Growing Plants in a Greenhouse

Growing plants in a greenhouse will show you about starting a greenhouse, and how to use your countryside greenhouse year round.

I'll be taking you through all aspects of growing plants and vegetables in a greenhouse hydroponically, and traditionally with organics.

We will look at how I built my greenhouse, and how I heat it year round with my

outdoor wood stove.

I want to show you how simple it can be to produce all your favorite plants and vegetables, not just once a year without a big effort or expense, but on a weekly or even daily basis all year round no matter what the climate.


growing plants in a greenhouse, countryside greenhouse


All you have to do to turn your plant palace into a dynamic package of productivity is; give your greenery plenty of light,air,and space,administer water wisely and feed your hungry charges with nourishing "manure tea".

Starting a greenhouse was one of my best ideas yet, it is a big part of my country life and very important part of my country foods.


Back To The Basics

A lot of people are confused about the complexities of hothouse cultivation. If you have an unsure understanding of the many published "rules and regulations" and it is keeping you from growing plants in a greenhouse, just forget them!

Besides, by doing without the often recommended chemical fertilizers, sterile soil mixes, sprays, fumigants, systemics, and such, you will find that you have a good amount of spare cash left over for more essential items such as plants and pots.

You will also discover that disease and subnormal performance are more likely than not, merely symptoms of improper culture, which shouldn't bother the gardener who zero's in on the basics!

SOIL, AIR, LIGHT, and SPACE

First of all grow only plants that are proven winners or have been bred for vigor, productivity, and resistance to disease (in many cases you will have to do some experimenting to find such varieties, but other greenhouse users can often give you best bet advice).

Species that don't do well unless they're constantly fed, or plants that tend to succumb to aphids in spite of good growingconditions should be classified as "unfit" and removed from your list.

In order to provide your chosen vegetables and flowers with good soil, make a mixture of rich garden loam and compost...or one consisting of one third each of loam, compost, and peat moss. Then to each prepared bushel, add a six-inch potful of aged manure and a four-inch potful of bone meal or wood ashes. If there is clay in your loam, put some sand in the mixture too.

Next, be sure to give your greenhouse tenants a breath of fresh air...often! Insect pests, as well as fungi, mildew, and diseases just love to attack plants that suffer from a close atmosphere, so make sure that your greenhouse is well ventilated (while of course, maintaining the desired temperature) and you will keep 'trouble at bay'.

Also remember that full sun on your hothouse means full production...and can cut down the the need for supplemental winter heat.

Space is equally important. Vegetation needs room to grow. If you notice the leaves of adjacent plants touching, it's best tomove them away from each other. (People who grow their hothouse flora only in pots will find this task easy but those who plant directly in the bench will have to either thin or plan ahead).


TEMPERATURES MADE SIMPLE

One of the main concerns of any greenhouse gardener is to avoid extremes and sudden changes of temperature in the growing area.So watch for those still, clear winter days that can make your greenhouse thermometer reading soar in minutes! On such occasionsyou may have to ventilate, even if the outside temperature is below freezing. Warm weather always calls for maximum ventilation - all vents should be wide open, exhaust fan on full, and the door ajar, if necessary.

During the winter months, a minimum night temperature of 45-50*F is best, unless you are growing tropical plants. Even then, the usual 60*F minimum may not be necessary, because a gardenia, for instance, will winter perfectly in a cool greenhouse (it willsimply go dormant and wait for the return of warmer weather before blooming again). Besides, cooler temperatures favor a wide range of flowers and vegetables such as lettuce, herbs, geraniums, cyclamens and many annuals.

FOOD AND WATER

Do not let your plants go dry (unless you're growing succulents or cacti) but don't try to maintain a regular watering scheduleeither. Because there are so many reasons that your plants can dry out, simply check the pots often. When the surface soil is dry to touch, water them thoroughly. Dormant or inactive plants, on the other hand, should be kept barely moist. It's really quite simple and your indoor crops will reward you for the individual attention you've given by growing bigger and better!

I've found that supplemental feedings are not necessary for any plant that's been recently potted in good soil. In well-established plants, weak or slow growth may be attributed to either; the roots have filled the pot and require more room, or the plant needs additional nutrients. If your plants require additional nutrients, you may wish to offer the patient a "spot of tea".

Here's how:

Fill a large, leak-proof, rot-proof pail with water, and add a generous quantity of manure. After the mix has been allowed to soak for several days, pour the liquid into your watering container through a strainer. Dilute it, if necessary, until it's the color of week tea and give your plants a normal watering of this "super soup".

If possible, it's best to give your hothouse residents "tea" on the morning of a bright day. Skip such feedings in the middle of long spells of dull or cold weather, and don't feed a dormant or ailing plant (that would be like asking a sick person to eat a big meal).

ATTITUDES AND INSECTS

Most of the six-and eight-legged creatures, and other so called pests, that inhabit your greenhouse are simply living out their life cycles and aren't really all that interested in your plants. No doubt you'll spy aphids now and then, but if you're sticking to the basic rules, you aren't likely to be faced with an aphid buildup or takeover. Should a plant suddenly become infested, just remove it to other quarters and rinse the bugs off, with diluted dish soap and water(assuming the plant is worth the trouble). Keep it isolated and watch it carefully.

If the problem returns, get rid of the plant...because you can be sure there is something wrong with it. (But don't discard it, or any diseased greenery, right outside the door. In fact it's a good idea to eliminate weeds, both inside and outside the structure, so wind and people won't be so likely to bring problems in with them).

White flies an organically managed greenhouse. Slugs will seek plants that are feeble and trying to grow in poor conditions. A slug's territory is usually confined to the dingy area such as under the feet of a heavy bench. Search such hiding spots and destroy the these pests where you can. Earwigs may be trapped underneath strategically placed rags, where you will find the little pests hiding during the day.

Tiny creatures that hop when disturbed are harmless springtails. If you have an infestation of thrips, spider mites, or sow bugs, chances are you haven't been heeding the rules. And if you don't bring meely bugs and scales into the greenhouse, you won't have any of them! So when you buy woody plants (especially gardenias), make absolutely certain they're clean!

Don't expect that your greenhouse should ever be 100% pest-free! Greenhouses should not be thought of as a sterile habitat - it would be both unreasonable and unnatural to strive toward such a goal. If your plants are free from the handicaps of poor culture, pests will automatically fall under control, and your efforts will be reduced to maintaining a watchful eye.

SUMMER CLEAN OUTS

When summer comes, it's good practice to empty the greenhouse, so that, in the process of the enclosure's complete evacuation and drying out, any lingering insects will leave too. This cleaning will provide you with a fresh start come all (you should of course double check everything you bring back in).Also with the building empty you have an excellent place to dry herbs, or mushrooms: Choose a sunny day, spread them out on clean sheets or towels and see how fast they will be ready for storage!

drying mushrooms




And that's really all there is to the "science" of hothouse horticulture. When you rely on nature, you'll have healthy, eager plants that are not easily phased by changes in growing conditions. By keeping a clean, natural, well-cared for greenhouse, your plants will enjoy normal root, stem and leaf development, bigger and better fruit and stronger flavors and colors. The best joy of greenhouse productivity is the fact that there's nothing tricky about it at all!

Country renegade's note: if this article has given you a craving for a sun powered growing room of your own, you might be interested to see how I began starting a greenhouse.


To go to my country life, from growing plants in a greenhouse, follow this link


To go to starting a greenhouse, from growing plants in a greenhouse, here is the link.


Gardening Videos






garden video 1


garden video 2


garden video 3


how to grow lettce


Join me on facebook





For the latest on my country life, follow my country travels section as I travel through central and south america over the next 2 years
In search of my new country home...life...