Getting Started With Greenhouse Gardening

Jan 29


Ellen Bell

Ellen Bell

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Anyone who has set up a greenhouse knows that the process is a lot of work. But once the structure is built, then the real fun can begin. So what's the next step? In this article, we'll explore the process of setting up your greenhouse and getting ready to begin greenhouse gardening.

The process of planning out a new greenhouse is almost as big of a job as building the structure itself.  There are so many questions to answer!  How big should your greenhouse be?  What is the right location?  What type of greenhouse is right for you?  Will you build your own structure from scratch,Getting Started With Greenhouse Gardening Articles or will you purchase a ready to assemble greenhouse kit?  The planning stage alone can take several months, plus the additional time and sweat work of actually building the greenhouse.

But once all this is done, then the real fun can begin!  So once you've got your greenhouse built, what is the next step?  How do you set up your greenhouse and get ready to begin greenhouse gardening?

Determining the types of plants you want to grow is usually the first step.  Are you growing tropical plants that will have to remain in the greenhouse year round?  Or are you starting plants from seed early in the spring, with the intent of moving them outdoors when the weather warms up?  The types of plants you grow will have an impact on how you set your greenhouse up, including the type of shelving and work spaces you will need.

When purchasing shelving and work benches for your greenhouse, look for fixtures that can fit right into the greenhouse itself.  For example, if you've bought a greenhouse kit, you may also be able to purchase shelves that snap right into the greenhouse walls.  This type of shelving is a good choice because it saves space and is usually easy to install.  For a work bench or potting surface, look for something sturdy and durable.  A slatted surface is nice because soil can fall through the cracks and onto the ground, or into a collection bin you place below.  On the other hand, a smooth surface makes for easy cleanup.

Once you've got your shelving and work surfaces in place, it's time to begin greenhouse gardening!  Soil preparation is a very important first step in this process.  Visit your local garden center and talk to a professional about what type of soil you need.  Different plants will require different soil pH levels, and tester kits can be purchased inexpensively at garden stores.  Usually, a good bet is to purchase a commercial potting soil mix to build your base up in the gardening trenches of your new green house.  This is an excellent way to get started, because the soil mix will be rich in nutrients that your plants need.  Be sure your new soil mixture includes sand, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and fir bark for adequate drainage.

Another possibility for getting good soil is to begin your own composting system.  Garden composters and tumbling bins can be found through mail order catalogs or online stores, and they will produce the richest, most fertile soil you can imagine, and your plants will grow better than they ever have before.

Soil should be watered only on an as-needed basis.  Over watering inside a greenhouse may cause plant death due to the climate control system inside the greenhouse.  Drip irrigation systems are good, but most greenhouse owners prefer to water plants manually to prevent getting too much water in the soil.  Water only when the soil feels dry.  If you are going to be out of town for a few days, document your watering habits for a week or so before hand.  This way, if you ask a friend or neighbor to water for you in your absence, you'll be able to tell them exactly how often they'll need to water.

Greenhouse gardening is a wonderful hobby and a great way to improve your gardening skills.  Once the hard work of planning and assembling the greenhouse is done, you'll be rewarded with years of enjoyment spent in your greenhouse.  Plus you'll have bigger and better plants to show for your efforts.  Happy greenhouse gardening!