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How to Help the Plants in My Greenhouse Grow

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How to Help the Plants in My Greenhouse Grow

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Overview

Many home gardeners think of greenhouses as an untouchable luxury for the layman. They believe the size, cost and expertise for growing plants in one are beyond their ability. The fact is, even a fairly small yard can find space for a greenhouse, they are cost effective, and you don't need to have a degree in horticulture to grow plants in them. You can have a flourishing garden year-round with a greenhouse, as long as you keep in mind a few tips to help your plants thrive.

Step 1

Consider installing the necessary elements when planning a greenhouse that will give you maximum control of light, shade, temperature, humidity and ventilation. Heating units, mist units, fans or grow lamps may be expenses that you are wondering if you can do without, but controlling the environment inside of the greenhouse can greatly increase the production and expand the life of all your plants, provide a greater variety and enable year-round growing. At the very least, you should install shades or blinds to help control the amount of light your plants get each day.

Step 2

Plan a convenient system of watering so that your plants will get exactly what they need. Whether you choose soaker hoses, an overhead system of pipes and sprinklers, reservoirs with tubes or gutters or even using an old-fashioned watering can each morning, setting up a convenient system that delivers just the right amount of water to each plant is essential to success in greenhouse gardening.

Step 3

Visit your greenhouse daily. No matter how well-detailed you are in planning a greenhouse, it won't do all of the work for you. If you lower the temperature and open the vents to accommodate a warm spell and neglect to change it, a cold snap that comes through two days later may mean death for those tender seedlings. Make adjustments to the temperature, shades, humidity, vents and watering system to ensure the settings are optimum on a daily basis.

Step 4

Formulate your growing medium and fertilizers to ideally suit each plant. Since you are growing plants in containers in your greenhouse, you can take advantage and adjust the pH level and nutrient level in each individual pot.

Step 5

Consider how you will handle pollination when greenhouse gardening. Unless you are inviting bees into your greenhouse, you will need to devise a system of manual pollination. For self-pollinating varieties, each bud holds both male and female parts. Tap the flowers, or applying a vibrating device, such as an electric toothbrush, to the stems, to help the pollen reaches the stigma. In varieties that require cross-pollination, learn to identify the male parts of the plant and use a soft, clean craft paintbrush or cotton swab to transfer pollen to the female parts, the way an insect would when going from flower to flower. Research the plants you are growing to see what type of pollination they will need.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility access for water and electricity
  • Heating unit (optional)
  • Humidifier or vaporizing unit (optional)
  • Grow lamps (optional)
  • Shades or blinds
  • Watering system
  • Pots
  • Growing medium
  • Fertilizer
  • Electric toothbrush (optional)
  • Cotton swabs or soft craft paint brush

References

  • "The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening;" Christopher Brickell and Elvin McDonald, Editors; 1993
  • Shelter Systems: Greenhouse Gardening Manual
  • Vegetable Gardening and Greenhouses: Pollination
Keywords: greenhouse grow, greenhouse gardening, planning a greenhouse, growing plants

About this Author

Mackenzie Wright has been freelancing for the last 8 years in the arts of writing, painting, photography, crafts, and teaching classes on the arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education. Her writing has been featured in publications such as the Saint Petersburg Times, South Florida Parenting Magazine, and Home Education Magazine.