A greenhouse is a wonderful way to extend the growing season, as well as grow plants and crops that traditionally need warmer temperatures and more shelter than are found in an open garden. Yet, many people are scared away by the supposed complexities of greenhouse gardening. We’re here to tell you not to be daunted. Greenhouse gardening, like everything else, takes a little practice, but the rewards are well worth the trial and error. If you’re thinking of taking up greenhouse gardening, here are five tips to help set you on the right path!
- Light – The whole purpose of a greenhouse is to provide a temperate environment for plants year-round. As such, it’s essential to ensure that your greenhouse is receiving enough light, even in the fall and winter seasons. In the spring and summer, natural lighting should suffice, but in the darker months, a supplementary lighting system is a must for growing healthy plants. To provide that much needed light, invest in high output fluorescent lamp strips or LED grow lights. These products are especially popular because they output a full spectrum of light, are extremely efficient, and cover a large area.
- Heating – Learning how to properly heat your greenhouse may indeed take some trial and error. In the colder months, a small 120-volt electric heater will usually do the trick for a small-sized greenhouse. For a larger greenhouse, you may need to up the voltage of your heater to 240+. Other methods of heating a greenhouse include, ventilation systems that leverage unneeded hot air from your home, and large rocks and absorbent materials that will retain heat from sunlight. To monitor the temperature in your greenhouse, make sure you have a waterproof thermostat installed.
- Cooling – In the summer time, temperatures in your greenhouse may get too hot. Since greenhouses are specifically built to retain heat, the cooling process can be a little tricky. Make sure you are monitoring the temperature in your greenhouse during the warmer months, especially if your region experiences an extended heat wave. If you keep a close eye on things, you will be able to simply open the greenhouse door to cool temperatures when you notice a peak. Otherwise, you may have to use an evaporative air cooler to maintain proper humidity.
- Water – One common mistake beginner gardeners make is maintaining a set watering schedule. There are too many variables that can affect the relative moisture of soil from one watering to the next, for this to be a good idea. Instead of adhering to a strict schedule, opt to check the soil of your plants regularly. When the soil feels dry to the touch, go ahead and water it. Simple right? Your plants will thrive with this kind of attention!
- Insects – Most insects are totally harmless and are just there to live their lives. Likely they aren’t that interested in your plants, and if you spot an aphid on occasion, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have an infestation on your hands. On the off chance a plant does become infested, don’t panic. Remove it from the vicinity of your other plants, wash it gently and thoroughly, and then keep an eye on it for a while before returning it to the greenhouse.
For additional tips and tricks on how to successfully engage in greenhouse gardening, feel free to reach out to our expert gardeners at NeighborScape!
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