The first step in starting a greenhouse farm is learning how to start plants from seed or transplant in a greenhouse. We already know when to begin greenhouse crop production, but the specifics of how to get started are just as critical to the process’ success. There are a number of aspects and considerations that must be taken into account when deciding when to start growing plants from seed or transplant.
Increasing numbers of individuals are becoming interested in greenhouse farming because they realize the advantages of year-round plant production. The benefits of indoor gardening may only be realized if you stick to the same management procedures throughout the entire process. Plant beginning in a greenhouse is an important part of this process.
What Is a Greenhouse?
It is possible to grow plants in a greenhouse because it has translucent walls and a roof that let in sunlight. It is possible to add sun lamps, heating pads, air circulation, and water misters to greenhouses in order to keep the plants within happy and well-fed. Cold frames, attached greenhouses, and free-standing greenhouses are all options for hobby greenhouses.
3 Types of Greenhouses
The three most popular types of hobby greenhouses for home gardeners are:
- Icy structure The simplest and smallest greenhouses are known as cold frames, and they are constructed as little boxes with movable covers into which gardeners can place plants. Because they don’t require a heat source, cold frames are typically less expensive to build or buy than other greenhouses. It is common for gardeners to employ cold frames during the overwintering process, where hardy plants remain in the ground and continue to thrive over the winter. In this article, we’ll show you how to construct a cold frame.
- Attached. Attached greenhouses are anchored to a strong wall (often the wall of a home) by building them against it. Window boxes are a good size for them, but they can also be as big and bulky as the building’s side. To save money, their other three walls are generally constructed from flimsier materials, such as wood, cinderblock, or cinder blocks.
- Freestanding. It is common for freestanding greenhouses to be large enough for gardeners to enter. Freestanding greenhouses are more expensive to buy or more difficult to build since they need to be stable enough to stand on their own.
What Is the Purpose of a Greenhouse?
Gardeners prefer to grow plants in greenhouses rather than outside, where cold weather, high winds, or foraging animals might hinder or kill the plants. Gardeners utilize greenhouses in a variety of ways:
- To get seeds and young plants off to a great start. Many gardeners choose to start their seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse to protect them from the elements. Seedlings and other delicate plants do best in a greenhouse environment.
- to continue to cultivate plants in the midst of the winter. Your garden will be dormant throughout the winter months if the winters in your area are particularly harsh, unless you have a greenhouse. Greenhouses allow gardeners to keep their greenhouses warm during the winter while still relying on the sun as a source of nutrients for their crops. Sun-loving plants like tomatoes and maize can be grown in a winter greenhouse, but shade-tolerant veggies are the best bet.
- Try out several kinds of plants that demand specialized care. Do not give up hope if your locality does not have a long or warm growing season for tropical fruits like mangoes or dragonfruits. If you can’t grow a plant in your garden because of the weather, a greenhouse is an excellent alternative.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Greenhouse?
Using a greenhouse allows you to control every aspect of your growing environment to ensure the best possible circumstances for your plants. Among the other advantages are:
- Control of the temperature. Due to their enclosed nature and access to the sun’s rays, greenhouses are naturally warmer than the surrounding air. To keep the temperature inside the greenhouse even warmer, especially in the winter, gardeners in colder climates can use a heating system (such an electric heater, a gas heater, or heating pads).
- Conserve water. Evaporation, wind, and other causes can quickly deplete the soil’s moisture content. Even as moisture evaporates from the greenhouse, it is retained. Tropical plants thrive in a more humid environment because of the structure’s architecture, which retains moisture.
- The ability to bend easily. To ensure that your plants have enough light in the winter, you can use grow lights to augment the natural light that should come from your greenhouse. You may protect your plants from sunburn in the summer by draping a shade cloth over the area.
How to Set up Your Own Greenhouse
Interested in starting a greenhouse of your own? You can help keep your plants happy and healthy by following these simple guidelines:
- Consider purchasing a kit for building your own greenhouse. Buy a greenhouse kit if you’re not sure about building one yourself or don’t trust your talents with a hammer and nails. Everything you need to get started, from supports to plastic sheeting, will be included in the kit.
- Install a thermostat to regulate the temperature in the home. A greenhouse’s temperature should be kept between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that plants do not suffer from either excessive heat or cold. If the temperature in your home veers too far from what you prefer, you can adjust it with a thermostat.
- Don’t ignore the need of good air flow. Plants that are susceptible to fungal infections or mildew may not be able to thrive in a damp climate. In the winter, air circulation prevents cold patches by circulating the air. Consider using a revolving fan or two (on a low level) to keep your plants well-circulated with air, even if you don’t have an advanced ventilation system.
- Pests should be kept in mind. Despite the fact that greenhouses are designed to keep insects away from your plants, the warm, humid temperature they provide can actually serve as an ideal breeding ground for pests. Pests should always be on the lookout when planting in a greenhouse. When you spot pests, either remove the afflicted plants from the greenhouse or introduce predatory insects (such ladybugs and lacewings) to keep the population under control.
- Keep a journal in your greenhouse. Take notes from the beginning if you intend to greenhouse grow for a long time to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Are you using any particular potting soil? How much fertilizer do you use? What’s the best way to water tomatoes? Taking notes as you work in the garden will assist you in honing your abilities and creating the most beautiful space possible.
Definitive Guide For How To Start Growing Plants In A Greenhouse
Starting plants from seeds
Preparing the greenhouse
Proper seed and transplant preparation is essential. Everything in the greenhouse, including the pots, trays, seats, and shelves, must be well disinfected. In addition to keeping the greenhouse clean and sanitary, good greenhouse conditions can assist your seeds grow.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst stresses the need of starting seedlings in the greenhouse with fresh seeds. This will ensure that the seeds germinate properly. Because of their diminished vigor, old seeds have lesser quality and may germinate poorly and produce less fruit.
The next stage is to divide the plants into distinct categories, such as which plants grow best together or which crops should be started indoors, in order to build a more organized greenhouse. It will be easier for you to schedule planting dates if the seeds are categorized as cool season and warm season plants.
Planning when to plant the seeds is next. This is where knowing your growing zone comes in handy. Find out when the average last frost date is in your area by looking at this chart.
When you’re beginning seedlings in pots or trays in the greenhouse, did you know that you can go soilless? It’s better to use a light seed starting mix to increase your chances of success. This protects against disease and ensures that the water drains properly.
A seed starting mix, unlike a standard potting or garden soil, is not too heavy for the seeds. Your seed packets will tell you exactly how many seeds should be planted in each container or pot. You can usually put seeds half an inch deep, but this can vary from plant to plant.
Cover the container with plastic wrap after you’ve placed the seeds in soil and sprayed them with water. You can use a heating mat to keep the soil temperature stable. The seedlings will all appear the same, so make sure to keep track of which one is which by labeling your containers.
Starting transplants in the greenhouse
Transplants can be made from soil or artificial mixes once the greenhouse has been sanitized and checked for proper conditions. As a general rule, the best mix for transplants is one that drains well and has a high capacity to retain water. Polystyrene trays and plastic trays are the most used containers for greenhouse transplants.
Irrigation and fertilization are two of the most important aspects of transplant production. For the former, water the seedlings sparingly as the roots develop. Make sure your plants get the same amount of water every time you water them by creating an irrigation schedule.
Overwatering is a common mistake made by gardeners, who believe that the watering volume is the same at the beginning of germination. The result is an increase of pests, illnesses, and low-quality crops. As an alternative, water the plants in the morning when the soil has time to dry up before nightfall.
When watering transplants, water-soluble fertilizers are the best option. Each plant has different needs, and you may have to alter fertilizing depending on the greenhouse’s temperature and humidity. To ensure healthy seedling growth, the greenhouse must have adequate lighting for transplants.
For farmers, starting their growing season early is one of the most significant advantages of greenhouse gardening. You must also know how to adequately harden your plants to avoid shock and stress from rapid field changes. During this stage of the process, the greenhouse is also your savior.
To prepare your transplants, lower the greenhouse temperature by 5 to 10°F and minimize the amount of water and fertilizer that you offer. This allows the plants to become accustomed to the rapid shifts in temperature and light conditions that occur when they are moved outside. Two weeks before transplanting, however, you can move the transplants to a lath home and keep them there.
The Role of a Greenhouse
A greenhouse is a piece of equipment that is used to grow food. The finest things to grow in that instrument depend on how you utilize it. Many of us make use of our greenhouse for the following activities:
- Sow seeds as soon as the last day of frost is over.
- Plant seedlings and nurture them until they are ready to be picked.
- Provide a safe haven for delicate plants that necessitate special care.
- Allow the harvest of plants that would otherwise not be able to withstand the change of the season between summer and autumn or fall and winter.
When choosing plants for your greenhouse, it’s important to know what you hope to accomplish with them.
Growing Goals and Growing Obstacles
In my home, the garden’s primary objective is to provide food, and that includes everything from seed-starting through harvesting. In order to maximize the yield of a small piece of land, I utilize a gardening strategy known as sequential planting, which is used by many gardeners.
Once the current crop is harvested, it ensures that a new crop is ready to be planted immediately. My greenhouse is a great illustration of how I use it for successional farming, which reduces the time it takes for a harvest.
Time is one of the most common roadblocks, but here are a few more:
- In other words, where you are at the moment.
- Weather patterns that change with the seasons.
- The growing season
- Sensitivity of plants
- An allotment for the garden
What are some of the challenges you experience as a grower during the course of the year?
Late Last Frost-Free Day
Before it is safe to sow seedlings outside, utilize a greenhouse to start your seeds indoors. You’ll get a head start on the growing season if you do this. However, the plants must be hardened off in order to survive the change in temperature.
In a greenhouse, the greatest plants to cultivate are those that take the longest to mature. Tomatoes, for example, are better than lettuce or radishes in this regard. Although you could plant all three, the latter are both fast-growing crops.
This is because tomato plants take far longer to yield a harvest than other crops. There are a number of plants that can be grown in a greenhouse that can help you get a head start on your growing season.
Vegetables to Start in a Greenhouse
These are the greatest veggies to grow early in the year if you want to get ahead of the seasons.
- Greens with a collard flavor.
A cold frame is preferable than a greenhouse for certain crops.
- Various types of lettuce, such as romaine
- Carrots, which are unable to be transplanted effectively
- Herbs that thrive in cooler climates.
You can utilize these plants if you plan to raise your complete crop in the greenhouse. Wind-pollinated plants, such as corn, may not produce much, on the other hand. Be mindful of the difficulties of pollination while designing a greenhouse for your vegetable garden.
Successive planting is a breeze in a greenhouse. When it comes to starting seeds, you can do so 4-8 weeks before planting in your greenhouse. We start our tomatoes in mid-March in zone 8A so that the seedlings are about a foot tall and in good health. They are transplanted to four-inch pots from seed trays.
We start our heirloom tomato seeds eight weeks ahead of time and grow them in one-gallon containers until mid- to early-June, when we transplant them into the ground.
It’s like having two gardens going at once, but with a smaller footprint because of the smaller size of the plants. A 6-8-week reduction in the time between harvests is the benefit you receive.
You can use greenhouses to boost your harvest or yield throughout the growing season by using them as a tool. As a result, if your goal is successive gardening, the “best” plants to grow in a greenhouse are those you would cultivate in your garden. Carrots, for example, are the only plants that don’t do well when transplanted.
Growing Crops in Cold Climates
In many parts of the world and the United States, the growing season is either extremely short or extremely harsh in the winter. Both of these circumstances can be solved by growing vegetables in a greenhouse.
It’s important to remember that not all plants thrive in a greenhouse at all times of the year. If you have a greenhouse vegetable garden, you can extend the growing season by utilizing grow lights to counteract the requirement for direct light from some plants.
Grow lights were first used by the aquarium industry to grow corals and plants for home aquariums. Because of changes to the legal status of marijuana, grow lights are now available almost everywhere and at more affordable prices.
The aquarium industry was the first to employ grow lights to cultivate corals and plants for aquariums in the residence. As a result of the legalization of marijuana, grow lights have been more widely available and more reasonably priced.
The shorter days and reduced light in colder growing locations are also a factor in crop growth conditions. Dropping temperatures, not just a reduction in light, can be problematic for many plants. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, greenhouses are an excellent way to compensate for the loss of light and warmth.
Greenhouses are best used for growing plants that require more light and a warmer environment. There are a variety of options, from citrus trees in pots to year-round vegetables.
If you wish to grow year-round, you’ll want to select plants that can thrive in low light conditions and that won’t need to be moved outside.
Best Vegetables to Grow in Winter
The following crops are good choices for winter gardening if you want to grow greens:
- Greens and lettuce
- Cool-loving plants such as carrots, potatoes, and more.
- Cauliflower, kale, and broccoli are examples of brassicas.
In the late fall, winter, and early spring, you can also employ a heating system in your greenhouse to compensate for the lower temperatures. Growing a bumper crop of winter vegetables is a popular goal for many people. Basil, for example, which is extremely sensitive to temperature changes, can be grown successfully in this manner.
Warming and protecting delicate plants in greenhouses requires a wide range of heating methods. Your greenhouse will stay warm thanks to the power of the sun. However, once the sun sets, the greenhouse’s temperature drops as well.
When water is not subjected to external influences, it warms and cools very slowly. A row of water-filled plastic jugs can keep your greenhouse warm at night in a greenhouse.
Add heating to your greenhouse if you want more control over the temperature in the greenhouse. There are a variety of heating systems that allow you to control the temperature in your greenhouse more effectively.
People also employ heat lighting systems, but those can be pricey as well, and unless you have a generator, anything electric will go out during a power loss unless you have a backup generator.
There are a variety of heating tasks that may be done at home that are effective. To make an inverted flower pot radiator warmer, all you need is a few candles. Old cast iron wood stoves are also a terrific and simple instrument.
A greenhouse’s advantages can be fully realized even in the most severe climates because of the variety of heating techniques available.
So, What Should You Grow in a Greenhouse?
The answer to the question is a matter of personal preference. As part of your food production and food storage system, think about what your goals are and how a greenhouse might be used to help you achieve those objectives.
“High Yielding Crops For The Prepper Garden” or “The 13 Best Staples To Consider For A Survival Garden This Spring” are good places to start.
From the smallest to the largest, greenhouses are available in all shapes and sizes. There are a plethora of greenhouse kits on the market, as well as an equal number of do-it-yourself solutions.
In concluding, I’d want to provide a cautionary tale. Consider the location of your greenhouse before designing it. It doesn’t matter what style of greenhouse you purchase, make sure it’s strong enough to withstand the harsh winter weather conditions. Roof supports buckle and break beneath the weight of snow.
If your greenhouse is not properly erected or moored, it could be damaged by the powerful winds. Drainage and flooring alternatives should also be carefully considered to avoid flooding issues in the event of heavy rain.
Your greenhouse should be insulated and as energy efficient as feasible in order to keep your plants warm. If you want to keep heat from escaping into the outside world, you’ll need to make sure that the seams are well sealed.
A greenhouse, like any other instrument, must be in operating order in order to reap its full benefits. These are fantastic tools for increasing food production and giving you more control over what you eat and what you save for the future.
Have you made any changes in the way you grow vegetables? Check out this page for some amazing options for greenhouse kits.
The beauty of the greenhouse helps growers to maintain a steady supply of high-quality plants without having to deal with unexpected weather conditions. Growing plants from seeds or transplants in a greenhouse can provide these advantages, but you must first learn how to do so. The greenhouse is an excellent place to start new plants or to continue cultivating existing ones.
Harden your plants first before transplanting if you decide to do so in the future. They’ll be better equipped to resist the often-unpredictable and often-adverse outdoor conditions and avoid transplant shock as a result.