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October 2017

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Beginner’s Tips for Greenhouse Growing

Written by , Posted in Garden Hacks & Tips, Garden Ideas

Do you like the idea of growing your own organic produce all year? Or perhaps you want to save money on plant buying or have more hours to potter away amidst greenery every week? No matter your reasons for installing a greenhouse, you will find plenty of benefits to be had from this particular type of gardening.

However, if you’re new to buying and using a greenhouse, you might be scratching your head, wondering how to go about the process of gardening via this type of structure effectively. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can do to make your project a success.

Choose the Most Appropriate Greenhouse

The first step in greenhouse growing is to decide which greenhouse you’d like to use. Because everyone has different needs and goals when it comes to gardening, it is necessary to think about what is important to you. There are all sorts of designs and styles to choose from these days, from traditional to modern options, and something for every budget. You might be keen to buy a greenhouse kit from an established vendor, for instance, or you may prefer to splurge on a custom-designed product made just for you.

No matter your tastes or budget, start by contemplating your gardening interests. For example, someone who wants to grow a lot of fresh produce will have different requirements than a person focused on cacti and succulents. To choose the perfect greenhouse, cater to the needs of the particular types of plants you want to grow. Consider elements such as insulation, heating, humidifying, dehumidifying, artificial lighting, and ventilation.

When it comes to purchasing a greenhouse, try to find one that is modular or that has an easily movable internal infrastructure. This way, you can make adjustments to the layout as your plants go through different life cycles and/or as you start to grow more. A flexible greenhouse will be scalable and more suitable for your needs over the long term.

Something else to consider is whether you want a free-standing, walk-in greenhouse with four sides (or more if you choose a geodesic dome style) and one or more doors, which can be erected in any spot; or a lean-to product which will be positioned against a building or wall.

Consider the type of glazing you want on your greenhouse, too. Typically, there is either glass (this can be standard, which will break into sharp points if broken, or safety glass which will shatter more like a windscreen) or polycarbonate. The latter glazing won’t break, so could be a better option if you have children in your household who might send balls flying around the yard regularly.

Select the Right Site for Your Greenhouse

Once you have chosen a greenhouse, it’s time to find the best site for it. Keep in mind that the optimum location is one that gets plenty of sunlight on every side. Steer clear of placing your greenhouse near large trees or structures, too (think buildings, walls, hedges, and fences), as these can cast too many shadows.

You also need to place your greenhouse on a firm foundation if it is not one that goes directly over the soil. You will want to use something solid and well-built, made of a material such as brick, concrete, recycled plastic lumber, or timber. Think about the likely maintenance, moisture, and rotting risks when you select this component.


Photo by Dean Drobot.

Keep Pests Out

Some people think greenhouses are the perfect way to keep pests out. Unfortunately, though, they can actually end up being a breeding ground for plant pests such as leafminers, mealybugs, aphids, fungus gnats, thrips, and spider mites.

While a greenhouse will never be 100 percent pest free, there are some things you can do to reduce the risks of infestations. For starters, when you buy woody plants, particularly things like gardenias, always check to ensure they’re clear of pests before you introduce them to your greenhouse.

It helps to place newly-purchased plants into an area within the space that’s slightly quarantined because non-flying pests won’t be so likely to spread around your greenhouse garden. It is also beneficial to bring in some biological pest controls to keep undesirable insects in check. You could use ladybugs, for instance, to fight against a problem with aphids.

Clean and Maintain Your Greenhouse

Lastly, your greenhouse growing will proceed better if you remember to keep the space clean, tidy and well-maintained. Wipe down surfaces occasionally with a natural cleaner such as vinegar, as this helps to keep bacteria, insect eggs, and spores at bay.

In addition, it’s good practice to do a thorough emptying out and cleaning at least once a year, generally in summer. Remove everything from the greenhouse so that lingering insects will leave after the enclosure has dried out and been emptied, and do a scrub down of the entire space. This will not only help your plants but also keep the glass and framing of the greenhouse in better condition.

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