may look or taste different than what you expect.

Creating resilient plants
The best way to create resilient plants is to keep them healthy and ensure an optimal environment for growth. This includes providing them with the right nutrients and amount of water.

For example, you might provide crops with a lower nitrogen level to reduce crop sensitivity to aphids. You might also avoid allowing free water in your greenhouse, as free water allows fungi to germinate. Once fungi germinate, the spores can attack weak cells in your plants. You might also use sulfur, which is very effective against fungi and other spores.
Keeping your plants strong is the most effective way to battle viruses, fungi, and other pests. However, your plants may still get sick. When this happens, they may not photosynthesize well so it is important to create a good environment for them to recover. Keep temperatures cool and don’t allow plants to be burdened by lots of crops.

Take good care of your plants and you will be rewarded by your crops.

What Global Conflict Means for Farmers and Food Safety

By |2023-11-22T13:01:01+00:00November 19th, 2023|Blog|

Written By: Aviva Gat, Content Writer

Healthy produce is one of the most important things for sustaining life on our planet.

When people don’t have access to sufficient or safe foods, they are susceptible to malnutrition, starvation, and multiple diseases ranging from dysentery to food poisoning and cancer.

While food safety is a priority along the entire supply chain, its root is at the farm. Farmers are the first important stakeholder in ensuring food safety and protecting public health.

While farmers are always responsible for growing and supplying safe and healthy foods, their responsibility is amplified in times of conflict. Read on to learn what farmers need to know about food safety amid global conflicts and how to implement food safety strategies.

Yonatan Gery, Operation Manager

How global conflicts affect food safety

Thanks to globalization, countries export and import produce from all over the world. The international trade of agricultural products is a big part of the global economy and ensures that people everywhere have access to food.

Global conflicts can impact trade and lead to food challenges and crises all over the world. In times of conflict, farmers may not be able to work their fields, leading to reduced production. Fields and crops can also be destroyed or contaminated. And even if food is produced, trade routes can be interrupted, and produce may expire or be unable to reach its intended destination.

For example, due to the Israeli Iron Swords War, acres of farmland have been desolated and populations have been evacuated to safer locations. There aren’t any available workers to work the fields and harvest ripe crops.

This can lead to food scarcity, where people may be unable to access enough food. This can be seen across Europe, Africa, and Asia due to the 2020 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” Ukraine is one of the top grain producers and exporters in the region, but production dropped 29% due to the war[i]. The reduced production means that less produce is available in countries that previously relied on Ukrainian exports.

Food prices are also affected due to conflicts. Commodity prices are driven by supply and demand. Once supply drops, but demand remains the same, prices increase, meaning that people in lower financial brackets may not be able to access food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the

Maor Rakedzon- Israel & Projects Sales Manager, Yair Ben Eliezer- Finance Manager, Yonatan Gery- Operation Manager

The farmer’s role in food safety

When farmers caught up in conflict may be unable to produce, the rest of the world’s farmers may need to step in to ensure that the world’s citizens have enough to eat. For example, the European Commission estimates that the world must produce an additional 25 million tons of wheat due to the Russian/Ukrainian war.
Every farmer can do their part to maximize their crops to reduce deficiencies caused by global conflicts. This does not mean farmers are obligated to grow more, but it does mean that improving efficiency can significantly contribute to reducing world hunger.
Farmers can contribute to global food security by ensuring they are maximizing yield and protecting crops from contamination by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals.

Strategies to ensure food safety

While there are many protocols and regulations created by government bodies to ensure food safety, there are specific strategies for farmers to optimize yield and ensure healthy crops. Here are a few strategies Paskal has learned from the field.

Neta Scheinman, Global Quantity Manager

Strategies to improve yield

  • Irrigating for nutritional balance: Plants need different nutrients to grow and thrive. For optimal yield, plants need the right mix of nitrogen, calcium, and potassium. Plants get their nutrients from the additives provided through an irrigation system. Strategic irrigation can ensure that plants get an optimal nutrient balance that will lead to improved yield. Learn more about irrigation strategies here
  • Substrates: Substrates provide an optimal root environment and can therefore lead to up to 25% more crops. Crop losses due to damage are also reduced by about 30% because of the improved quality. Another benefit of substrates is that they ensure there are no diseases, fungi, or bacteria in the soil that could affect plants. Learn more about substrates here
  • Truss support: Heavy fruits put added weight on stems, which can lead to kinks, snaps, or other damage that prevents the free flow of water and nutrients to the leaves and fruit. When stems are damaged, growth is slowed, and crops suffer lower quality. Using truss arches to support stems prevents damage and can reduce the ripening period, meaning more crops are ready for harvest faster. Learn more about truss arches here

Strategies to ensure healthy crops

  • Grafting: Grafting is a great strategy to combat plant diseases, improve crop lifecycles, and create more resilient crops. Grafted plants have better immunity because they benefit from the resistance of several plant varieties, and they can thrive in a wider range of temperatures. This increased plant strength also means that plants need fewer chemicals and pesticides, making them preferable to consumers. Learn more about grafting here
  • Hygiene: Good crop hygiene means there are no pests, weeds, diseases, pollution, or fungi affecting the plants. When greenhouses are clear from contamination, plants are healthier and more resilient to battle any diseases, viruses, or bacteria that may infect them. Every greenhouse needs hygiene protocols to ensure no contaminants enter. These protocols cover how farmers set up the greenhouse, how the growing team works, and how inspections are done. Learn more about crop hygiene here
  • Vaccinate: Plant vaccines are not always available, but if they are, they are a great option for creating resilient and resistant plants. Vaccinations infect plants with small doses of diseases, which can make plants sick in the beginning, but will ensure that plants are not severely sick later. When plants recover from their vaccines, they are stronger and better able to fight diseases.

A healthy future

Food safety is of utmost importance for the survival of our planet, especially during global conflicts. Farmers have a key position in helping people suffering from the consequences of conflicts and can make small changes to ensure they are doing everything they can. Not only will adopting these strategies help people in need, but they will also ensure an efficient farm and therefore a healthy farming business.

Create an irrigation strategy for optimal nutrient balance

By |2023-07-31T08:34:01+00:00July 31st, 2023|Blog|

Written by: Mr. Peter KlapwijkGreen Architect and Connector with a vast growing history.

Just like humans, plants need an optimal nutrient balance to thrive. Crops that receive the right amount of nutrients have higher yields and better fruit. To obtain these results, farmers need precise irrigation and fertilization strategies.

What is an optimal nutrient balance?

Continuing with the human metaphor, an optimal nutrient balance depends on the age and situation of the subject. For example, children and adults have different needs, as do men and women. A person’s lifestyle and environment also influence their optimal nutrient balance.

Similarly, crops each have their own needs. Their needs may be influenced by:

  • The age and stage of the crop
  • Whether the crop is producing fruits
  • The season and climate
  • The weather and environment
  • The soil and growth medium

Even understanding these factors, each plant may have different needs. Two plants of the same species in the same environment might have needs that vary by up to 30%. It’s not unusual for plants to require 20% more nutrients than average, while other plants might need 10% less than average.

To ensure crops receive the nutrients they need, farmers may be tempted to overfertilize and offer excess nutrients, thinking that the excess will just wash away through the drain water. Not only is this wasteful, leading to excess costs and wasted fertilizer, but it can also be harmful to plants. In fact, if the nutrient concentration or electrical conductivity (EC) in your nutrient solution is too high, plants might transpire less and lower transpiration can hinder growth. Roots tend to absorb water with lower EC faster.

Additionally, an excess of any one specific nutrient can also be harmful. For example, too much potassium might limit growth. Farmers must find the right balance between offering enough nutrients without overfeeding crops.

What nutrients do plants need?

There are multiple nutrients plants need to grow optimally.

  • Nitrogen–Nitrogen is one of the top elements for plant growth. This element is a key ingredient in all plant cells and is necessary for the photosynthesis process. Nitrogen might be considered the gasoline that fuels the plant’s engine.
  • Calcium—Calcium helps build the walls of plant cells in the stem, roots, and leaves. It is important for a strong structure and a bright green color.
  • Potassium—Potassium is important for the vascular structure of the plant. It ensures necessary starches, sugars, and oils are dispersed through the plant, leading to increased vigor, disease resistance, and fruit quality.
  • Sodium—Sodium is not generally considered a necessary nutrient for plants, but it can help improve a plant’s metabolism. Farmers however need to be careful not to give plants too much sodium, as this can interfere with the plant’s ability to absorb other nutrients.

Using irrigation to obtain nutrient balance

Your irrigation strategy should be based on the needs of your crops, including their nutritional needs. In this article, we are discussing irrigation strategy when growing on substrates.

An irrigation strategy is built of two components: nutrients and water. You can provide nutrients through fertilizers that include a mix of nutrients, or you can add single nutrients to your growing medium. Whichever you choose should be based on what your plants need and what is available from local suppliers.

Water is the second element of your irrigation strategy and can be used to ensure your plants receive the right amount of nutrients. To start, consider how much water plants generally need in a day. To ensure your plants never get over-dry, you might choose to increase this amount by 25%. For example, if a plant needs one liter per day, you might provide 1.25 liters.

It’s important not to overwater your plants. Too much water will eliminate the oxygen in a substrate. Oxygen is important for root growth and helps plants absorb nutrients. You want to provide water only when the previous shot of water is almost depleted.

One irrigation strategy that helps farmers avoid overwatering is by providing large shots of water for longer time periods less often. This ensures that your substrates are saturated and allows plants to continuously absorb the water until it is almost depleted before you provide another shot of water.

Every time you give water, you are flushing elements in the soil. This is another reason to water less often if you are providing specific amounts of nutrients to your plants. If you give too much of one element, you can increase the water content to flush the element and equalize the soil.

Using irrigation to obtain nutrient balance

Using irrigation to avoid disease

Your irrigation strategy should also include the timing of water shots to avoid diseases. There are many plant diseases that start from fungi and bacteria found in free water. You don’t want this free water to be soaking into the substrate and become a breeding ground for fungi and mildew to germinate.

Water shots should always be given while plants are transpiring. Plants transpire the most during the day, so much of your irrigation should take place during the daylight. Any water shots given too early in the morning or too late in the evening can lead to disease.

Monitoring and improving your irrigation strategy

If you want optimal growth, you will need to anticipate crops’ needs and provide exact amounts of nutrients and water. To do this, you will need to test your irrigation strategy and nutrient concentrations and measure the results. Here are a few things that you should check:

  • Dripper input and output—Are your drippers operating consistently? It’s important to check that all drippers provide an equal amount of water.
  • Wet scale—Use electronic measurement equipment to check the water content of your substrates. This will tell you whether you are providing the right amount of water.
  • Drain water—Analyzing the drain water will tell you how much nutrients the plants are absorbing. If there are a lot of excess nutrients, you might be giving too much. Drain water can also be recirculated after disinfection so the excess nutrients are not wasted.
  • Plant samples—You can examine crop samples in a laboratory to see how they react to different nutrients.

Once you know what your plants need, you’ll be equipped to proactively anticipate how to care best for your crops. Your plants will thank you will higher quality fruit, increased yield, and a bigger bottom line.


Mr. Peter Klapwijk is currently delving into R&D. In the past, his work was very practical, and he helped so many companies. He thoroughly enjoys working with Paskal and all their latest innovative developments while always trying to keep it simple.

If you like this article you would be interested in reading the following articles:

A Farmer’s Guide to Substrates

By |2023-05-24T12:41:40+00:00May 21st, 2023|Blog|

Written by: Mr. Peter KlapwijkGreen Architect and Connector with a vast growing history.


Substrate use in greenhouses is on the rise and for good reasons.

Not only do substrates protect crops from diseases, but they also lead to an increase in production and a reduction in resource and labor use.

A Farmer’s Guide to Substrates

What are substrates?

Substrates are a growth medium used for crops. Rather than planting crops in regular soil, crops can be planted in substrates that are specifically designed to provide an optimal root environment. Farmers can use substrates of different sizes and shapes to make the most out of their greenhouse configuration.

The use of substrates first started to combat diseases in soil. When you plant and replant the same crops in the same soil, root diseases can easily spread and carry over to new seasons. Farmers can sterilize the ground between every planting, which can get expensive, or they can use substrates.

New substrates are used every planting season, ensuring there are no leftover fungi or bacteria that could harm future crops.

The advantages of substrates

The advantages of substrates

Running a profitable greenhouse requires extreme optimization and efficiency. Substrates can help farmers by providing several benefits and advantages.

  1. Increase yield: Crops grown on substrates tend to produce 20%-25% more crops. This is attributed to an improved root environment and minimal exposure to diseases.
  2. Minimize loss: Farmers can lose up to 30% of fruit due to cracks and damage. Substrates minimize the amount of fruit loss because overall fruit quality is improved.
  3. Reduce labor: Substrates are simple to refresh every planting season. Replacing substrates takes significantly less time than preparing old soil for new crops.
  4. Improve control: Substrates provide a confined environment for crops’ roots. If you have a good system in place, you will have very tight control over this environment and can ensure perfect humidity and nutrients in the substrate.
  5. Save water: Substrates can be closed systems with water recycling through the substrate. Rather than letting old water and salt drain, it can be recirculated through the substrate, saving about 30% of water usage.

The challenges with substrates

While substrates provide many advantages, they require very close control. While soil may be forgiving if you have a problem with your irrigation or drip systems, substrates are not. With soil, you might be able to wait a few hours or even a day to fix irrigation issues, but because substrates are more confined and compact, you need to fix any problems immediately.

Substrate types

There are different types of substrates that you can use in your greenhouse. While any sponge-like material that can absorb nutrients and allow roots to embed, these are the most popular materials for substrates:

  • Stone wool/rock wool: This is an inorganic material made of stones. It is a reliable substrate made in factories and allows for very precise management of fertigation and irrigation. However, it can be difficult to maintain an optimum nutrient balance with it.
  • Cocopeat: Cocopeat is an organic and eco-friendly material made of coconut husks. These husks function like wood, making a very stable root environment. This material can be reused after the crop for open fields as compost and to improve structure.
  • Peat: Peat moss is an organic material made of decomposed plant material. Crops like peat moss, which gives them a very good start. A disadvantage with peat is that it starts to compost during the crop, which can destabilize the nutrients and cause root problems.
  • Wood/sawdust: Wood fizzles or sawdust can be used for a substrate.
  • Perlite: Perlite is volcanic stone with high oxygen content. It is inorganic and can be difficult to buffer nutrients inside it.

It’s important to note the differences between organic and inorganic substrates. If you use organic substrates such as cocopeat or peat, you can likely reuse the substrate at the end of the season for open field crops or for generator fuel. While you cannot reuse the substrate in your greenhouse, it can be a great growth medium in an open field once you remove the plastic covering. Inorganic substrates are non-compostable and not reusable. They usually can be recycled back at the factory where they were created.

How to start using substrates in your greenhouse

How to start using substrates in your greenhouse

Using substrates in your greenhouse will have a huge effect on your efficiency, however, you must have the right system in place for it. If you want to succeed with substrates the first thing you must do is invest in a technical installation including backup irrigation, a facility for mixing nutrients, a reliable distribution system, and technical dripper lines. Your system should have alarms in place so you will be instantly notified of any issues.

Investing in a technical system might seem like a big expense, however, it will hugely pay off. This is the cheapest and most efficient way to improve production.

Next, you should figure out which substrate material you would like to use. To do this, you must first analyze the availability and prices of the different materials in your country. For example, cocopeat often comes from India, Sri Lanka, or Indonesia. Could you bring this material to your greenhouse cost-efficiently? Stone wool, on the other hand, is made in a factory. Is there a local factory you can purchase it from?

You must also consider which types of materials your crops might prefer in your environment. For example, if you live in a warm country, a substrate with larger water and nutrient buffer might be better.

In colder countries, you can probably get away with a lower buffer. If you grow cucumbers, you might investigate substrates with higher oxygen content like perlite, or if you’re growing peppers, you might choose a more water-soluble substrate.

In this analysis, you can also speak with other greenhouse growers in your area to see what they are using. Most likely, they have done their own analysis of what is available and what works in your environment.

Once you’ve done this analysis, it’s time to perform your own substrate trials. Install substrates in your greenhouse and start planting. Don’t be afraid to invest in larger buffers than you think you need. While you could probably get away with smaller buffers, larger buffers could pay off, especially when you are starting out. Larger buffers allow for more root volume, which is important if there are any issues with your irrigation or nutrient dispenser systems.

You can grow any crop in any substrate if you do it correctly. It might take you some time to learn, but substrates are a surefire way to improve results in your greenhouse business.


Mr. Peter Klapwijk is currently delving into R&D. In the past, his work was very practical, and he helped so many companies. He thoroughly enjoys working with Paskal and all their latest innovative developments while always trying to keep it simple.

If you like this article you would be interested in reading the following articles:

Case Study: How truss arches practically contribute to cultivating cherry tomatoes

By |2023-04-11T12:53:11+00:00April 11th, 2023|Blog|

Writer: Mr. Mikhail Vorobyev, Agronomist Consultant, Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences


One of the most common challenges with growing tomatoes is stem damage inflicted by the weight of fruit. When stems kink or snap, the free flow of nutrients is blocked. Therefore, tomatoes ripen slower and harvest may be delayed from 4 to 7 days. Moreover, the resulting fruit may be heterogeneous or small. Thus, yield losses can range from 3%-15%.

Furthermore, all subsequent growth and development of tomato clusters is delayed and plants experience a constant increase in load.

Today, high-tech greenhouses take advantage of a wide range of accessories to improve the tomato-growing process. Modern solutions provide optimal conditions for healthy growth and increase top-quality yields. This experiment aims to quantify how truss arches contribute to cherry tomato cultivation in a simple film greenhouse designed for the spring-summer season.


Paskal truss arches are specially designed to ensure both firm and safe stem support. The accessory is applied to a truss during the flowering stage where future breaks may occur. As fruit grows on the plant, the truss arch gently supports the cluster to prevent damage.

For diversity in this experiment, we tested two types of Paskal truss arches with differing flexibility.

  1. Flexible Arch (article 560ac): this arch has a softer structure and bends at a smooth angle, allowing for application at the later stages of flowering without risking damage.
  2. Top Flex Arch (article 561ac): this arch is more rigid and guides the cluster at an ideal angle. It must be installed during a specific time period or it can damage the stem.


The experiment took place in a spring film greenhouse with solar heating, mulching material to retain heat, and moist soil to suppress weed growth.

The seeds were sowed on April 1st and May 2nd. After 45 days, the seedlings were planted in a two-line pattern with four-fold repetition. They were classically cultivated and after five days were trellised as one stem with side shoots removed weekly.

Truss arches were applied to all plant clusters in this experiment.



The effectiveness of the truss arches was determined by the quality and quantity of the harvest. In this experiment, the yield per plant was calculated as the number of tomatoes on one truss, the average weight of one fruit, and the number of trusses per plant.

The results were stunning:

  1. Truss arches significantly reduced the ripening period of cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomato plants with truss arches were first harvested 2-3 days earlier than plants in the control group without arches. Plants in the control group that experienced kinks or stem damage due to fruit weight experienced delayed ripening periods of up to seven days.
  2. Trusses with arches had higher weights.  Trusses with arches weighed about 10-30 grams (6% to 14%) more than trusses without, resulting in a 5%-7% increase in yield.
  3. The right accessory ensures high-quality fruit. Understanding a crop’s needs and peculiarities helps you choose the right tools for better harvests.
  4. Truss arches contribute to profits from cherry tomato plants. Arches are cost-effective and easy for greenhouse workers to install.
Cherry tomato Hybrids Truss Arches Average fruit weight, grams Average truss weight, grams Average yield kg\1 plant.  ±  yield % in comparison with the control data
№1 No truss arches 17 250,6 2,0
Flexible Arch 20 270,2 2,32 +14
Top Flex 19 262,3 2,21 +9
№2 No truss arches 8 175,2 1,40
Flexible Arch 10 179,3 1,45 +3
Top Flex 9 184,5 1,61 +9
№3 No truss arches 14 165,5 1,30
Flexible Arch 15 179,8 1,45 +6
Top Flex 15 172,2 1,35 +2

Tracking transpiration is the key to saving energy

By |2023-04-16T12:08:43+00:00April 11th, 2023|Articles, Blog|

Written by: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history.


Creating an optimal growing climate in a greenhouse requires energy.

With energy prices on the rise, this is a significant expense for greenhouse operations. There are many options for minimizing the amount you spend on energy, such as installing solar panels or windmills.

However, if you want to reduce the amount of energy you use in your greenhouse, the real secret is to track plant transpiration.

Tracking transpiration is the key to saving energy

What is transpiration?

Transpiration is a necessary process in plants’ metabolisms that ensures growth. Water absorbed by plants travels through stems and leaves and then evaporates through pores on leaf surfaces. When plants transpire, their pores open allowing for the diffusion of carbon dioxide gas for photosynthesis. Transpiration also changes the osmotic pressure in cells, enabling the flow of mineral nutrients through the shoots.

Plants need to transpire to thrive. Adequate transpiration leads to optimal growth. Plants that transpire sufficiently are more generative, and have smaller leaves, stronger stems, and bigger fruits.

What does transpiration have to do with energy consumption? Plants transpire best when in an active dry climate. How much of the energy used in your greenhouse goes to creating optimal conditions for growth?

Greenhouse energy consumption

Greenhouse energy consumption

Your greenhouse is all about providing plants with optimal growth conditions. Let’s look at power consumption for creating your environment.

  • Artificial light: Plants need light for photosynthesis. This light is converted into energy that is used to grow, bloom, and create seeds. In northern climates with less light in the winter season, greenhouses can use about 1 megawatt per hectare per house on artificial light.
  • Heating: Tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper plants thrive best around 20 degrees Celsius. If your climate is generally cooler than this, heating is required. However, heating is not just for increasing temperatures. Heating is also used to dehumidify the greenhouse because high humidity can reduce growth. Greenhouses can use about 300,000-500,000 cubic meters of gas per hectare per year for heating.
  • Irrigation: Irrigation systems often rely on electric pumps to distribute water throughout the greenhouse.
  • Automatization: Anything automated, from trollies, sensors, or other equipment uses energy. These automated systems are hugely important to reduce labor and improve plant production.

While there are many options for reducing the power used for any of these processes, we’re going to focus on the one that uses the most energy: heating. Heating greenhouses has two purposes: the first is to keep plants warm. The second is the reduce the humidity to ensure plants transpire sufficiently. Plants transpire less in humid environments, meaning that heating is an important element to ensure your plants absorb nutrients and photosynthesize as required. Read on to learn how you can reduce the amount of energy invested in heating while ensuring your plants are transpiring sufficiently.

The circular economy and your greenhouse

An energy-saving heating strategy

If your heating strategy is based only on the temperature of your greenhouse, then you might not be very energy efficient. You could save energy by basing your heating strategy on transpiration, air ventilation, and airflow. In this strategy, you’ll focus on plant temperature rather than air temperature. Plant temperature is generally 1-2 degrees cooler than air temperature if your plants are transpiring adequately. You can test plant temperature with infrared equipment or other instruments specifically for this purpose.

Based on your plant temperature and transpiration speed, you can decide how much heating is needed in your greenhouse. Before you turn up the gas for heating, try using ventilation to optimize growth with less energy.

For example, mounting a thermal screen on top of your greenhouse is a very efficient way to warm your plants. Acting as a blanket, thermal screens keep warmth inside and isolate the greenhouse by 40%. Adding a second screen or even a third screen provides even more isolation, reducing the need to use energy for additional heating.

To keep plants transpiring with thermal screens, you can keep the windows open in your greenhouse even when the thermal screens are closed. Plants mostly transpire during the day when there is less of a need for heating. Open windows improve ventilation and reduce humidity naturally. Close the windows at night, when plants are less likely to transpire, to keep the greenhouse warm under a thermal screen.

Closed thermal screens increase plant temperature, meaning you’ll be able to set a lower temperature in your greenhouse. You can measure the plant temperature with special tools, which will be a profitable investment when they help you efficiently manage your greenhouse’s climate.

Other options for energy-efficient heating include using solar panels or wind turbines to create your own energy.

Greenhouse energy consumption

How energy efficient is your greenhouse?

Once you’ve developed a heating strategy, you’ll want to test how efficient it is. You can do this by creating benchmarks. First, check how much energy you were using before you implemented your new strategy. Are you using less energy now?

Next, you should benchmark your energy usage against other greenhouses in your climate. How much energy are you consuming compared to them? If you’re consuming more, you might be able to improve further. If you’re using less, great job!

It’s important to note that no matter how efficient your greenhouse is, you still need to use energy to sustain your crops. The most expensive cubic meters of gas are the ones you unnecessarily avoid using. Don’t cut corners with energy usage! If you need to turn on the gas to warm your crops, do it so your plants don’t suffer.

If you’re interested in learning more about Paskal’s range of products and how they can help you benefit from joining the circular economy, contact us today.


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Why the Circular Economy Matters For Your Greenhouse

By |2023-02-27T15:28:09+00:00February 27th, 2023|Articles, Blog|

The classic value chain shows resources flowing in one direction. Raw materials are created and sold to manufacturers, who then sell to retailers and finally to customers who use and then dispose of products. Not only is this value chain unsustainable with the amount of waste created, but it also negatively impacts the environment and our health.

Circular Economy Matters For Your Greenhouse

In 2021, it is estimated that only 5%-6% of used plastic was recycled. In the U.S. alone, about 38 million tons of plastic went to landfills. Generating this amount of trash annually desecrates the earth and leads to further pollution as more and more plastic is manufactured.

Today, many organizations are joining the circular economy, which modifies the classic value chain to reduce waste and conserve resources. For horticulturalists and growers, joining the circular economy is imperative. Read on to learn what you need to know for the sake of your greenhouse.

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is all about improving sustainability – reducing waste, emissions, and resources, saving energy, and more.

In the circular economy, customers reuse and recycle products. Some products can be used for a longer lifecycle or repurposed for other uses, while others can be recycled as raw material for other products. Circular economy organizations also focus on precision, meaning using the least amount of water, fertilizer, and energy required for optimal yield.

Products may also be made lighter-weight and packaged in recycled materials. The circular economy also includes using more efficient transportation, such as combining products into single deliveries.

By joining the circular economy, businesses and consumers can contribute to a more sustainable future, protect the earth, and improve their business.

The circular economy and your greenhouse

The circular economy and your greenhouse

Horticulture and agriculture are two of the most important industries for the circular economy. Agriculture itself has major impacts on the environment by creating greenhouse gas emissions, high water usage, and chemical pollution. These consequences, in turn, also negatively affect agricultural output. By focusing on sustainability in your greenhouse, not only can you reduce your environmental impact, but you can also improve your own operation.

Here are several reasons why joining the circular economy is important for your greenhouse.

Reduce waste

Agriculture ventures produce significant waste, including vines at the end of the season, unabsorbed water, and clips and accessories that aided in growth during the planting season. Instead of disposing of this waste, much of it can be reused, recycled, or repurposed to reduce the amount of waste created by your greenhouse.

Lower costs

There are many ways that the circular economy can help you lower your costs.

  1. Electricity: Set up your greenhouse to take advantage of natural light by cleaning glass and changing your opaque plastic film often and you can reduce the amount of energy you use in your greenhouse for heating and lighting.
  2. Labor: Using biodegradable products means spending less time removing plastic products at the end of the season. This saves significant time and labor costs.
  3. Inputs: Don’t waste products that can be collected and reused. This improves your efficiency and saves you from re-purchasing products.

Improve crop quality

Adopting sustainable practices in your greenhouse can even improve crop quality. For example, using organic waste for fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer can significantly improve the quality of soil, making it riches for your crops.

Circularity in agriculture also requires rotating crops and even “intercropping” (planting multiple crops together), two practices that can lead to higher yield and better-quality crops.

How to join the circular economy

If you want your greenhouse to benefit from the circular economy, there are a few simple things you can do to get started.

  1. Implement closed-loop water systems: This will ensure that water does not leak or go to waste. Instead, water will be reused throughout your system, both reducing waste and saving money.
  2. Use LED lighting and intelligent temperature control: Rather than wasting energy on inefficient lighting or excessive heating, use smart products to ensure you minimize the amount of energy you need.
  3. Use biodegradable accessories: Whenever possible, use biodegradable products rather than plastic to reduce your waste.
  4. Be aware of plastics: If you’re using plastics, use lightweight products and be sure to deposit them at recycling plants after use.

circular economy | Alternatives to plastic

Alternatives to plastic

Plastic has been carefully developed to optimize mechanical properties and increase durability. This is great for customers, but also bad for the planet. Many greenhouse products and accessories are made of polyethylene &polypropylene plastics. Sometimes these materials are necessary. If you’re using plastic, be sure to collect and recycle them at the end of the season. For these purposes, Paskal has created many food-safe products that use minimal raw materials.

Paskal also offers many innovative biodegradable products from plastic alternative materials. Our biodegradable clips, arches, trusses, and twine have been engineered for strength and reliability while ensuring they meet the quality standards to support healthy plant growth and comply with EN13432. This means they are compostable and can be used to fertilize your plants next season.

If you’re interested in learning more about Paskal’s range of products and how they can help you benefit from joining the circular economy, contact us today.


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Improve Yield With Fewer Resources Through Grafting

By |2023-01-31T15:31:21+00:00January 26th, 2023|Blog|

Co-writers: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history and Marit Nieboer – Klapwijk – Business coach, discovers and supports you and your companies talents and abilities.


Grafting tomato plants has many benefits including combating plant diseases and improving the life cycle of a crop. One of the less often discussed benefits of grafting is that it allows you to save energy and reduce labor all the while improving yield and making your greenhouse more sustainable.

Growing Tomatoes

Grafted plants versus non-grafted plants

Before we get into how grafting makes greenhouses more sustainable, let’s first discuss the differences between grafted and non-grafted plants. Here are some of the main differences:

  • Immunity: Grafted plants are more resistant to diseases because they benefit from the immunity of different plant varieties.
  • Temperature tolerance: Grafted plants can thrive in wider temperature ranges because their rootstock is stronger. Non-grafted plants often fail to absorb nutrients at cold temperatures.
  • Look: The better uptake of nutrients and more vital root system results in a better plant color. Grafted plants are often greener, stronger, and grow faster because they generally absorb nutrients faster than non-grafted plants. Their skin is also more elastic and more resistant to damage.

Grafted plants versus non-grafted plants

How does grafting make greenhouses more sustainable?

Once you understand the difference between grafted and non-grafted plants, you can organize your greenhouse according to the needs of your plants.


As mentioned, grafted rootstock thrives at various temperatures. Even at just 10 degrees Celsius, grafted plants are still absorbing nutrients and water from the soil. This means that you don’t need to use energy to heat your greenhouses at night. Instead, you can use natural daylight to warm your greenhouses during the day and this heating should generally be enough to maintain an ideal temperature overnight.

Eliminating the need to heat your greenhouse can lead to energy savings of up to about 25%. It also yields higher humidity and CO2 levels, making your greenhouse an even more ideal environment for growth.


Grafted plants are generally greener and brighter because they are stronger, more durable, and less vulnerable. This means they have better immunity and are more resistant to environmental damage. For this reason, grafted plants require fewer pesticides and chemicals for healthy growth.

Using fewer chemicals can save you money as well as save you the labor for treating your plants with unnecessary chemicals and pesticides.


You can significantly reduce the amount of labor required to maintain your greenhouse with grafted plants. Grafting leads to a longer plant lifecycle, meaning your fruit production season is longer and your plants will produce fruits for an extended period. When seasons are longer, this means you have fewer cycles throughout the year.

When you have fewer cycles, there are fewer periods throughout the year that you have to invest time and labor to finish a growing season and replant for the next one.

How does grafting improves yield?

How does grafting improves yield?

Not only does grafting help you reduce the resources required to maintain your greenhouse, but it will also improve your yield.

More weeks of production

When you plant tomatoes, you have to wait 8-10 weeks until you see fruits. Let’s say you generally have four seasons per year. That means you might have 36 weeks without fruit. If you can eliminate at least one cycle, that means you have eight more weeks of fruit production.

Get more fruit per plant

It may seem counter-intuitive to use fewer plants to produce more fruit, but plant density plays an important role in how much fruit plants produce. To prove this point, let’s say in your greenhouse there are 1,800 joules of light sum per square meter. If you have four plants, that means each can absorb 450 joules. The plant needs 180 of those joules to thrive, leaving just 270 joules for the fruit. For ideal growth, you want to ensure that 70% of the energy goes to the fruit, meaning that here you have too many plants for energy to support their growth.

If you reduce the number of plants to three, each plant absorbs 600 joules. The plant still needs 180 joules, but this leaves 450 joules for the fruit, which can lead to an up to 16% increase in fruit production. Now, imagine this on the large scale of your greenhouse. That is a significant increase in production.

Get more fruit per plant

Find the right grafting combination for your greenhouse

Because there are so many different varieties of tomatoes, there are an infinite number of combinations you can create through grafting. Each combination will have its own benefits and may be better for different environments.

You need to find the best rootstock variety for your climate. The best variety will create the right balance between leaves and fruit on your plant, ensuring that you get the highest yield.

When you are looking for the right grafting combination for your greenhouse, the first step is to look at what other growers in your climate are doing.
Which grafting combinations are working for them? Have they tried combinations that were more successful or less?

The next step requires experimenting. You may test different grafting combinations to see which plants thrive best in your scenario. You might graft multiple varieties at the same time and see which plants produce the most and the tastiest fruit.

To ensure success during your grafting trials, you need to use high-quality grafting clips that will provide a precise union between the rooting stock and the scion, while providing undisturbed growth and ongoing protection during the growing process. This means providing the exact pressure at the grafting point and protecting the plants from infection, bacteria, and viruses.

Paskal has acquired Tecnografting to create a range of grafting clips designed specifically for different fruit families.
Click here to learn more about our grafting clips.


Mr. Peter Klapwijk is currently delving into R&D. In the past, his work was very practical, and he helped so many companies. He thoroughly enjoys working with Paskal and all their latest innovative developments while always trying to keep it simple.

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Plant Vitality and Strength for Significantly Durable Crops

By |2022-12-01T07:37:44+00:00November 30th, 2022|Blog|

Co-writers: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history and Marit Nieboer – Klapwijk – Business coach, discovers and supports you and your companies talents and abilities.


In an interview with Mr. Peter Klapwijk, a well-renowned expert in the field of horticulture dives deep, sharing his profound knowledge regarding the stages of plant growth and how it all starts with grafting and, of course, the right grafting clips!

Plant Vitality and Strength for Significantly Durable Crops

Plant Strength Starts at the Beginning

Grafting typically occurs in a growing chamber when the plant is quite young. It is crucial that the quality of the grafting is done expertly and with a precise hand since the entire lifecycle of the plant is highly dependent on this procedure and helps create a stronger, more disease-resistant plant with higher and healthier yields. Grafting is really a super skill, and its connection must be exact for it to work. To gain a good start, once the plant is cut for grafting, it should be done as soon as possible- the shorter the time frame, the better. The plant is left to rest while maintaining the appropriate environment for a few weeks.

Plant Vitality and Strength

The Importance of the Right Grafting Material

Just like the fact that grafting takes a skilled hand, the products used for grafting are just as important, with many factors to consider. When grafting, it is crucial to know which clips to use, which material is best, the elasticity of the material, and so on.

Skilled grafters also know that if you press too hard, the young plant can die. So together with grafting correctly and with the proper materials, one can see successful growth.

Temperature and Lighting

Greenhouse growing is not as easy as one may think. It is considered “Greenhouse Mathematics,” according to Klapwijk. Plants know the difference between night and day, and the temperature fluctuations that come along with darkness and light. Peter also stated that a climate that is in control, much like the summers in the Netherlands, is ideal since it never gets too hot. So, knowing your climate and what is necessary for growth is key. As a matter of fact, there are now hi-tech greenhouses in climates that at one time could not exist, and they are on the rise.

Temperature and Lighting as part of

All Plants are Different, Just Like People

Once the plant is moved to the greenhouse after grafting, depending on the plant’s strength, it can be negatively affected since leaving the safety of the propagation environment Many people don’t understand that plants are like people in the sense that no two plants are the same and that regardless of plants being grown in the same environment with the same lighting and temperature, you will find that some plants are stronger than others. Just like some people are more prone to the flu than others, some plants can be more prone to diseases or be weaker.

To help build the resistance of a child, the more they are exposed to illness, the better the body learns to fight. Plants are no different here.

Pushing a plant should be done in stages to assimilate the plant well during each stage, and it will start building its strength and resistance on its own. If you go easy, it will never get strong, and if you do it too fast, it will hurt you at some point. It’s all about balance here.

Significance of Transpiration in Plants

Like all living organisms, plants also require an excretory system to discharge excess water from their body. This process of eliminating excess water from the plant body is known as transpiration.

It is generally the evaporation of water from the surface of the leaves. During the process of transpiration, water molecules in the plant tissues are removed from the aerial parts of the plants. Only a small amount of water absorbed by the plants is utilized in growth and development. Transpiration helps in the conduction of water and minerals to different parts of the plants.

Due to the continuous elimination of water from the plant body, there is a balance of water maintained within the plant, and optimum transpiration helps in the proper growth of plants.

Significance of Transpiration in Plants

Tips for Growers

Remember, the key to growing successfully is to take your time. So many growers want to go too fast. If you slow up a bit, you will keep your crops in power and get more equal plants.

Measurement is key. Every greenhouse needs a “bookkeeper” of sorts. Weekly you should be checking over the plants and asking yourself, which direction should I go? Is my plant length going up? Is my fruit rate going up? Are my leaves shorter? Are the heads thinner? It’s very important to be in tune with your plants and know what they are asking for.

In closing, it is crucial to understand how many factors contribute to the lifecycle of a plant, and it all starts at the beginning. Grafting correctly and utilizing the right clips, as well as all the factors discussed, will make all the difference for a successful growing season. Remember to be patient, and it’s all about balance.

Mr. Peter Klapwijk is currently delving into R&D. In the past, his work was very practical, and he helped so many companies. He thoroughly enjoys working with Paskal and all their latest innovative developments while always trying to keep it simple.

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The Importance of Grafting- My Personal Experience

By |2022-12-01T07:40:04+00:00November 24th, 2022|Blog|

Co-writers: Mr. Peter Klapwijk, Green Architect and Connector with a vast growing history and Marit Nieboer – Klapwijk – Business coach, discovers and supports you and your companies talents and abilities.


What is Grafting?

Simply stated, grafting is a technique that joins two plants into one.

In general, a wound is created on one of the plants, and the other is inserted into that wound so each plant’s tissues can grow together.

What is Grafting?

Grafting- Then and Now

In the eighties, we started to grow on hydroponics and since we started every new crop with a new and clean substrate, they were free of diseases. As time passed, grafting was considered old-fashioned and obsolete until about 2000, when we began fighting a damaging disease called the Pepino Virus. The virus became a considerable problem which caused the crops to struggle and created a severe weakness in the roots. At the time, I met with fellow growers to discuss this now-growing global problem, and I felt that grafting again could be a solution. Although grafting does not get rid of the virus, its purpose in combatting the disease was to create stronger roots and therefore fight the disease and give the crops a way to get through it, which is precisely what happened. This was a real breakthrough, and grafting became popular again. Currently, 80% of tomato growers worldwide are grafting their plants.

Grafting- Then and Now

Benefits of Grafting

Besides combatting diseases like the Pepino Virus, grafting has other added benefits, such as increasing yields, crop quality, extended growing seasons, and improved flavor.

Since I am from the Netherlands, we all know it can get very cold here. When plants are not grafted, they cannot withstand temperatures below 14-15 degrees, whereas, in a grafted plant, they can withstand temperatures at 10-12 degrees.

It’s important to note that grafting can save you money and space. For example, instead of buying 30,000 non-grafted plants, you can buy 15,000 grafted plants with two heads from every plant and get the same result.

Lastly, and probably the most important, is its contribution to sustainability. In a world with less availability of energy and other sources, and consumers who want to eat clean and healthy products, the technology of grafting will be a very important and strategic tool to produce fresh products with lower input of energy and chemicals.

The quality of grafting is also an important part in the process. I appreciate tremendously the people and companies who are investing and therefore encouraging this development.

Benefits of Grafting

What’s to Come?

Working with Paskal has been a wonderful journey and I proudly state that my values align completely with Paskal’s strategy, vision, solutions, and all the support provided to growers from the beginning and throughout the entire growing process. Keep in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to grafting. Since we have learned how beneficial it is we will continue to provide up-to-date information and the most innovative products in the industry. We look forward to providing you with more exciting information regarding grafting very soon.

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