Greenhouse Gardening 101
Categories: Tips & Tricks, Green
In addition to the frame of the greenhouse, there aremanyaccessories that can go inside. Depending on your commitment and budget, you can add shelving, a mist system, a heating system, a fan, a tool rack, a potting bench and the list goes on. Consider what you really need, what you’d like to have and what you have room for.
Heating. If you live in a cold climate you may need to insulate your greenhouse to help keep your plants toasty warm. While a lot of sun will come in during the day, an uninsulated greenhouse will cool off quickly at night. In this case, a heating system may be called for (see Greenhouse Heating Requirements).
A 220-volt circuit electric heater works well. Small gas or oil heaters designed to be installed through a masonry wall are also effective. There are also solar heaters designed specifically for greenhouses.
Radiant heat lamps hung over plants combined with soil heating cables under plants will keep most plants warm enough. Be sure the greenhouse is vented and that whatever heating system you have has an automatic shut-off.
Tip: Place rocks or barrels of water inside your greenhouse to capture the suns heat and keep plants warm during cool evenings (see Winter Growing: Heating Greenhouses).
Ventilation. Plants can get too hot even during cold or cool weather, so good greenhouse ventilation is crucial. Vents can be hand cranked, but you’ll need to monitor temperatures closely. There are electric and temperature-sensitive hydraulic vents that automatically open and close.
Installing a fan will help keep air moving through the greenhouse and prevent many disease problems.
Shading. In warmer environments or when the sun is directly hitting the greenhouse, shading can keep plants from getting burned by reducing the amount of summer sunlight. Polypropylene shade cloth, roll-up screens of wood or aluminum, vinyl plastic shading, or paint-on materials can all be used to shade plants.
Pests. Keeping your greenhouse and gardening tools clean is the first step in avoiding pest problems. Check plants before bringing them into the greenhouse carefully to be sure they are bug and disease-free.
If cleanliness fails, immediately remove any plants with bugs or diseases. Spraying plant foliage with Safer Insect Killing Soap will kill or deter many insect pests. Also, bring “good” bugs in to eat the “bad” bugs.