Skip to main content

Crop Types

Building greenhouses and glasshouses for vine crops, soft fruits, leafy greens, bedding and pharmaceuticals plants. Through hydroponics, channeling the sun and controlling climates, we design and build in any conditions for any produce.

Vine Crops

Greenhouse vine crops generally consist of tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum or eggplant. 

These crops use very similar growing systems. Although there will be minor differences in the type and height of grow gutters and crop wire heights, the overarching principles of vine crop growing are very similar and have reached a mature stage within the industry. 

Glasshouse types are generally constructed with a 7m post height, require good ventilation windows, are powder-coated structures and feature diffused glass with a double anti-reflective coating. It is also important to install a high-quality misting system, climate computer and reliable irrigation. 

Vine Crop Projects

Filter

Lettuce & Leafy Greens

Lettuces and leafy greens require the most high-tech and investment-heavy facilities in the horticulture sector. In recent times there has been a significant increase in investment into the lettuce and baby leaf sectors, particularly in North America. People want reliable, consistent and safe food and these lettuce systems, which are typically highly-automated while growing within greenhouses, can certainly produce profitable volumes.

The lettuce and leafy green systems in operation are highly automated, however, they require a high level of capital investment.

This financial commitment is warranted, given yields are typically in excess of 100kg/sqm/annum.

An MGS (Moving Gulley Systems) is the preferred system type being used in our greenhouses, which can be automated and typically operated on a 21-day, first-in-first-out growth cycle. These systems, which include seeding, germination, transplanting, crop movement, harvesting and washing the grow gutters, can all be done without the need for human intervention.

Lettuce and leafy green systems also typically need to use some sort of supplemental lighting and potentially require mechanical cooling. These systems require a significant amount of air movement. with semi-closed greenhouses commonly used to ensure there is air movement below the grow gutters. 

Soft Fruit

The soft fruit sector, including strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, has been rapidly expanding in both North America and Europe over the past five years. 

Recent developments in types and arrangements of grow gutter systems, as well as propagation, are seeing significant advances in yields per sqm, ensuring these investments become more viable. We see this sector as being ripe for investment in Australia. 

There is simply no comparison between the quality of a soggy, field-grown strawberry compared to fruit grown in a climate-controlled glasshouse. 

Strawberry farmers should be targeting yields, with new strawberry glasshouse facilities aiming to produce around 15kg per sqm. 

Apex Greenhouses parters  with the North American-based GrowTec systems, which has pioneered the double-staggered gutter system, proving to be a reliable solution in that market and becoming increasingly popular in Australia and New Zealand. 

Soft Fruit Projects

Filter

Propagation

Propagation facilities are some of the most tech-reliant in the commercial greenhouse industry, as watering systems must be reliable. 

Young plants require great care and optimum growth conditions to ensure they thrive. 

A young plant sets the foundation for the entire growing season, therefore it is vitally important that the propagator has the facility fitted with the appropriate equipment and safeguards required to deliver this to his customers. Customers are relying on a strong plant without disease that will continue yield well throughout its life, and setting up the ideal process at the begging is essential.

Internationally, growers generally place propagation facilities on benches or concrete floors in greenhouses. 

In Australia and New Zealand, we tend to see propagation equipment placed on benches in commercial greenhouses, which provides greater flexibility for smaller batches and for automated movements of plants. 

Propagation facilities within greenhouses can be automated through the use of seeding machines, germination chambers, grading machines, grafting robots, wetting lines, sticking machines and transplanting and spacing robots. Apex Greenhouses can work with owners to ensure they have access to state-of-the-art equipment when building their facility.

Propagation Projects

Filter

Nursery / Bedding Plants

Similar to greenhouse propagation facilities, plants grown in nurseries and plant beds can also require and benefit from a high level of automation. Technology including potting machines, spacing robots and automated bench movements help to ensure facilities operate efficiently, keeping labour inputs down and improving reliability and consistency with your farming practices. 

Nursery / Bedding Plants Projects

Filter

Flowers / Ornamentals

In-ground flowers or bench and container systems can be grown successfully in a greenhouse environment. 

New advancements in growing methods (particularly in chrysanthemum varieties) ensure that it is possible to propagate flower cuttings in-house through the use of multi-layer growing environments within greenhouses.

Cut-flower systems for soil-grown flowers are simple systems, but a good adjustable hoist heating or netting system can make all the difference to the success of the crop. 

Flowers / Ornamentals Projects

Filter

Herbs

Herbs are generally grown using two common methods within a commercial greenhouse. 

Potted herbs are grown on ebb and flood benches. These are then sold in pots as a living organism. 

Alternatively, cut herbs are commonly grown in a nutrient-film technique (NFT) system, which is a hydroponic set-up suspending plant roots in a thin film – and more often these days in an MGS (moving gulley system). 

Both of these types of systems – whether by a moving bench system or MGS – require reasonable levels of capital to set up. 

Herbs Projects

Filter

Grains

Grain projects are not widespread within the greenhouse farming industry, however, there are grain-growing projects underway for breeding purposes or research. These are generally undertaken in small, high technology facilities. 

Often featuring LED lighting, pad and fan systems, misting systems and sometimes with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) for more specific research projects, these facilities are also relatively capital intensive on a per sqm basis. 

Although grains are not yet grown in greenhouses for commercial purposes, we foresee that over the coming decades some high-value varieties will warrant growing in large-scale, high tech greenhouses. 

Grains Projects

Filter

Medicinal Crops

Medicinal cannabis has seen huge advancements over the past decade, with much of this due to research undertaken in greenhouses. 

Developing off the back of huge growth and investment in North America, these greenhouses require a different way of thinking for an emerging market. 

Due to the high transpiration rate of the cannabis plant, humidity control and regulation is extremely important. Equally important is day-length control, which we can undertake by using blackout screen systems and LED lighting. 

The use of insect netting, forced air movement through semi-closed systems or otherwise, and a large area for services and processing are also becoming more commonplace. It’s important to control any potential disease or contaminants, and insect netting and semi closed systems can almost act as an insurance policy when farming high-value crops. 

Medicinal Crops Projects

Filter