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Do It Yourself Hydroponic Systems

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System

DWC Hydroponic System

This one is for all of you d-i-yers out there. This article is from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse Magazine. It discusses the different types of hydroponic systems and how to set up your own hydroponics in your hobby greenhouse. I have owned a greenhouse full of hydroponic systems, experimenting with the different types to see which I liked the best. I think I preferred the NFT system. We used it to grow basil. It was as simple as could be.

Do-It-Yourself Hydroponics

Experimenting with hydroponic gardening is a fun and productive way for greenhouse hobbyists to expand their horticultural knowledge. The term “hydroponics” is a general name that encompasses all methods of soilless gardening. In other words, there is a multitude of ways to garden hydroponically. However, don’t let the seemingly infinite amount of hydroponic systems deter you from giving hydroponics a try. One of the best ways for greenhouse hobbyists to break into hydroponic gardening is by making a homemade hydroponic system.

 

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Want to Extend Your Harvest Season This Fall?

Slitted Garden Low Tunnel

Garden Row Cover

The low tunnels or garden row covers are perfect to extend your season at the beginning and the end of the cycle. They come with a slitted cover as shown above, or with a perforated cover. They extend your harvest season by offering frost protection of 2 to 4 degrees F. To harvest, you simply need to pull the cover up and gather your crop. Then, just stretch the cover taught again and refasten the side. In the spring they will assist you in planting early, even up to 10 days before suggested planting dates. They will help to warm the soil and protect young seedlings from harsh spring winds. The perforated covers will offer the most warmth, with the slitted covers offering the best ventilation. These covers are only meant to be left on your garden for 3 – 4 weeks. But, I have personally used these in a different manner. In the South, we plant our strawberries in the fall. We usually have to apply and remove frost protection for brief periods of time. Last year I put the low tunnel cover over my strawberries for the entire winter. I used the slitted. The biggest problem was in the spring. No bees or wind could get in to pollinate the plants. I ended up using a small paint brush and pollinating them myself. The strawberries were yummy. Actually, the covers turned out to be much sturdier than I originally thought. We have some serious winds in the winter. So, get a head start, harvest longer, or experiment with your own system with these covers.

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Not sure how much greenhouse you need?

Curved Eave Polyarbonate Greenhouse

Curved Eave Polycarbonate Greenhouse

You have dreamed for years about owning a greenhouse. Now the time has come. What size do you get? Most people have problems making this decision. I think the best way to start is to think about how you are going to use the greenhouse. If you have plants that you are going to overwinter, I suggest laying them out in your yard in a configuration similar to what you will do in your greenhouse. Then you just measure outside the plants and voila, you have the answer to this question. If you are growing in raised beds, decide what size beds you will have and draw them out on a piece of paper allowing for adequate walkways. The same would apply if you are using systems such as hydroponic systems. Find out their size and draw them in a configuration you like on a piece of paper. When considering raised beds and/or greenhouse staging, you need to be sure that they are not so wide that you are unable to maintain the outside plants properly. I suggest not using any wider than a 3′ bench for benching that will be against a wall. If you are using a bench in the center aisle, it is OK to use a 4′ wide bench. Keep in mind that most of us will be comfortable with a 3′ wide walkway, so be sure to draw them in as well. I do not recommend even trying to put a center bench in a 12′ greenhouse. Lots of people try and I don’t think they are too happy with the outcome. If I would do this, I would only use 2′ wide benches to ensure adequate walkways.  I would get at least a 16′ width for a center bench. The best thing to remember is that we are all collectors. You know, that perfect color plant, an unusual vegetable, etc. Don’t buy a greenhouse you will be crammed into with your current plants. Always allow a little room for expansion. If you need any help with this decision, feel free to contact us at Advance Greenhouses.

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Clear View Vinyl Covering

Clear View Vinyl Glazing

Clear View Vinyl Greenhouse Covering

We are happy to announce the newest product addition to our greenhouse glazing line. This covering is a vinyl material that has a crystal clear, glass like clarity. It is great for commercial operations that would benefit from the customers being able to see clearly inside the greenhouse. Every fall it seems that I get a couple of calls from people wanting to “seal up” their screened in back porches for the winter. But, they do not want the semi transparency of our 6 mil, 4 year polyfilm. This is a perfect covering for this purpose. It is a tough, durable 16 mil covering. Of course all of the greenhouse glazing materials we offer have UV protection. The life expectancy of this material is 4 years. It comes in 54″ widths and 3 different lengths of rolls.

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Now is the time to order your greenhouse for fall delivery

Order Your Greenhouse Now for Fall Delivery

Don’t be left out in the cold this year.

The same thing happens every year about this time. We are all still enjoying the warm weather of summer, getting the kids ready for school, and we forget about our beloved plants. I can’t tell you how many times in the past that Tom and I were installing greenhouses in the cold of the winter because they didn’t get ordered in time. Typically a greenhouse that is manufactured for you will take from 4 – 6 weeks for delivery. In the fall these lead times become extended, causing delays from the expected delivery times. This not only applies to greenhouses, it applies to polycarbonate sheets as well. They are typically delivered in 1 – 2 weeks, but in the fall they will take a week or sometimes longer past these times. So, even though it is really hard to think about it right now, if you are considering purchasing or building a greenhouse this fall, now is the time to start your decision process and get an order placed. Trust me, this I know from years of experience.

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