Protected cropping is an Active Management System. With more control, there is also more responsibility. To be a successful greenhouse or hydroponics manager, you need to know how and where problems can occur. You should routinely monitor all aspects of your growing system. You need to track conditions in the greenhouse, the hydroponic system and the crop.
Keeping records of all the factors you are monitoring is the only effective way of making sense and being able to use the data you collect.
You need to monitor the growing conditions in the greenhouse. At the very least, you should always track temperature and relative humidity. Other factors that you may need to know include radiation levels, carbon dioxide concentration and vapour pressure deficit. For climate controlled structures, you should be monitoring venting and heating too.
In hydroponics, you need to monitor the Electrical Conductivity (EC) and pH of both the feed and drain solutions, as well as the run-off percentage (RO%). When setting up irrigation/hydroponic systems, you need to make sure that all plants are irirgated similarly. To check this you need to do an Irrigation Distribution Uniformity test (DU%).
In the crop, you need to monitor pests and diseases (Pest and Disease check), as well as beneficial organisms. This information enables you to correctly manage plant health. Monitoring the growth of plants is also very important to keep the crop in balance. This is usually called Crop Registration.
Charts are one of the easiest and fastest ways to keep records. Use separate charts for each crop and irrigation zone. You can download the example charts below, or make up your own charts.