Having the growth and progress of your plants hampered by weather and season can be quite challenging. Growing in a garden where you have almost no control over temperature and pests may not bode well for your plants. However, there’s a perfect solution in greenhouse. But you need to learn how to use a greenhouse for beginners. In this article, we will discuss all there’s to know about greenhouse growing.
Benefits of Growing with Greenhouse
A greenhouse is a “walled-in” structure usually surrounded by plastic sheeting or any material that can allow penetration of light and circulation of air. It has several benefits it offers to growers, especially beginners who have struggled with outdoor growing. Below, we will enumerate how it benefits plants and growers:
- It reduces seasonal and weather issues
- It provides a comfortable growing area
- It encourages the right moisture for smooth growth of plants
- It extends length of growing season
- It allows proper temperature control
Go-to Plants for Greenhouse Beginners
Before you embark on growing in a greenhouse as a beginner, it is important to start with certain easy-to-grow plants to make it a seamless learning process for you. Below, we will highlight some simple plants that thrive better than others to make your first experience as less challenging as possible:
- Leafy greens e.g. lettuce
A Greenhouse Guide for Beginners
There are many factors to consider when using a greenhouse to grow your plants as a beginner. These factors can make or mar the progress of your plants so it’s of utmost importance that you learn how to maintain optimum conditions in such situations.
1. Starting Seeds
The greenhouse offers an excellent benefit of extended growing season, allowing you an early start during any season. In fact, there are certain vegetables you can grow all year round and get optimum results. However, it is important that you draw a growing schedule for when to plant different seeds.
Before embarking on the preparation; invest in containers, acquire sterile soil (they resist pest infestation), acquire fertilizer for the soil, learn how to water specific plants, know the climatic requirement of the plants you want to grow and know the amount of sunlight your greenhouse gets.
Also, it is important that you plant more seeds than you may expect to grow because not all seeds will grow. Even not all those that grow will produce impressive, healthy plants.
2. Temperature Control
Yes, by using a greenhouse, you must have been controlling the temperature of your growing area already. However, the control is not absolute and it’s on you to ensure a conducive temperature for the proper growth of your plants. You definitely don’t want the greenhouse to be too cold or too hot for your plants, hence the need to acquire some devices to help you.
During winter, you need a heater to help you extend your growing season. This is because your plants will need a warmer atmosphere to survive. The heater can either be a gas or electric heater. It should be able to sustain the level of required temperature throughout the day and night. A programmable heater is most preferable because then, it can adapt to changing temperature.
For beginners, we advise an electric heater because it is easier to install and more economical. With a small 120V heater, you can successfully heat a small greenhouse. However, a large greenhouse will require 240+ volts heater. It is important that they are equipped with a reliable and waterproof thermostat.
A gas heater, on the other hand, also works well but less economical. With this option, you’ll need to deal with added stress of creating a proper ventilation for optimum supply of air.
Reference article: How to Heat a Greenhouse without Electricity?
Meanwhile, to extend your growing season through summer months, it is important to maintain a constant temperature in your greenhouse. Cooling down a greenhouse can prove difficult because it is essentially built to trap heat. Hence, it is very important to constantly check the temperature inside the greenhouse during hotter months. Learning the temperature of your greenhouse can inform you on the next steps to take to ensure the survival of your plants.
If your greenhouse regularly overheats, an evaporative cooling system is your go-to option. This system will help to regulate temperature and humidity, returning moisture to the greenhouse.
Reference article: How to Cool A Grow Tent?
Ideally, the temperature inside a greenhouse should be about 80 to 85° F. So it is quite important to keep the internal temperature constant. You need to ventilate your greenhouse to keep heat from destroying your plants during the summer. During this season, endeavor to keep both the roof and wall vents open. Through the walls, cool air will come in while hot air will leave through the roof, thus providing consistent fresh air.
Reference article: How to Set up Grow Tent Ventilation – A complete Guide
There’s a huge chance you won’t have the need for extra lighting during late spring and summer. However, during late autumn and winter, you’ll definitely require a lighting system to supplement natural light for the good of your plants as it is vital for photosynthesis. Plants’ demand for light increases as they develop so the place of light in their development is not one to be relegated.
There are options to consider in this regard if you want an effective lighting. The most popular ones are LED grow lights and fluorescent lamp strips. These high output systems are popular with growers because they produce full spectrum light which is great for photosynthesis. They are also energy efficient and have the ability to cover much larger area.
Ideally, plants need water to develop and grow as it is vital to their survival. However, it’s important that you don’t overwater or underwater your plant. Both situations can have adverse effects on the health of your plants. Watering techniques depend on each plant and it’s important that you learn and understand the requirement of the plants you’re growing. This understanding will help you to not overwater or underwater your plants as required.
Also, you can identify the need for watering of plants by checking their compost. If compost appears or feels dry and dusty without moisture, then watering is required. In this case, water the roots of the plant appropriately. Note that plants tend to require more water during summer than during winter.
6. Pest Control
The setting of a greenhouse encourages the breeding of pests because of the humid environment. It is important to always check for pests and identify them early before damage is done. Once you identify them, you should find the best pest control strategies to get rid of them, thus keeping your plants safe. The following are the popular pests to look out for:
Meanwhile, cleaning and proper pruning are key to controlling pests to an extent.
Greenhouse is a smart choice for growing and it offers an array of benefits to growers, beginners inclusive. It is important that a beginner is familiar with certain factors that determine greenhouse growing and how they can be optimized. In learning how to use a greenhouse for beginners, you should plant seeds correctly, control temperature, use the correct lighting system, water correctly and also control pests.