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- Author or Editor: Merle H. Jensen x
A major threat to the continuance and expansion of the greenhouse industry in the U.S. is the rising cost and availability of fuels to heat greenhouse units. While the greenhouse industry is a relatively small part of agriculture in the United States, it is important as it provides high-quality products on a year-round basis rather than being seasonally restricted. The industry produces not only vegetables, but an array of floricultural crops that enhance the esthetic beauty of our environment.
Homes of the not-too-distant future may have their own year-round vegetable gardens in greenhouses that double as solar energy collectors. Such a demonstration is presently in operation at the Environmental Research Laboratory (ERL) of the Univ. of Arizona and is funded by the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The model is a research and development tool to evaluate the economic and environmental desirability of developing such a unit as part of residential buildings to reduce the requirements for fossil fuels and at the same time enhance the home environment and add an increment of food production potential.
Many of the world's desert areas remain uninhabited but could be made productive, even attractive for settlement, if certain necessities were present. One such necessity is food. If crops are to be grown, water for irrigation and an environment conducive to good crop production are needed. Water is not available in most desert regions and must be provided together with the required power to pump this water from wells and into the area of crop production. The daily temperatures in most desert areas are adequate for crop production during most months of the year, but such hazards as sandstorms and insect invasions often make them undesirable for vegetable production; and providing water for irrigation is expensive. Experiments now are being conducted by the Universities of Arizona and Sonora in the growing of vegetables in controlled-environment, air-inflated greenhouses. The experimental unit is located in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico, on the east coast of the Gulf of California. The following are procedures and results obtained to date from tests which have been in progress since October 1968 (Fig. 1, 2).