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Greenhouse – Gherkins


Since 2008 the Supply Chain manages a 33’800 sq.ft. greenhouse project with controlled environment at Alawwa to grow small size Gherkins to facilitate control of spreading fungal/viral diseases and insects such as fruit fly . There are 8 greenhouses of polythene sheltered tunnels with a capacity to grow 22’400 plants per annum (4 crops).

Carefully selected Parthenocarpic seed varieties are used (gynoecious cultivars, which are all female), where pollination is not required to produce fruit. One seed is planted per 30 x 15 cm size poly bag, giving an average yield per plant of 1.5 – 2.0 kgs of seedless fruits, weighing 4 – 6.6 grams each per crop cycle with year round production.

Flowering takes place around 20 days after seeding. The growing media, moisture content and fertility levels can be adjusted and currently the media used is a mix of quarry dust, fibre dust & compost (1 : 1 : ½). Poly bags are placed on a black polythene mat to prevent contact with the soil, to avoid soil borne diseases, suppress weed growth around the bags and facilitate easy handling of the crop. Plants are grown on trellises and one trellis of 2 meter height per plant is used to train the vines. Drip irrigation is used for water efficiency, as water stress in the early vegetative stage causes reduced leaf area, low yield and affects flowering and fruit development. Drip irrigation also facilitates injecting water soluble fertilizer where frequencies can be programmed, where, initially watering 1 liter per plant per day is sufficient and later gradually increased to 2.5 liters per plant per day at the peak of crop.

Alawwa is situated at an elevation of 125 meters above mean sea level with a steeply dissected rolling terrain. Temperature is around 30o C. Relative Humidity is around 70 - 90% and the annual rainfall is over 2’200 mm.


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