Greenhouse gardening is beneficial for the serious gardener who wants to be able to grow produce year-round without having to worry about weather elements. You can also grow specific crops, such as fruit, tailoring the growing needs to the fruit, such as lights, watering cycles and heat. When gardening in a greenhouse, the key is to establish circulation, heating and watering cycles.
Install or choose a heating system for your greenhouse (only necessary for climates with severe winters usually). You can choose between an active system or a passive system for heating. An active system requires an energy source from electricity or gas, while a passive system requires solar energy to run. Picking between the two depends on how small or large your greenhouse is and your budget. Passive is most commonly used, and needs different objects to capture heat during the day to radiate it back at night (such as water-filled drums or large rocks).
Choose or install a circulation system. A greenhouse must have ventilation to prevent disease, or the plants will die. Choose between two types of ventilation systems. Natural ventilation uses roof vents and side vents to raise warm air through the top while pulling in cool air through the sides. Mechanical ventilation uses an exhaust fan to circulate air from one end of the greenhouse to the other, while fresh air comes in through motorized inlet vents.
Establish a method of cooling the greenhouse if necessary during summer, which all depends on your crops and the temperature outdoors during these seasons. For instance, in Arizona summers you will need cooling in the greenhouse with methods such as evaporative cooling (small coolers with a fan and evaporative pad that cools air and increases humidity) or shading (with roll-up screens or vinyl netting).
Prepare the soil for your fruit crops to be planted, whether they are seeds or transplants. Fill the planter flats with good quality potting soil, and sow the seeds or transplant the young fruit crops according to their package instructions. Group certain types of fruit together based on their growing needs, such as fruits that need wet soil and fruits that need well-drained slightly moist soil.
Water the seeds or transplants immediately after planting, doing it lightly so you don't disturb the roots or wash away the seeds. Get the soil completely moist until water is running from the planter flat's drainage holes.
Keep the planter flats in the greenhouse so the seeds will get about six hours of sunlight every day. Space the flats apart so proper air circulation can run between the plants. Continue to water the flats once the soil is dry to the touch. You can make this process easier, especially with large fruit crops, by Installing a drip irrigation system.
Transplant any fruit seedlings to larger planter pots once they reach around 3 to 5 inches tall.
Fill the larger planter pots before transplanting with the prepared soil. Create a shallow hole with your fingers in the soil that will accommodate the fruit roots. Carefully pull up the fruit seedlings and place one in each new hole.
Water immediately after transplanting, and continue to provide full sun. Once the fruit crops begin to mature, the exposure to sun, water and fertilizer all varies depending on the fruit variety.