This is an excellent article from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse magazine regarding the need for consistency in your greenhouse environment. In order to have the best, consistent growth it is important to have the best, consistent climate. Although I must say that I find this a little bit more on the advanced end of greenhouse growing. I do not suggest that someone jump in with every known greenhouse accessory when initially purchasing their greenhouse. I recommend getting a ventilation system, as it is an integral part of the building. You can retrofit them, but it is easier to install them when you are putting up your structure. A heater is also a good accessory to order with your greenhouse. As far as some of the other systems are involved, I suggest experimenting and finding out what you need rather than outlaying a bunch of money for accessories that your climate or plants may not need. Unless you are an experienced orchid grower, for example, you will know what humidity, etc your plants will need. Then it would be a wise decision to get your greenhouse set up with these systems at the beginning.
Consistency is the key to unlocking the maximum potential of an indoor garden or greenhouse. Plants thrive on consistency. Plants respond best to light energy, atmospheric conditions, and nutrients when they are kept as consistent as possible. Like people, plants burn sugars to provide energy for growth. In contrast to people, plants have the unique ability to create those sugars from sunlight. The creation and consumption of these sugars are actually part of a chemical equation. In other words, there are countless chemical reactions occurring at all times within and around the plant that contribute to healthy development.
When atmospheric conditions, lighting and nutrient levels are at optimal levels, the plant has everything it needs to make those chemical reactions happen without interruption. When the chemical reactions can occur without interruption, the plant’s growth rate is maximized. Maximizing the potential of a particular crop is the goal of just about every indoor horticulturist or greenhouse hobbyist. In order to maximize the potential of an indoor garden or hobby greenhouse, a horticulturist should closely monitor the consistency of the garden’s temperature, humidity, lighting and nutrient solution. Each of these factors has a significant effect on the chemical reactions that contribute to plant growth.
Even though this picture was taken several years ago, it won’t be long before many of us will be seeing this as we look out our windows and long for summer. I know it is a few months yet, but now is the perfect time to prepare your greenhouse for winter. It is still warm enough that you can move any plants remaining inside the greenhouse to the outdoors. This will allow you to give your greenhouse a thorough cleaning. Be sure to use a mild disinfectant soap to clean with. Get the mold out of every nook and cranny. I know that we all keep our greenhouses relatively clean, but this is just something that happens with all of the humidity. Check any corners or places where there may be potential leaks and be sure to seal them up. Clean your benches if you have any. Repair or rework your flooring, depending on what you have in place there. Check all lighting and electrical systems. If need be, get a certified electrician in to help you with this. You can never be too safe. Same with your greenhouse heater. Whether you have electric, natural gas or propane, be sure to check your greenhouse heat source and be sure that it is properly connected with no leaks. Also, turn it on and make sure that it works. You may have to go out later in the evening as the temperatures drop to try this, but trust me, it is worth the time and effort to do this. In fact, I think that checking your heating system is the most important part of getting your greenhouse ready for winter. I cannot tell you how many times I have received panicked calls that it is going to freeze tonight and my heater won’t come on. There is just no way to get parts or a new heater to you fast enough. So, even though we are still enjoying summer time temperatures, think about the winter and your greenhouse now.
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.
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.
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.
Building a Polyfilm Greenhouse? Not sure how to attach the film to your greenhouse frame? This video discusses the use of batten tape or base and wiggle wire systems. They are both excellent for wood frames. The wiggle wire system is good for metal frames as well. As always, we hope you find this edition of “The Greenhouse Minute” informative and helpful.
Greenhouse with Solar Powered Roof Vents and Side Vents
Of course the answer to this question is yes, you do need ventilation for your greenhouse. But what if your greenhouse is in a location with no electricity? There are several options which will alleviate this problem. The simplest thing to add is roof vents or side vents. A lot of the greenhouse kits will come with these either as standard equipment or as an option. If you are building your own greenhouse, you would just frame them out using the same material as your greenhouse and cover them with the same material as well. To simplify matters even more, I recommend using solar powered openers with these. This is an arm that is operated by a wax cylinder. It is a pretty basic piece of equipment. It functions on the principles of contraction and expansion. When it is warm the wax will expand and cause the arm to open. When it is cool the wax will contract and cause the arm to pull shut. There is no exact temperature setting on these, but there is a thumbscrew at the end which can be used to adjust the opening and closing temperatures. They are typically able to open between 65 and 75 degrees F, depending on the manufacturer. They will definitely simplify your life during the spring and fall months. No more getting up in the morning and opening them before you head out to work. Then, if you get home and forget to close them at night, the results could be devastating.
Intake Shutter with Solar Powered Opener
If you are building your own greenhouse, or need ventilation in an existing greenhouse, our solar powered shutters are perfect. They will supply natural ventilation for your greenhouse. They come in 6 sizes and require no electricity. The 4 smaller sizes may be fitted into a polyfilm greenhouse without any further framing. Or, they may be installed in a framed out opening the same as the 2 larger sizes. These shutters are perfect for just about any outbuilding, not just for greenhouses.
Polyfilm Greenhouse with Roll up Side Curtains
A final suggestion for natural ventilation is roll up side curtains. These are typically found in polyfilm greenhouses only, and come with a manual hand crank.
In conclusion, not having electricity in an area where you want to put your greenhouse should not be a deterrent. Use any of these systems, or any combination of these systems to help ventilate your greenhouse. Also, if you don’t like any of these suggestions, another way to go with this is to use solar panels to supply electricity to your motorized ventilation systems.