Comparison of vapour pressure deficit patterns during cucumber cultivation in a traditional high PE tunnel greenhouse and a tunnel greenhouse equipped with a heat accumulator

Paweł J. Konopacki, Waldemar Treder, Krzysztof Klamkowski


Plant productivity in protected cultivation is highly influenced by air temperature and humidity. The conditions relating to the moisture content of the air in protected plant cultivation are preferably defined by vapour pressure deficit (VPD), which describes the difference between the maximal and actual water vapour pressure (kPa). VPD is widely used as the parameter describing the climate conditions favourable for the development of fungal diseases and for highlighting conditions unfavourable for plant development. In protected cultivation, both the air temperature and the humidity are influenced by heating systems, and one such system is a heat accumulator, which may store the excessive heat produced during the day by converting the solar energy inside the plastic tunnel, and using it when plant heating is required. The tunnel equipped with a heat accumulator maintained an optimal level of humidity for a longer period, and significantly reduced the time of excessive air humidity. The longest time with an optimal VPD was recorded in August in a tunnel with an accumulator – 30.5% of total time vs. 22.3% of time for control tunnel. The highest difference of total time where the VPD was too low (below 0.2 kPa) was recorded in July – 12.4% of time in a tunnel with an accumulator vs. 39.1% of time for control tunnel. The highest difference of total time with an excessive VPD (over 1.4 kPa) was recorded in May – 12.1% of time in a tunnel with an accumulator vs. 17.9% of time for control tunnel. However, a situation beneficial for plant growth occurred every month during the investigated season.


rock-bed; Cucumis sativus; microclimate; air humidity

Full Text:



Aust H, Hoyningen-Huene JV, 1986. Microclimate in relation to epidemics of powdery mildew. Annu Rev Phytopathol 24: 491-510.

Baeza EJ, Medrano E, Sánchez-Guerrero MC, Sánchez-González MJ, Porras ME, Giménez M, Lorenzo P, 2015. An alternative to conventional fossil fuel heating systems: water filled passive NIR absorbing polyethylene sleeves. Acta Hortic 1170: 765-772.

Bakker JC, Welles GWH, Van Uffelen JAM, 1987. The effects of day and night humidity on yield and quality of glasshouse cucumbers. J Hortic Sci Res 62: 363-370.

Bonachela S, Granados MR, López JC, Hernández J, Magán JJ, Baeza EJ, Baille A, 2012. How plastic mulches affect the thermal and radiative microclimate in an unheated low-cost greenhouse. Agr Forest Meteor 152: 65-72.

Bunce J, 1984. Effects of humidity on photosynthesis. J Exp Bot 35 (158): 1245-1251.

de Halleux D, Gauthier L, 1998. Energy consumption due to dehumidification of greenhouses under northern latitudes. J Agr Eng Res 69: 35-42.

Dickens J, Potter R, 1983. Spraying for white rust. Grower 100 (18): 35-37.

Elad Y, Messika Y, Brand M, Rav David D, Sztejnberg A, 2007. Effect of microclimate on Leveillula taurica powdery mildew of sweet pepper. Phytopathology 97: 813–824.

Flecher JT, 1974. Glasshouse crop disease control - Current developments and future prospects. Proc 7th British Insecticide and Fungicide Conference 1973, 3: 857-864.

Ghosal MK, Tiwari GN, Das DK, Pandey KP, 2005. Modeling and comparative thermal performance of ground air collector and earth air heat exchanger for heating of greenhouse. Energ Build 37: 613–621.

Goto F, Terazoe A, Shoji K, 2015. Comparison of energy consumption and tomato yield and quality from greenhouses heated by an oil heater or an air-source heat pump. Acta Hortic 1170: 447-452.

Hand DW, 1988. Effects of atmospheric humidity on greenhouse crops. Acta Hort 229: 143-158.

Hołownicki R, Konopacki P, Nowak J, Treder W, Kurpaska S, Latala H, 2014. Rock bed accumulator for heat surplus storage in high horticulture plastic tunnel. Proc of Int Conf of Agricultural Engineering, AgEng2014, Zurich (Switzerland) July 6-10.

ISO 13788:2012. Hygrothermal performance of building components and building elements - Internal surface temperature to avoid critical surface humidity and interstitial condensation - Calculation methods, 40 pp.

Itagaki K, Shibuya T, Tojo M, Endo R, Kitaya Y, 2014. Atmospheric moisture influences on conidia development in Phadosphaera xanthii through host – plant morphological responses. Eur J Plant Pathol 138: 113-121.

Kempkes FLK, Janse J, Hemming S, 2013. Greenhouse concept with high insulating double glass with coatings and new climate control strategies; from design to results from tomato experiments. Acta Hortic 1037: 83-92.

Konopacki P, Hołownicki R, Sabat R, Treder W, Nowak J, Kurpaska S, Latała H, 2014. Application of multisectional rock bed heat accumulator in high tunnel horticultural crop production and potential effects of its use. Proc of Int Conf of Agricultural Engineering, AgEng2014, Zurich (Switzerland) July 6-10.

Konopacki P, Hołownicki R, Sabat R, Kurpaska S, Latała H, Nowak J, 2015. The use of rock-bed for storage of solar energy surplus in high plastic tunnels - preliminary results of the full scale project. Acta Hortic 1099: 107-113.

Körner O, Challa H, 2003. Process-based humidity control regime for greenhouse crops. Comput Electr Agr 39: 173-192.

Kurpaska S, Latala H, 2010. Energy analysis of heat surplus storage systems in plastic tunnels. Renew Energ 35: 2656-2665.

Kürklü A, Bilgin S, Özkan B, 2003. A study on the solar energy storing rock-bed to heat a polyethylene tunnel type greenhouse. Renew Energ 28: 683-697.

Liang H, Lukyanov V, Cohen S, Shapiro D, Adler U, Silverman D, Tanny J, 2015. Microclimate in naturally ventilated tunnel greenhouses: effects of passive heating and greenhouse cover. Acta Hortic 1170: 269-276.

Loomis EL, Crandall PC, 1977. Water consumption of cucumbers during vegetative and reproductive stages of growth. J Amer Soc Hort Sci 102: 124-127.

Mortensen LM, 2000. Effect of air humidity on growth, flowering keeping quality and water relations of four short-day greenhouse species. Sci Hortic 86: 299-310.

Mortensen L, Gislerød H, 2005. Effect of air humidity variation on powdery mildew and keeping quality of cut roses. Sci Hortic 104: 49–55.

Ntinas GK, Kougias PG, Nikita-Martzopoulou Ch, 2011. Experimental performance of a hybrid solar energy saving system in greenhouses. Int Agrophys 25 (3): 257-264.

Ntinas K, Koukounaras A, Kotsopoulos T, 2015. Effect of energy saving solar sleeves on characteristics of hydroponic tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. Sci Hortic 194: 126-133.

Picken AJF, 1984. A review of pollination and fruit set in the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). J Hortic Sci 59: 1-13.

Prenger J, Ling P, 2009. Greenhouse condensation control. Fact Sheet (Series) AEX-8004. Ohio State University Extension, 1-7.

Sinclair T, Fiscus E, Wherley B, Durham M, Rufty T, 2007. Atmospheric vapor pressure deficit is critical in predicting growth response of "cool-season" grass Festuca arundinacea to temperature change. Planta 227: 273-276.

Torre S, Fjeld T, Gislerød H, More R, 2003. Leaf anatomy and stomatal morphology of greenhouse roses grown at moderate or high air humidity. J Amer Soc Hort Sci 128: 598-602.

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2018161-11484