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Enthusiasm is an admirable trait for the beginning greenhouse gardener, but don’t let it overshadow the practical steps you should take to ensure your efforts are successful.

As with any new venture, establishing a strong foundation with careful attention to the smaller details is important.

Though it may take some patience on your part, this not only will this set you up for a positive greenhouse gardening experience, but also you’ll create an environment for your enthusiasm to continue to blossom!

Keep these seven helpful tips in mind as you begin your exciting foray into greenhouse gardening.

1. Get a Thermometer. Maybe the single most important of a piece of equipment you’ll buy, your thermometer will inform when to ventilate, where to shade, when to heat and what area to cool. No beginning greenhouse gardener should be without one!

2. Keep the Greenhouse Neat and Tidy. It might seem like a chore at the time, but always return things to their proper place. You’ll be glad you did when you want space to pot plants and when you need a place to put them. Plus, piles of unused equipment could be inviting to snails and slugs.

3. Determine Your Plants’ Space Needs. Prepare for plant growth by assessing how much room your plants will need at the stage you expect them to reach in the greenhouse. Overcrowding can restrict plant growth as they compete for space and light. This stress can make your plants more susceptible to disease and insect damage.

4. Start with Seeds Rather Than Seedlings or Cuttings. One way to reduce the probability of insect, mite or disease problems is to start with seeds planted in your greenhouse —not seedlings or cuttings from another location. It is recommended to seed more plants than the number you want because not all seeds will germinate, and this can help provide a good, healthy plant selection to begin.

5. Start with Easy-to-Grow Plants. Kicking off your greenhouse growing efforts with plants that are easy to grow will help boost your confidence. Lettuce, basil, and coleus are some ideal vegetative options. Move on next to tomatoes, seedless cucumber, eggplant, and hot pepper plants when you have more experience. Beginners should avoid starting with bushes and trees, as they take up more space and take more time to grow.

6. Take Steps to Keep Pests Away. In addition to using seeds planted or potted inside your greenhouse, install insect screens on air intakes to reduce the introduction of pests. You can also keep outside plants away from your greenhouse, complete any work in your outdoor gardens after your tasks inside your greenhouse are complete, and keep pets out of your greenhouse as any of these could transport insects or diseases inside.

7. Grow Something Greenhouse-Specific. Try your hand at growing something that will only thrive inside a greenhouse, such as tropical flowers or heat-loving vegetables. Not only will this add interest to your gardening efforts, but the success of growing something unique will prove to be exhilarating!

Thinking about investing in a greenhouse or getting ready to start your greenhouse garden? Call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 to talk with one of our representatives or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to find all the supplies you need to get growing!

7 Helpful Tips for the Beginning Greenhouse Gardener

Enthusiasm is an admirable trait for the beginning greenhouse gardener, but don't let it overshadow the practical steps you should take to ensure your efforts a

Avoid the Most Common Greenhouse Mistakes with These Tips

Growing plants in a greenhouse, whether edible or ornamental, requires a little work beforehand. Learn from these common mistakes and have a successful growing season.

Humidity

Too much humidity can allow mold spores and diseases to run rampant in your greenhouse; too little and the plants will die of thirst.

Do research ahead of time to group plants together with similar humidity needs. Grow them at the same time, or build more than one smaller greenhouse, if space permits.

Misting is an excellent way to increase humidity- find out how much your plants need.

Shade

Even in the winter, your plants may need shade from the sun. The greenhouse cover increases heat inside, so have a system to shade the plants when the sun glares.

Different shading materials are available at DIY stores and and even directly from Amazon. You can pull them over the roof, have them mounted on a pulley system against the inside of the greenhouse ceiling, or have an electronic monitor and motor system automatically pull the shades for you according to the amount of UV sunlight. This system, of course, will be more expensive than manual.

Ventilation

Without air circulation, the plants will succumb to disease and die. If the greenhouse has no vents, then on sunny days, even in the coldest winter, the heat will rise inside and could cook your plants.

Several manufacturers offer automatic greenhouse ventilation systems, both for AC power (hooked up to an outside outlet), or for battery or solar power. This saves you from having to run outside, opening and closing windows all day.

Heating

During the night, the winter temperatures drop dramatically. Even in areas such as south Texas and Florida, greenhouse heaters are needed when temperatures drop below freezing.

Do not use a regular house heater for your greenhouse. They are not made for a moist or outdoor environment. Only purchase a heater rated and designed for a greenhouse, and use an outdoor surge protector and outdoor rated power cord.

Plants

Growing the right plants is as important as all the rest put together. Once you’ve looked at your “dream list” of plants, you’ll realize space is the issue for your plants.

If you regularly grow vine plants, such as tomatoes, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc., you’ll want to research and find varieties bred for container growing. Bush varieties of squash require no staking or vines.

Plants that are too tall may cause too much shading of other plants. They may come in contact with the greenhouse covering, encouraging disease, mold and mildew growth.

For a greenhouse, filling containers with common garden soil would be a disaster. Soil compacts, killing the roots. In large containers, the top part of the soil dries out while the bottom of the container becomes bogged with water. The containers become far too heavy to safely lift or move.

Use potting soils that have no garden soil in them. A common practice in hydroponic culture is to grow the plants in peat moss or coir (coconut fiber).

Fertilizers

Study the fertilizer and feeding requirements of your plants before you begin. Plants may have different requirements than the standard “feeds-everything” fertilizer. Keep a supply on hand for all your plants.

Try grouping your plants according to fertilizer/water/shade needs, or use a marker system to tell you each plant’s requirements. For example, a plant may need more shade like it’s pretty neighbor, but it’s fertilizer requirement may be different. A marker, colored tag or sticker tells you what your plant needs.

By studying ahead, your greenhouse growing season will be successful and tasty.

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New to growing in a greenhouse? Avoid these common mistakes with a little advance planning, and you'll be a pro in no time. Read more now on Gardener's Path.