RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE APPLICATION OF ELECTRICITY IN HORTICULTURE IN GREAT BRITAIN

A.W. Gray
For the purpose of this paper I am interpreting the time limit imposed by the wording "recent developments" in the title as covering the period from the second meeting of the International Committee for Horticultural Engineering - Applications of Electricity in Horticulture - held in Ghent in May 1960 up to the present time. This does not however impose undue restrictions because during this nine years' period the place of electricity in horticultural practice has expanded to such an extent that, from being just another source of energy with a useful but somewhat limited application in commercial horticulture, electricity is now accepted as being an essential component in most modern horticultural practices and techniques. This is particularly true with regard to the intensive crop production programmes in the modern glasshouse nursery in Great Britain.

The many ancillary uses of electricity for heating, power and lighting around the nursery, from the electric kettle for the traditional cup of tea to the electric truck for efficient and economic transport of plants, crops and material, are, of course, helping considerably towards the efficient running of the enterprise. Nevertheless, the most significant contribution is undoubtedly the part that electricity plays towards providing the controlled environment which is the basis of modern techniques of intensive production of consistently high quality crops under glass.

Electrical control of heating, ventilating and, to a lesser extent, watering is the accepted practice. A wide choice of equipment for this purpose is available to the grower. These range from the simplest form of thermostat & timeswitch, preset by the grower according to his assessment of the immediate needs of the crop, to the very sophisticated and complex electronic equipment which can be programmed to maintain the required environment against constantly changing outside conditions.

It is not however with control equipment, important though this is, that electricity makes its biggest contribution to modern horticulture but in the various applications of electricity in the form of heat, power and light for crop production.

Gray, A.W. (1971). RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE APPLICATION OF ELECTRICITY IN HORTICULTURE IN GREAT BRITAIN. Acta Hortic. 22, 9-15
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.22.1
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.22.1

Acta Horticulturae