Year round greenhouse gardening is a simple way to increase the amount of vegetables available throughout each season. Knowing what plants to grow during each season, and how to care for the greenhouse, is an important part of growing plants successfully throughout the year. Growing greenhouse plants can be a challenge for less experienced gardeners, although there are many things any gardener can do to improve a greenhouse.
Greenhouse Gardener – Greenhouse Growing in the Spring
Clean out the greenhouse each spring to ensure that it is a healthy environment for growing plants. Start by removing all winter plants and dead growths. Clean the greenhouse in early spring, before the growing season has begun. Remove staging and planters, and clean them with a garden disinfectant.
Clean the inside of the greenhouse with a garden disinfectant as well; this removes mold and mildew that grow during the winter, when the greenhouse moisture is increased and closed in. Check the seals on all of the greenhouse windows to ensure that they were not damaged during the winter. Replace the greenhouse staging and add new planting material if necessary.
Ensure that the greenhouse watering system is functioning properly. Choose spring plants that mature quickly for spring greenhouse growing. Plant spring plants in the greenhouse staging and begin watering the plants immediately. Vegetables and flowers can both be profitable throughout the spring.
Harvest greenhouse vegetables and other plants as soon as they mature. Plant new vegetables or flowers in the staging to continue the growing process.
Greenhouse Gardening in the Summer – Greenhouse Shades
Once summer arrives, greenhouse gardening needs to adjust to the new season. Summer seasons are hotter, and this can cause damage to greenhouse plants that are not properly protected. Ensure that shades are drawn over plants that are susceptible to scorch. Ventilate the greenhouse during especially hot days to prevent the air from becoming too hot.
Greenhouse ventilation can include using greenhouse fans, or opening windows and vents to let the heat escape. Water plants daily or set up an automatic watering system to provide plants with a regular source of water. Harvest fruits, vegetables or flowers as they mature.
Add plants that mature throughout the summer to the greenhouse. These will provide vegetables or flowers throughout the warmer months, and replace spring plants that stop producing once summer arrives.
Greenhouse Gardening in the Fall
Replace the summer plants with fall flowers and vegetables, like squash. Plant the fall plants shortly before the summer ends to give them time to grow throughout the fall. Water plants daily or continue running the watering system.
Raise the temperature of the greenhouse at night with a central heating system or a solar powered greenhouse heater to protect the plants from colder weather. During colder days, leave the greenhouse shades open to allow the sun to enter the greenhouse, and close the shades at night to retain heat in the building.
Add grow lights to greenhouse plants that require extra heat during colder times. Grow lights provide a supplement to daylight, which is important as there is less sunlight in fall and in winter. Grow lights can be purchased as spot lights or as fluorescent lights to hang over greenhouse staging.
Greenhouse Gardening in Winter – Heating the Greenhouse Building
In order to continue growing greenhouse plants in winter, choose plants that grow well in cooler weather, such as spinach and kale. Plant these in place of the fall plants. Continue heating the building by leaving the greenhouse shades open during the day and closing them at night. Heat the greenhouse with a central heating system or space heaters.
Harvest vegetables as soon as they are mature and ensure that the greenhouse growing material is healthy and supports the growth of plants. Add fertilizer or fresh soil as necessary. Summer plants and tropical plants can be grown in winter greenhouses, although more heat and energy are required to help keep the greenhouse warm enough to support life.
Set up a greenhouse watering system or leave water in the greenhouse to keep it warm enough to water the plants. Ensure that the greenhouse temperature is always warm enough to sustain the plants, and raise the temperature at night to combat the low temperatures. Ensure that plants have grow lights installed to supplement the sunlight that is lacking during the winter.
Preparing a greenhouse for winter and other seasons involves a great deal of work and effort on the part of a gardener. However, having fresh vegetables and food grown at home throughout the year is a significant benefit of greenhouse growing.