Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners
For any home gardener, greenhouse gardening can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Although in most cases, greenhouse gardening is only more of an enjoyable pastime hobby, it is now becoming mainstream day after day especially in vegetables gardening.
Therefore, for any gardening in a greenhouse for beginners there is a certain degree of knowledge, and skills they may require for their learning curve.
In greenhouse gardening, there is a wide variety of variables that affect the success rate and the growth yield of certain plants. And that is why, below are a few tips that may be helpful to give you a head start in your greenhouse gardening.
What is Greenhouse Gardening?
A greenhouse is a backyard warm and stable environment where you can grow crops all year round. The environment is not affected by the climatic changes. The greenhouse can also be used to jump start a crop before you move them to the garden. For instance, tomatoes and peppers.
Whatever the reason for wanting a greenhouse, there are different ways to get started when you want to garden under poly carbonate or glass for that matter! Here are 7 growing tips for greenhouse gardening that will help you get the best out of your greenhouse.
My sons helping construct our 1st. greenhouse.
7 Growing Tips for Greenhouse Gardening
⦁ Ideal Greenhouse Temperatures
Having a greenhouse in your backyard has its perks.
You can grow a variety of healthy organic herbs, veggies and fruits all year round without worrying about the climatic conditions.
However, for your greenhouse to be successful, you need to have a certain level of dedication. That means, you need to put in more work and effort. Otherwise, you won’t realize any profits.
One of the most critical variables when growing your plants in a greenhouse is temperature. Most plants will require about 80 degrees Fahrenheit to grow properly.
When the temperatures in your greenhouse are too high, your plants may wilt and die.
On the other hand, you won’t like your greenhouse to be too cold. This will be defying the whole purpose of owning a greenhouse.
But not all plants require warm temperatures.
There are plant that can survive well at 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
The main aim is actually to avoid frost or freezing of the plants. Which means you may have to heat the interior of your greenhouse during winter.
How to Use a Greenhouse in the Winter?
If you feel the chill from the cold environment, then it is high time for you to heat up your greenhouse. Heating up your greenhouse will protect your entire yield from soggy mush and frost while keeping your plants warm for the winter.
However, heating up your greenhouse can be an expensive luxury that no one would like to incur.
Therefore, we’ve put down a list of some of the things you should do to reduce the cost and still make your greenhouse warm enough during winter season.
Tips on How to grow in a Greenhouse in winter
⦁ Insulation using a bubble wrap; clip a layer of bubble wrap around your greenhouse to reduce heat loss while at the same time blocking out winter draughts. Whether or not your greenhouse is heated, it will surely benefit from the bubble wrap.
⦁ Buy a thermometer; invest in a good minimum and maximum thermometer. That way, you will can constantly check on the temperature daily. You will be able to adjust your greenhouse heater appropriately.
⦁ Use your thermostat; you can save yourself the extra cash by only heating your greenhouse when necessary. Greenhouse heaters come with an in-built thermostat which helps you set up the machine to only turn on when the temperatures are below a certain level.
⦁ Check on the position of your heaters; you should always avoid places where the greenhouse heater is likely to come into contact with water.
Always put the machine at an open, central point on one end of the greenhouse.
Whenever necessary, you can angle the machine so that it points the plants. You can prevent foliage with this routine by the flow of warm air.
⦁ Always maintain a good ventilation; ensuring the ventilation system is appropriate will always have a positive effect on your crops. You will prevent the spread of fungal diseases with a good ventilation system.
Always water sparingly to reduce increase in humidity. Additionally, close down the vents when the sun goes down so that you can trap the warmth inside all night.
⦁ Invest in a heat propagation; buy a heat propagation which will help your seeds to germinate. With this machine, you can turn your greenhouse to a heated bunch.
More to that, you can invest in heat propagation mats which will help in keeping your seeds warm even after germination.
⦁ Keep your Greenhouse Neat
In most cases, piles of unused equipment will invite the invasion of snails and slugs. Therefore, always ensure to return everything at its proper place and remove equipment you don’t use. It may seem like a hard chore at the time but it will help keep your plants safe.
— Organic Life (@OrganicLifeMag) December 7, 2016
⦁ Protect your Plants from Pests
Whether it’s at your garden or in an indoor greenhouse, pesticide control should be your top most priority.
When it comes to greenhouse, pests will cause more harm since the investment is usually higher than in normal gardening.
Install insect screens on the air intakes to prevent the introduction of pests to your crops.
If you have an outside garden, you can start by completing all the task in your greenhouse before heading outside. That way, you will be able to stop any pests from being transported into your greenhouse.
⦁ Water the Plants
This is actually the biggest contributing factor to the failure of greenhouse projects. Most people will water their greenhouse plants according to a set schedule.
However, that might actually result to more harm than good.
When watering your greenhouse plants, there are a number of variables you need to put into account.
For instance, the temperature, growth stage of the plants and humidity. These variables will have a huge effect.
During mid-winter, you might water you plant once a week.
On the other hand, when it comes to summer, the frequency will definitely increase. If you want to know how to water your plant, you can use a moisture meter. In case you have prior experience, you can use your eyesight and feel the soil.
⦁ Light Sources
During winter and autumn, you might have to purchase a secondary light source to keep your plants going. As opposed to summer and late spring.
All in all, every greenhouse will need a supplementary light source.
LED grow lights and high output fluorescent pumps are some of the favorite secondary light sources.
That is because, unlike other light sources, they are able to emit full spectrum light with energy levels that can cover a wider area.
⦁ Correct Spacing of your Plants
Start by getting to know the room size you have for planting in your greenhouse.
Then determine the space your plants will need for them to develop to the stage you want them to.
This will help you determine the number of crops you can grow with the space you have.
Overcrowding your crops will only result to reduced plant growth since they will be competing for limited resources.
The competition will make your plants more susceptible to attacks from pests and diseases.
A well-spaced greenhouse
⦁ Know the Best Greenhouse Plants
If you have a greenhouse, then you are probably wondering what to plant inside.
Luckily, I will share with you some of the best plants that do well in a greenhouse.
Hopefully, this will help you get that greenhouse up and running for both you and your family.
I’ve always had great luck when it comes to growing tomatoes in my greenhouse. They will thrive no matter the season if you put them in the right warmth, light, feed and water.
A warm and humid greenhouse is favorable when it comes to growing Basil together with tomatoes. This will give you the best out of both crops.
The problem with tomatoes is that the plant might collapse due to the weight of their fruits.
That is why, before anything, you should drive a bamboo stick next to the plant.
Take care not to damage the tomato roots then tie the stems of the tomatoes to the bamboo.
This will make the plant depend on the bamboo stick for support.
You should also remove side shoots to divert the plants energy to making fruits.
Simply take the young shoot into your hands and bend it downwards to cut it off from the main branch. More importantly, make sure to remove the entire stump or it may die back.
My Big Beefsteak Tomato plant
My love for cucumbers started when I was a kid and today, I always enjoy planting them in my garden. The best part is that they thrive extremely well in a greenhouse.
They are very simple veggies to raise.
The only disadvantage is that if you don’t take care of the cucumbers, they are prone to bash out and take over the greenhouse. With that in mind, these veggies need constant supervision.
Spinach is a good greenhouse crop. If you want your crop to go through the harsh winter conditions, then go the greenhouse way.
They can actually provide a dependable off-season income.
You should start by tilling the land a week earlier before you start planting and add manure.
That is because spinach require well-drained soil rich in nutrients.
However, you may need to protect young plants with mulch during the winter even if they can tolerate the cold temperatures.
Apart from the regular thinning, spinach doesn’t require a lot of special care. Even working on the ground around the spinach is unnecessary since the roots are very shallow and you may risk ruining them. Try mulching around the plant to prevent weeds from growing.
Pepper are known for their stubbornness when it comes to breaking dormancy.
They always need a warm soil to even germinate.
All in all, you can start by seeding your pepper in a greenhouse before spring. This will help jump start your crops.
In a greenhouse, you are able to control the soil and the temperature which are both crucial elements in pepper germination.
That’s not all. You can also control the light and moisture which will let you have the hardy seeds ready for outdoor planting.
Peppers grown in a greenhouse
You can harvest the plant when it’s swollen and green or let it turn to red. However, leaving the fruit to ripen will not have any effect on the harvest.
If you want a taste of that fresh juicy orange fruit, then the best option is to grow it in your greenhouse. You can use pots to grow them in either a greenhouse or a sun room.
Typically, your greenhouse needs to be under heated during winter for better fruits. On the other hand, when it comes to summer, you can move your plant to the balcony or sheltered patio.
The best oranges to grow include the bloody orange and the tiger navel since they are also decorative. Oranges will do well when left to ripen on the trees.
Therefore, don’t harvest them until you are ready to eat them. Make sure to over water your oranges during cold temperatures.
Citrus fruits are prone to root rot in cold temperatures.
Grapes will do well in a greenhouse. Even though some of the varieties of grapes might grow well outdoors, they are more successful when grown in a greenhouse. If you put a bit of attention when pruning, watering, feeding and training, you are bound to get good yields all year round.
Grapes grown through greenhouse gardening
Grapes will flourish in well-ventilated, dry warm conditions. Although you can increase heat in the greenhouse by closing up the vents, it also results to humidity build-up.
This will in the end cause a decrease in pollination rates and fungal diseases. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the vents open during autumn and summer.
There are also breeds of grapes that benefit from heat build-up for instance Muscat of Alexandria. Thus, placing them next to a fan heater will aid in their growth during spring. Additionally, this will help in fruit ripening during autumn.
There you have it! With these 7 simple strategies, you are on your way to becoming one of the best greenhouse gardening experts. If you apply these strategies together, the success of your gardening will be imminent.
You can also find more infographics at Visualistan