Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners
Anyone who can garden in their backyard can transition to gardening in a greenhouse. Greenhouse gardening offers many advantages, including being able to grow all year long, keeping favorite plants alive all through the winter and starting seeds more easily. You must purchase special equipment and apply certain methods to garden successfully in a greenhouse, but they are well worth the effort.
Benches on which to put plants and trays are an important part of the greenhouse. Benches line the walls and you can use them on their own or stack them like shelves against the walls of the greenhouse. Slotted benches allow excess water to run through them when it drains from the pots or trays. Most benches are made from either redwood, because it is so durable, or aluminum. Collapse benches to store them when not in use.
A heater is essential if plants are to survive the winter in cold climates. Most small greenhouses have an electric heater.
Install a spigot or an irrigation system to make water readily available.
Regulating temperature in a greenhouse is the most important aspect to monitor when growing in a greenhouse. Sunlight through the window panes keeps the greenhouse warm in the daytime. Ideal temperature is 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When the sun is bright, it can raise the temperature too much. Greenhouses usually come equipped with vents in the ceiling. Open the vents during the day to keep the temperature down and close them at night and use the heater to keep the temperature balanced. Place panels made of film or plastic on upper windows to regulate heat by reflecting the sun's rays.
Water plants when they are dry. Some greenhouses come with drip irrigation systems that save water from having to be sprayed on the leaves. This type of system is easy for gardeners as they only have to turn it on.
Almost any plant can be grown in a greenhouse. Grow tall plants like tomatoes in tubs on the floor so they will not shade smaller plants placed on benches. If there is a dirt floor, grow melons and other vining plants as well as corn right in the ground. Place lettuce, herbs and peppers in containers on benches or shelves. Plant root crops in boxes that can go under the benches.
It is necessary to fertilize plants in a greenhouse because they are usually in containers. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every four to six weeks.
Disinfect the greenhouse one or two times a year by removing plants so they are not in the way and mixing bleach with water to scrub down walls, benches and non-dirt floors. Hose everything down before bringing the plants back inside. Between major cleanings, spray the walls with disinfectant cleaner while vents are open and wash down the walls. This will keep away insects and disease.