These are some of the elements that must be considered in order to really get the maximum potential out of your greenhouse or sunroom: the type of greenhouse you want whether it be a cold house, portable greenhouse, hobby greenhouse a greenhouse kit or a large or a mini greenhouse, the greenhouse construction and it’s foundation type, which greenhouse equipment you will need, which type of greenhouse covering or glazing is best suited to you, and the type of watering, humidity control, heating and air circulation systems that are best suited to your sunroom or greenhouse gardening needs.
First Decide Whether you Want to have Cold House or a Heated Greenhouse.
A cold house is the simplest of greenhouses, it is not equipped with any artificial means of heat and thus the growing season is shortened when the outside temperature drops below freezing. It is not possible to grow frost sensitive plants between late fall and the middle of spring unless you provide heat (which would not make it a cold house!). A cold house does extend the growing season from that of the outdoors by trapping the heat from the sun during the day. And it provides a cozy respite for you to work away from the elements of wind and rain, it also protects plants from these same elements too. When you install a heater into your cold house it becomes a true greenhouse and it transforms the hobby of gardening into a year-round hobby. The minimum temperature required to grow greenhouse plants through the winter is 45° F (7.2°C), so be sure to allow for this extra cost for heating to be included in your monthly budget. Also, be sure that when you begin planning for your greenhouse construction that you build it as near as possible to your house as this will reduce costs for digging and installation of electrical wires (and plumbing if you need that too). It is also better for quick access during the winter months if you have your greenhouse closer to your house.
Watering Needs for Greenhouse Plants
As it does not rain inside greenhouses watering is a very important thing for greenhouse owners to remember! But, watering inside a green house is not just as simple as just watering your greenhouse plants everyday. Within soil there are small open air pores that roots depend on for supplying them with nutritious gases. When you water your plants these small air spaces get filled up with water and it, in effect, causes suffocation for roots. When roots suffocate, plants wilt and the most common reaction by gardeners for wilting plants is more watering! Just remember that the watering needs inside a greenhouse are different from the watering needs of your outside garden. Because the green house environment is enclosed a fair amount of moisture does get trapped and thus, less watering is usually required. The best rule for watering plants in your greenhouse or sunroom is: always check the soil before you water, if the soil is dry then you should go ahead and water. And, remember that plants, just like people, do not like being watered with cold water. For plants the ideal water temperature is between 65°F and 80°F (18.3°C and 26.7°C). Anything above 80°F (26.7°C) is too hot!
There are many different alternatives available for watering your greenhouse plants. Among your choices are irrigation systems, drip system, misters, water sensors and a gardener’s best friend the good old watering can. Irrigation systems are wonderful for those periods of time that you plan on being away; there is nothing worse than coming home to dead plants in your green house because your best friend forgot to water them while you were away! A good selection of all of these watering systems is available at online gardening and greenhouse supply stores.
Selecting the Right Seeds and Plants for Your Greenhouse
When it comes to selecting seeds and plants for your greenhouse the biggest deciding factor is your personal choice! You will need to set up your greenhouse interior to accommodate the types of plants that you choose though. For example if you choose to grow plants that require a trellis you will have to install some trellises. Some examples of plants that grow well with a trellis are peas, runner beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, winter squash, nasturtiums, passionflower, bougainvillea and sweet peas. Some crops are harvested only once and then they are done; for example onions, carrots and radishes. Other crops that need harvesting many times; for example leaf lettuce, strawberries, broccoli and brussell sprouts should be placed in easy to reach places, like at the edges of beds.
Buy a good book on greenhouse gardening so as to learn about the different temperature, water, humidity and pH level requirements of different plants and then make your final selections of seeds and plants. A greenhouse gardener’s book will also help you with the best layouts for your plants and seedlings.
Cid Bus has been an executive in the Hospitality Industry for 15 years. Also a graduate of the NY Restaurant school,and co owner of a catering company. A competitive long distance trail runner x-country skiier, and “green thumber” they can be tracked down at their bed and breakfast Fish Creek House in Southwest Montana