Greenhouse gardening is a practical experience, allowing you to go green. Starting and maintaining a greenhouse can be challenging, but you’ll get used to it with time and experience.
Over time, the complex task becomes basic – this applies especially to those with a handy guide like this. There are lots to consider when starting your growing, so use this as your handbook.
Greenhouse types are included to help you find the perfect haven for your plants. Helpful tips also await you, giving you a few pointers on how to manage and grow effectively. Keep reading for the best Greenhouse Gardening Beginner Tips!
1. Invest in the right greenhouse unit
Specifically designed to cultivate plant life, greenhouses make a good return on investment. And speaking of good investing, you’ll want to ensure your hard-earned money won’t be wasted.
With that in mind, it’s best to get yourself familiarised with the 3 types of greenhouses. Besides this being your advantage, it’ll also give you an idea of what suits your plants best.
2. Go for a wooden greenhouse if…
If you want to keep your harvest warm and safe throughout winter. Known for their natural insulation properties, wooden greenhouses make an excellent choice for a structure that’s environmentally controlled.
Moreover, the material helps absorb harmful UV rays and, at the same time, contains heat at night.
3. Opt for a metal unit if…
A metal greenhouse is lightweight, easy to relocate, maintenance-free, and long-lasting! It’s a brilliant option if you want a low-maintenance unit.
Designed with an aluminium frame, expect a solid construction base. This ensures the garden structure is more load-bearing than its wooden counterpart.
In short, it offers superior protection to plants.
4. Get a plastic greenhouse if…
Looking for something cheaper but durable enough to use year-round? You can never go wrong with a plastic greenhouse.
A polycarbonate greenhouse, for one, is thicker than glass. Plus, it has more efficient light diffusion.
Growing your greens in one will provide them with equal light. Moreover, it provides ultimate protection against radiation exposure thanks to its natural ultraviolet filter.
5. Pick the best location
After choosing the ideal greenhouse type for your greens, consider where to put it next. A firm and flat surface is ideal, and avoid placing it near standing water.
During installation, check if you have access to all four sides of the building. Placing it near walls and fences is no good; the same goes for trees or large bushes.
Another thing to keep in mind is the sunlight. The location must receive maximum sun exposure. This will help encourage and stimulate your plant growth.
6. Keep up with the air circulation
Most greenhouses are enclosed, meaning they don’t ventilate completely on their own. This is where ventilation comes in – installing one can solve the problem.
Nice air circulation ensures the plants get the right temperature and moisture level. Proper air movement throughout also creates uniformity in humidity, CO2 and oxygen.
Remember, plants respond better to environmental consistency.
7. Watch out for pesky pests
Bugs in gardens are inevitable, but there are ways to keep them at bay. For one, keep outside foliage away from the greenhouse.
Another is to create a dedicated area for them, especially for pollinators, with a bug hotel! Also, many insects favour hot and humid conditions to lay eggs, so keep the inside of the greenhouse well ventilated.
Top pests to look out for include aphids, thrips, bloodworms, slugs and snails.
8. Seed starting
When it comes to growing, you have two options: 1.) growing from seeds, 2.) buying transplants from the store. If you choose the latter, keep in mind that it can be tricky at first, and patience is a must.
You also have to understand the seed type, whether it’s an heirloom, organic, hybrid, or GMO, to name but a few. Next is figuring out where to grow them depending on their needs.
Again, you have two choices (see #9 and #10) and once picked, you can move the trays inside the greenhouse.
9. Grow seeds in open flat trays
Here, the seeds are planted in nicely spaced rows. This method encourages ease of watering, fertilising, thinning, and treating diseases.
Once the seedlings have sprouted, they can be transplanted into pots. Unlike single-cell seedling trays, you can grow more seeds.
10. Or in single cell trays
Meanwhile, in this planting scheme, only one or two seeds can be planted per cell. But the good thing about this is that it retains more moisture and warmth than open trays.
There’s more effort involved, as you’ll have to move the seeds out of the tray when they get to an appropriate size, but it’s better option for helping them get out of the ground.
11. The watering rules
There’s a basic rule for beginners: understand the water requirements for every plant. You don’t want to end up under or overdoing it – either can spell doom for your plants.
Signs of inappropriate watering include the following:
- Irregular drying
- Decreased shoot size
- Root growth and immature plants with bad quality and shelf life
Top tip: If you have the budget, invest in a good drip system with a timer or dip gauge to avoid overwatering. For newly seeded areas, water them often – every couple of days. By late spring, water less – once a week, but more deeply to encourage roots to go down.
12. Rely on a thermometer
No beginner green house garden should be without a thermometer. Your thermometer will inform you when to ventilate, when to shade, when to heat, and what area to cool. Put simply, it will give you a better idea of how your plants are doing and what needs to change.
When you have greater control over your plants’ environment, expect better results. You can choose from hygrometers, humidity metres to hi-low memory thermometers. But a standard one can do the job for you!
13. Start growing greenhouse-specific varieties
Try your hand at growing plants that only thrive inside a greenhouse in your first year. Tropical flowers and heat-loving vegetables, such as tomatoes, are great starters.
This gardening trick will help add interest to your gardening efforts. Plus, the success of growing ‘within your reach’ will be exciting and worth it.
14. Then add the easy-to-grow ones
Next, kick off your greenhouse growing efforts with easy-to-grow greens! Lettuce, basil, and coleus are some ideal vegetative options for you to cultivate.
Besides tomatoes, move on to seedless cucumbers, eggplants, and hot peppers. They are especially promising to grow when you have more experience.
Top tip: Avoid starting with bushes and trees as they take up more space and time to grow. Focus on what you can provide on the table first year-round.
15. Equip your greenhouse with a lighting system
Most plants need light to photosynthesise and flourish. In summer and late spring, your greenhouse should receive adequate sunlight.
And with those seasons, there’s nothing to worry about. But the problem arises in winter or late autumn, and this is where the lighting system comes in.
LED grow lights and fluorescent lamp strips will serve you well in this regard. Place them in a propagating or germination room that experiences no natural light.
16. Add a mist system
With a mist system, your greenhouse can produce consistent conditions throughout the year. Misting also helps fight off plant diseases, minimise stress and increase growth rates.
Another benefit is it can be used to apply fertilisers. The mist lands on the leaves of the plants, making the fertiliser easier to be absorbed.
17. Work on a potting bench
Rather than stooping on the ground, get a potting bench to have a comfortable height to work on. Depending on the size, it can also serve as small storage for pots, tools, and soils – and to display your plants.
It always comes in handy for doing small gardening tasks like transplanting seedlings.
18. Have enough shelving
Shelving is an excellent space saver, keeping your greenhouse neat and organised. By adding shelves, you can maximise the space for plants and provide support for climbers.
Opt for adjustable shelves for flexibility, so you can move them up and down accordingly. Alternatively, you can invest in an easy-fit frame with a heavy-duty cover just like the one below!
With one, you can easily take care of seedlings and young plants without compromising space.
19. The need for shade cloth
With 8 hours of direct sunlight, overheating and sunburn are likely to occur to your plants. Protect them with a quality shade cloth.
Shade cloths are especially important in your greenhouse if you have automatic vents. Securely tarp the shade cloth over the top of your structure.
Note: Choosing the right shade cloth colour can make a big difference to different types of plants. Do your research before buying.
20. Consider pea gravel flooring
Use pea gravel over weed fabric for your greenhouse flooring. It’s cheap and easy to install, while also providing good drainage.
The porous ground cover will also allow water to drain through the fabric. Or use a polypropylene ground cover and cover it with pea gravel to keep out weeds and pests.
Note: Don’t place pea gravel directly on top of the soil.
A greenhouse gives plants the ideal environment, allowing for an extended growing season. If you’re thinking of growing your own fresh produce, it can be your mainstay.
When you get it right, greenhouse gardening can keep you limber and improve your well-being. Besides serving healthy greens on the table, of course.
But before you can reap these fantastic benefits, again – you need to get it done properly. Lucky for you, these greenhouse gardening beginner tips have shown what you have to do! And if you haven’t found the perfect unit for you, this ‘How to Choose a Greenhouse‘ guide will help!Shop Greenhouses