With the proper greenhouse plant care, you have full control over the environment and can grow pretty much anything. You can even create your own little world to escape to, tend to your plants, and enjoy your garden. There are many reasons to grow in a greenhouse and plenty of different ways to go about it. Regardless why you garden, here are a few tips to help get the most from your greenhouse environment.
Why Learn Greenhouse Plant Care
If you have an outdoor garden, using a greenhouse can extend your growing season. First, it lets you start your seedlings earlier in the season. Secondly, it provides a protected space to bring your plants to when the weather is cooler. A greenhouse can be used as an extension of your outdoor garden to give you an edge against Mother Nature.
You can also use a greenhouse to grow fruits and vegetables year-round. Maybe you don’t have a suitable yard for gardening or live in an area too harsh to maintain a garden. There’s no need for your plants to ever go into the ground if you have a greenhouse. With a greenhouse, climate can be regulated throughout the year.
You may just want a quiet, peaceful space for you and your plants. A greenhouse is the perfect environment to grow gorgeous flowers and plump vegetables. But it’s also a great space for you to prune, repot, pamper, and observe your plants. For true gardening enthusiasts, a greenhouse can be a sanctuary for the gardener to escape into. And of course, it’s also controllable environment to raise your plants in. There are many reasons to start a greenhouse, and everyone has their own goals and motivations to get theirs started.
Starting Your Plants
The first step in caring for your plants is to get them started. You may choose to buy adult plants, or you may want to start your plants from seeds. If the latter, you’ll need to get quality seeds for the plants you’ll grow. If you aren’t sure which plants you’d like to grow, browse a few seed catalogs. The Old Farmer’s Almanac provides a list of companies that will provide free seed catalogs upon request.
There are a few important tips for starting seeds that should be kept in mind. You’re likely to have a few seeds that never sprout or possibly die off as a seedling. Plant a few extra seeds for every crop to allow for some of these losses.
It’s also a very good idea to label your seed planters and identify the type of plant as well as the date you planted it. If you’re planting a few different species it’s so easy to get your seeds and seedlings mixed up before they’re fully grown.
Lastly, keep your seeds and seedlings warm and adequately moist. You don’t want to drown them but it’s important that the soil doesn’t try out. A greenhouse is the perfect place to start your seeds because you can easily keep the enclosed space warm and humid. You can even add heating mats, a greenhouse heater, or an irrigation system if needed. Covering your seeds with plastic wrap or a plastic lid can also really help to keep the soil warm and moist.
Greenhouse Plant Care - Controlling the Temperature
Once your plants have grown, they’ll still require the right temperature to flourish to their full potential. While the design of the greenhouse pulls in light and heat, sometimes your greenhouse won’t produce the perfect atmosphere. You may need to cool the area, warm it up, or do a little of both at different times.
Roof vents are the simplest and cheapest way to allow your greenhouse to cool off. If it gets too hot, they will provide needed airflow. Many greenhouses have vents built in. If yours doesn’t, you can also crack the door to let some cool air in.
Portable Cooling Fans
Open vents and doors can only cool your greenhouse off if it’s not hot outside. When temperatures rise in the summer, a cooling system is helpful to prevent your plants from overheating and drying out. A portable cooling fan can lower the temperature in a hot greenhouse and save your plants from an unfortunate death.
A shade cloth can help block out some of the rays that blast through during the peak of summer. Want to save on your electric bill? Shade cloths are an excellent way to keep your greenhouse cooler without running electric fans or water misters. Simply set it up over the windows where the sun shines the brightest. You’ll see a significant drop in the temperatures inside your greenhouse.
An electric heater may be necessary if you plan to continue growing during the winter months. It may even be necessary during the spring, summer, and fall if your area gets very cold at night. Many heaters allow you choose a desired temperature where the heater will shut off or turn back on. So, your space will never get too hot or cold when you aren’t there to monitor the environment.
Controlling the Lighting
If your greenhouse is in an area that receives ample sunlight, your plants should get plenty of light. However, if you’re growing in winter, short daylight hours may not be enough. To keep flowers blooming and vegetable plants producing, you may need some help. Grow lights can help when you need to provide extra hours of light for your plants.
As mentioned earlier, shade cloths can be helpful when you’re growing plants that are sensitive to too much sunlight. For plants that can’t handle direct sun, put them in one section with a shade cloth over the nearest window. Shade cloths are available in a variety of thicknesses, allowing you to choose how much sunlight will reach your plants.
Greenhouse Plant Care - Providing Water and Humidity
All plants are different. Not every plant in your greenhouse is going to enjoy the same level of humidity. Using irrigation or drip systems keeps your moisture-loving plants hydrated while the rest of your plants enjoy a drier climate. These systems can be used for your entire garden. Alternatively, each nozzle can be set to provide just the water each plant requires.
Let Your Garden Flourish
Greenhouse gardening can be delightful. It’s awesome when your plants are thriving, flowers are blooming, and fresh produce is being grown for your family. However, when plants are dying in your greenhouse, the entire experience can turn frustrating. It might just seem like a waste of time. But there’s no reason you can’t create the perfect environment for your plants. You may just need to add a few tools and accessories to your setup. With the right stuff, you can ensure the atmosphere is perfect for every plant you’re growing. A few tweaks to your greenhouse environment can let you grow plants year-round. So, whether it’s being blasted with sunlight or pelted with snow, your plants will be in good shape.