Anyone can be an expert at greenhouse gardening. As long as you’ve got a greenhouse and you’re keen on gardening, this guide will take you through a step by step process of what you’ll need to look out for.
Basic Plant Types
For beginners, you can start with these simple plants that are known to thrive easier than others. We recommend starting small, before moving on to plants that require more skills.
You can consider plants such as tomatoes, peas, strawberries, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and garlic.
Before you kick off your greenhouse gardening journey, you will need to prepare plain level seed trays or hydroponic trays. Depending on your seed’s needs, you will need to prepare their respective trays. It is crucial that you take note of the dates each seed is planted and label them accordingly. This label will help you keep track of the seed’s progress and to recognize the plants with ease. You will need to conduct a little research here – finding out the germination rate and the quality of seedlings.
Hybrid seeds are common in most gardening stores and are easily obtained. These seeds are the product of two different plants and are referred to as F-1 by most people. Hybrid seeds are popular as they can be harvested earlier with better yields and are able to tide through pests, diseases, and most ecological stress. However, they can be a little more pricey compared to other types of seeds.
Heirloom plants are gardeners’ first choice. They are generally stable, long-lasting and can produce a variety of plants for future cultivation. On the flip side, if you identify any unusual plants, they have to be removed immediately. Additionally, you might not get the same vigor that exists in hybrid species.
Temperature control is something that every greenhouse gardener has to perfect. Apart from understanding the processes that happen within each greenhouse, you will also need to understand how your plants react to temperature changes. Having a greenhouse puts you at an advantage. However, it is recommended that you get a heater to extend your growing season in colder months. In summer, you will need to do the opposite and keep the place cooler. Plants are very sensitive to temperature change. In order to keep your plants thriving, you will need to adjust the temperature accordingly.
Greenhouses are great for temperature changes. However, the amount of light is not something that greenhouses are equipped to do. In order to encourage photosynthesis in your plants, you will need to attempt to extend daylight. Depending on the types of plants you are growing, you will then need to find a suitable light for that particular plant. For example, LED lights and fluorescent strips are great for covering areas. If you reside in the North and have limited access to sunlight, we recommend using supplementing glow lights.
Every plant is unique and requires different amounts of water. It is crucial for you to understand the needs of each plant you’re growing so that you don’t under or overwater them. If you find yourself overwatering, you can consider installing a drip system to control the amount of water that enters the soil. Overwatering tends to strip the soil of its nutrients. Make sure that the roots receive sufficient water, not the leaves.
If you have the budget to spare, you can consider getting more accessories on top of those mentioned above. Keeping in mind your plants’ needs, you can then be sure of which additional accessories you might need. Some useful accessories include a shelving system, fans to help with ventilation, thermometer to track the temperatures, or shade cloths to regulate sunlight.
Pest Control for Greenhouse Starters
Pests love greenhouses due to their humidity and warmth. It is important that you identify any potential pests areas and solve them early to prevent you from losing any of your precious plants. Some common pests include:
Aphids are known for filling leaves and generally gather under them. To prevent them from harming your plants, you will need regular pruning and cleanliness habits.
Generally brown or black, these pests leave quite a bit of damage on your plants. You can prevent them by installing screens on vents.
Essentially red worms (as derived from its name), its hemoglobin count allows it to thrive in water even with low oxygen content.
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails are drawn to areas with high moisture content. Make sure that you don’t leave unnecessary weeds around as these are optimal areas for slugs and snails to reside in.
Common Greenhouse Gardening Mistakes
While greenhouse gardening is something that everyone can do, it still requires some practice before you can perfect the craft. In order to help you through this journey, here are some common mistakes you can avoid:
Forgetting to adjust the temperature according to your plants’ needs is a rookie mistake that many people do – beginners and experts alike. Sometimes, it might slip your mind to regulate the temperature at intervals. To prevent this from happening, get your greenhouse a thermometer, and set a reminder for yourself to check it regularly.
Plants are extremely sensitive to humidity levels in a greenhouse. Too much or too little humidity can greatly change the rate at which these plants thrive. If you find your greenhouse being too dry, consider getting a misting system.
Ventilation is crucial when growing plants. Cut your plants off from that and you might risk your plants withering. Having fans or roof vents can help alleviate this problem.
Never add oil potting soil to your soil mixture as they can carry unwanted pests. Bases need a mixture of soil types on top of the basic and occasional compost and fertilizer.
Never position your greenhouse near trees as their roots can get in the way, feeding on nutrients and moisture originally meant for your plants.
At last, you can finally start your exciting greenhouse gardening journey! Having a greenhouse allows you to fully control the way your plants grow and make sure they get the optimal nutrients. Follow these tips and you’re good to go!