Cold spells no longer a threat for tomato grower
In the southern Sicily in the Ragusa province, lies the southeastern city of Scicli. Listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this area is famous for its rich Barocco architecture. Scicli borders Ragusa and Modica and spreads for approximately 20 km along the Mediterranean coast, from the mouth of the Irminio river until the district of Pisciottto. With a population of 26,000, this area is also known for its high quality production of tomatoes. The total cultivation of table tomatoes in Italy is about 24,000 hectares with one-third of the total production (or 38%) grown in greenhouses. Production can run up to 900,000 tons per year making this a viable business.
About 40 percent of all fresh tomatoes consumed in Italy are of the cherry variety. The particular climatic conditions of Sicily and the high salinity of irrigation water contribute to a higher qualitative product. No one would know this better than the Muriana family who has been involved in horticulture for many years. Giuseppe Muriana’s father started the family business by growing roses. It wasn’t until 2003, that Mr. Muriana started growing cherry tomatoes. Today the company has a total surface of 10,000m2 and they produce about 100 tons of cherry tomatoes per year which are sold within Italy. The varieties are Shiren (cherry tomato) and Dasher, (date tomato).
When the temperature falls below zero, the plant production can be lost
This area in the south of Sicily is one of the best places for tomato plants growth, thanks to the mild winters, and the hot-dry summers. Of course, the vegetation also benefits from the Mediterranean sea breeze. But, just a few cold days during the wintertime can create serious problems for the horticulture production. When the temperature falls below zero, the plant production can be lost. And in the case of just a few degrees above zero, the plant growth can also be affected which could delay the fruit period and weaken the plant structure. During the mid-season, the big threat is the excessive humidity in the greenhouse. Most fungal and bacterial diseases are initiated under high RH conditions and cool temperatures.
However, the combination of a proper heating system with the right ventilation is the best answer to help the plants through these critical periods. And that’s where Munters comes in. Giuseppe Muriana is very pleased with the results after installing Munters climate solution in 2003. In fact, he believes that his investment will be realized within five years.
The installation of GP air heaters, Euroemme® EMT30 jetfan air circulators and EM50 fans
Munters installed GP130 air heaters, equipped with oil burners were installed to keep the greenhouse temperature under control during the cold season to avoid any thermal shock to the plants. The EMT30 air circulators that were installed distribute the hot air in the greenhouses within a short time, reducing the working time of the heaters and granting a higher health of the plants. The EMT30 air circulators are also used for air destratification, keeping the internal humidity at a safe level and avoiding any disease or consequent treatments. The EM50 exhaust fans help to reduce the greenhouse RH early in the morning and to cool down the temperature in the hot summer days. And as Mr. Giuseppe Muriana says, “at the end of each production cycle, the products are always in the best condition thanks to the accurate climate control provided by Munters climate solution.”