As easy as it may be to take your greenhouse for granted, maximizing its growth potential requires some simple tips you can put into practice immediately.
Soak the greenhouse with water every morning before entering, to add some humidity into the atmosphere and help plants like cucumbers flourish quicker.
Install yellow sticky traps throughout the greenhouse to monitor insect activity and keep problematic pests such as aphids under control.
1. Organize it into Zones
Cleanliness in a greenhouse is key to creating a safe environment. An organized space makes working easier, while decreasing risks from diseases or pests spreading between plants.
Organising your greenhouse into zones can help maximize its space. By creating distinct areas for different activities and keeping an inventory list handy, this allows you to make better use of its resources.
Create the necessary zones by using shelving, staging or partitions. Shelving is particularly effective as it maximizes surface area while still making a stylish addition to the greenhouse when powder coated to match. Shelves can also serve to store tools, flowerpots and seed packets easily while providing easy access for plants requiring regular watering – additionally small tools and watering cans can even be hung from them to free up shelf space!
2. Add a Running Source of Water
Water is essential in a greenhouse. Not only does it aid with cleaning, but its presence also enables easier access to plants for maintenance without needing to climb ladders or reach across roof panels.
If your greenhouse is kit or site-built, consider adding gutters and funneling rainwater into a barrel (or multiple barrels) within it for use as plant watering – this provides an economical alternative to commercial fertilizers or pesticides.
Many gardeners opt to stage their crops in the greenhouse to maximize space, and protect delicate vegetables that require different temperatures from frost damage during the winter season. Staging can also provide a convenient way of distinguishing hot-tolerant from cold-tolerant crops and can protect those sensitive plants that might otherwise succumb to frost damage.
3. Install Fluorescent Lights
Electrical upgrades to your greenhouse, especially small ones, provide endless opportunities. They allow you to use supplemental lighting for seedlings and cuttings, plug in heating mats and fans, run a mist system, power a vacuum cleaner and much more – yet only when installed by qualified electricians can these benefits truly be realized.
Fluorescent lighting can help maximize the use of greenhouse space. Other forms of lighting, like incandescent bulbs, give off too much heat which could overheat your plants.
By installing partitions in your greenhouse, you can create zones and alter the climate for different plant groupings – for instance okra and spinach can both grow well here! Plus you could add seating areas so it becomes an enjoyable place for you and others to visit.
4. Add a Timer
For optimal greenhouse cultivation of vegetables, herbs and fruit it’s essential that the temperature and humidity remain optimal. A timer provides an easy and cost effective solution by automatically turning on and off fans, drip irrigation systems or misters when necessary.
An awning is another fantastic addition that will help maximize the value of your greenhouse by increasing sunlight levels. This is particularly essential if you reside in an environment with grey winter days as this can significantly impact growth.
Add an extra flair to your greenhouse by hanging air dried flowers from its rafters – this stunning feature adds character and colour! Lack of ventilation is often one of the primary factors causing plants to struggle, making a proper ventilation system crucial.
5. Add Shade Cloth
Many greenhouse kits include an internal shade cloth to protect plants during sudden heatwaves. Internal shade cloth works by absorbing solar rays and turning them into warmth while blocking harmful UV rays from entering your greenhouse.
Choose your shade cloth density depending on what you intend to grow in your greenhouse. Tomatoes and other vegetables benefit from 30% shade, while leafy greens such as chard flourish in an environment with 50%. Orchids, ferns and tropical houseplants should receive higher amounts of shade.
Cut your shade cloth to size and attach it to your greenhouse using clips or bungee cords, making sure it lays taut to avoid sagging. Bungee cords could also help secure it to the frame, so when temperatures cool off you can easily take down and store away this layer of protection when not needed.
6. Add a Door
An enclosed greenhouse allows you to grow exotic tropical plants year-round and harvest fresh, chemical-free vegetables. Furthermore, spending time in the sun has many psychological and physiological health benefits; especially helpful in combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you live in an area prone to windy conditions, make sure that your greenhouse is adequately braced. Take note of any bolts on collar ties, truss supports, purlins or foundation brackets to make sure that they do not loosen over time.
One way to increase efficiency in your greenhouse is by installing doors at both ends. This will improve workflow and airflow within, thus reducing plant stress. It’s an ideal option for schools and community gardens alike; DIYers may find this project manageable; our 26′ and 33′ Growing Dome greenhouse kits already include two doors! Check with the building department first before proceeding.
7. Add a Window
Greenhouses require ventilation, which is achieved via roof vents or series of windows which can be manually opened at specific times or automatic ones that open at set intervals to move hot air away and bring in cooler breezes.
This option may be more costly but easy to install and can help save energy by keeping the greenhouse warmer during winter. To make sure this happens effectively, ensure there are no holes or gaps where drafts could enter – these could all reduce energy usage significantly!
Consider planting things that are hard to come by locally or are expensive such as baby lettuce and kale greens, spices or rare vegetables so as to reduce trips to the store while simultaneously cutting environmental costs.
8. Add an Extension Pole
At its heart, greenhouse use is all about making sure that plants receive enough sunlight. This is especially crucial on cloudy days when light levels may drop significantly. One simple way of adding additional illumination is through fluorescent lighting installations – fluorescent bulbs come in multiple bulb types so you can find one suitable to your needs and timers are also excellent tools that allow automatic on/off lighting control.
One way of increasing the sunlight reaching your plants is to add shade cloth. You can do this by rolling out green or dark-coloured fabric over the windows of your greenhouse, which helps lower summer temperatures and prevent scorching. Install a min/max thermometer so you can monitor how low or high temperatures become during the day.
9. Add a Heat Source
Heating a greenhouse requires considering multiple options, with electric heaters being one of the more popular choices due to their built-in thermostat and ease of regulation. Solar panels may also be useful if you wish to become more self-reliant and reduce dependence on finite fossil fuels.
Homesteaders often utilize straw bales, rocks, soil and other materials as passive solar heating devices. These materials absorb solar energy during daylight hours before dissipating it overnight into heat that stays in their surroundings.
An indoor greenhouse is an excellent way to cultivate plants year-round. By following these straightforward tips, you can ensure that your favorite crops receive optimal care – and who knows? Perhaps some delicious harvests await!