Romania has a long agricultural tradition and before 1989 had the second largest greenhouse area in Europe after the Netherlands. Although it remains an important horticultural producer, the privatisation that followed the fall of the communist regime and rising energy costs led to the demise of many greenhouses.
“We are seeing some revival but there are probably less than ten high tech greenhouses in Romania,” says Georgiana. The rest are low to medium tech. “I am very satisfied with the way we have progressed so far. Our main market is in Bucharest where we have contracts with several supermarkets whose consumers are looking for better quality and new products,” she says.
The Venlo-style greenhouse was built by Dutch company Certhon in Floresti-Stoenesti, a village in a low-lying flat area with a continental climate: Winters vary from year to year; sometimes they are mild but more often it’s -20°C with strong winds and snow. The temperature in the summer often peaks at 35°C but it can reach 40°C with accompanying periods of drought.
“It’s important that we block out the heat in the late spring and summer but it’s also essential to provide the peppers with enough light throughout the year and maintain a fairly high humidity,” says Georgiana.
“For this reason, we use the coating Transpar. We’ve used it each season since we opened the greenhouse three years ago and this year we applied a layer on 30 April.” Georgiana planning to apply a second layer in June to provide extra protection against the heat. It will be removed mid-September using TopClear.
“Last year I ran a small trial with the coating Eclipse but Transpar produced better results. This is because the plants need a lot of light and Transpar makes this available and at the same time reflects the heat.
Humidity under control
She explains that they also face the constant threat of blossom end rot. “Fortunately, Transpar allows us to keep this under control as it creates a good climate for the plants. I want the humidity to be at 70-75% and usually, I can achieve this. However, if it does suddenly fall I can use the thermal screen to help raise it again. Otherwise, we only use this screen in winter.”
Georgiana also experimented with a simple whitewash on the outside of the house but then the humidity fell dramatically. “You quickly see the difference it makes.”
“Another advantage is that Transpar is not washed away by the rain, so we don’t have to keep coating the greenhouse again and again and again,” she says.