Growing plants in a greenhouse allows for climate control, not only extending the growing season, but giving the gardener the ability to grow plants that otherwise wouldn't survive the climate. While many gardeners use a greenhouse to get an early start on seedlings, others depend on it for developing hybrids and growing exotic plants. Some use it to grow and harvest vegetables during long, harsh winters.
Using a greenhouse allows a gardener to choose from a wide variety of readily available seeds, instead of depending on local nurseries that have a limited number of plants available.
Starting the Seedlings
Position flats or plant containers off the ground for better temperature control. Benches or tables are ideal for holding the plant containers.
Spread the soil mix in the containers or flats.
Plant the seeds, purchased seedlings or plants according to the directions that came with them. When planting seeds, stagger the planting over a period of a few weeks so that they don't all reach maturity at the same time.
Lightly water the soil. Too much water on newly planted seeds might make them float to the surface.
Install the thermometer in a shady area of the greenhouse to monitor the temperature. Most plants will thrive in temperatures less than 80 degrees F. Never let the greenhouse reach freezing temperatures.
Monitor Greenhouse Plants
Check the temperature of the greenhouse daily. If too warm, open doors or vents. An early morning light watering will also bring temperatures down. Heaters can be used if the temperature falls.
Water greenhouse plants in the late afternoon or evening. The moisture will help retain the heat as the temperature drops.
Insure that there is enough circulation in the greenhouse to prevent the air from becoming stale. This shouldn't be a problem unless the greenhouse is air tight.
Add fertilizer to greenhouse plants following directions on the fertilizer. Not all plants have the same nutrient needs, but the initial growing period of container plants can deplete the nutrients in the soil.
About this Author
Patrice Campbell, a graduate of Skagit Valley College, has more than 20 years of writing experience including working as a news reporter and features writer for the Florence Mining News and the Wild Rivers Guide, contributing writer for Suite 101 and Helium, and promotional writing for various businesses and charities.