5 Tips for Optimizing Greenhouse Benching Design


Greenhouse design bench spacing and density considerations from LLK Greenhouse Solutions

Greenhouse bench spacing planning | LLK Greenhouse Solutions

Any good greenhouse should plan ahead regarding all areas of design for current and future operations. One critical component that should not be overlooked in that planning is that of benching.  

An excellent bench layout “will assist your team in everything from foot traffic through the building to crop yield and profit.” Therefore, good benching should be prioritized as a foundation for the future success of your greenhouse, optimizing productivity and efficiency in all areas. So, what can be done to maximize the limited space of your greenhouse to create the best possible benching plan? 

Courtesy of LLK Greenhouse Solutions, here are five important factors for benching to consider when discussing greenhouse design.

1. Accessibility and Adaptability

Accessibility is about ensuring efficiency, safety, and, of course, access, in a worker-led environment. After all, an otherwise suitable bench setup is useless if it doesn’t allow for smooth worker integration and cooperation. 

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Therefore, when designing a benching plan, routine and scheduled movements (tours, deliveries, daily work, etc.) should be considered to prevent troubles and headaches down the line. A simple and effective method is to simply have your team walk the greenhouse floor to see where they can easily fit and move freely amidst your design for benching, plants, and other equipment. 

This area of benching preparation should be consulted alongside our previous piece from LLK Greenhouse Solutions, covering the incorporation of compliance measures from the Americans Disability Act (ADA) into greenhouse design. 

2. Drainage Capabilities

Irrigation and drainage are crucial parts of any greenhouse design. In relation to benching, you’ll want to ensure your proposed layout pairs well to maintain and/or increase the compatibility of your irrigation and drainage systems. That includes promoting even water distribution throughout your greenhouse and testing the functionality of irrigation and drainage schemes with different benching layouts to find what’s most effective. 

Not accounting for these factors can lead to pooling water, which can be a safety hazard for accidents, diseases, and the proliferation of weeds in your greenhouse.

3. Maintenance Procedures

With spacing an ever-present concern, any greenhouse design addition should not interfere with current or projected maintenance standard operating procedures (SOPs). Furthermore, greenhouse benching itself should be included in scheduled maintenance SOPs to ensure it’s not dealing with unnecessary wear and tear. Some examples of damage and sources include: 

  • Dings and dents (Ex. From delivery carts) 

Lastly, any additional adaptability and safety mechanisms of benches (such as anti-tip) should be routinely tested, and sanitation procedures should be put in place for safety concerns and to prolong the equipment’s life.

4. Material Selections

Any material can be a bench, but your needs, location, products, budget, and more, dictate what type of material is best for your greenhouse. Additionally, benches can be stationary or demonstrate features such as rolling wheels or collapsible lengths. So, what type of bench is best for you? Some material options include: 

  • Aluminum: Lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust. Ideal for humid environments and requires minimal maintenance. 
  • Galvanized Steel: Incredibly strong and able to support heavy loads, but much heavier than aluminum. 
  • Plastic: With options including polyethylene and PVC, plastic is very lightweight, easy to clean, and more resistant to moisture and chemicals than other materials but is much less durable to general wear and tear and not suitable for heavy loads. 
  • Stainless Steel: Very durable and resistant, but more expensive than many other metal material options.

5. Plant Density

Simply put, how many plants are you planning to have in your greenhouse? While many factors are at play regarding spacing, this is one of the more critical ones, especially when it can dictate the success or failure of your greenhouse. Determining the number of plants you need will then help to establish your needed (and available) bench space. 

As LLK states, “You’ll want to be mindful of how many plants can be accommodated per bench. This involves considering the mature size of the plant, including height and spread.” 

You’ll want to coordinate with your greenhouse team and designers regarding the characteristics of your plants, which then will guide your arrangement and spacing of plants on your benching layout. 

This discussion should go a long way toward arranging the plant spacing to optimize photosynthetic efficiency and airflow,” LLK notes. “The last thing your team needs is a patchwork of volatile microclimates in your greenhouse, which inevitably lead to pathogen attacks or less-than-ideal plant development.”

 

For a bevy of additional information and details on each of the five aforementioned tips on greenhouse benching design, please read the original article from LLK Greenhouse Solutions.



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