The Benchmark: Growing Tomatoes in Greenhouses

Tomatoes are a crop that thrives in warm, well-ventilated environments. They require a good balance of light and dark periods for optimal growth. Tomato plants benefit from a consistent light schedule with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, while the dark period aids in their respiration process, promoting healthy growth and fruit development.

The Challenge

Tomatoes are a quintessential produce that are often grown in bulk due to their high demand in various culinary applications.

Tomatoes are mostly cultivated in well-draining soil, requiring meticulous care during each crop rotation. Typically, a tomato crop lasts in the greenhouse for about 20 to 30 weeks, allowing for multiple cycles per year depending on the variety and local climate conditions.

While tomatoes can also be grown hydroponically or in other soil-less mediums, some commercial growers may have reservations due to the initial setup costs or unfamiliarity with these methods. However, with the increasing need for water and space efficiency, soil-less cultivation methods are gaining traction.

The area for tomato cultivation may be limited, yet with the advent of modern greenhouse constructions, it is possible to create optimal climate conditions and implement energy-saving solutions to maximize yield.

The labor involved in tomato cultivation is ongoing, necessitating a dedicated team to manage the greenhouse operations throughout the year. From seeding to harvesting, there's a continuum of tasks that ensure the greenhouse tomatoes are of the highest quality and yield.

Things to Consider for Cultivating Tomatoes in Greenhouses

10 Frequently Asked Questions

Day temperature inside the greenhouse 28 C
Night temperature inside the greenhouse 18 C
Average daily temperature 22 C
Temperature differentiation 2 kelvin per hour 2 C
Relative humidiy levels 70 - 75 %
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels 800 ppm
Truss length 8.0 m 8,0 m
Section, varying between 4.5 and 5.0 m 4,5 or 5,0 m
Post height 6,0 m
Foundation height 0,3 m
Roof glass Tempered, haze with AR  
Steel frame Galvanized  
General installation load 70 N/m2 70 N/m2
Crop load  200 N/m2
Crop systems  150 N/m2
Top Layer Shade / Diffuse Screens
Bottom Layer Energy Screens
clean water    
2.0 liter per square meter of dosing per hour is sufficient 2,0 L/hour
Recycling at approx. 30% of the water 30 %
Re-using the water treating with ultra-filtration    
Hanging gutter suspended from the gutter
Average 300 umol
Extreme 500 umol
The yields of in a tomato greenhouse greatly vary between the cultivars. Depending on the costs of labor, the bottom line figure is similar.
Minimal (Cherry) 28 kg / sqm
Maximum (Beef tomatoes) 90 kg / sqm
Note, depending on cost of labor the bottom line figure might be very similar    
Number of persons per hectare 0,75 people
Management per facility 2 people
Supporting staff per facility 2 people
Typical minimal operation size 40.000 sqm
Optimal manageable operation size  80.000 sqm

Estimated return on investment of a tomatoe project?