8 Great Ways to Grow in Your Greenhouse
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Growing in Your Greenhouse
You finally are getting the greenhouse of your dreams. Now you need to decide how to use it best for your needs. Growing in a greenhouse is not a cut and dry situation. We all have different crops, different climates, different styles of greenhouses, etc. The great part about growing in a greenhouse is that you learn something new every day.
Do not think that you need to load up your greenhouse with accessories when you first build it. A basic greenhouse setup will have some manner of ventilation, access to water and a heater if desired. Everything else can be added as the need arises.
Experiment with different growing methods if your crops permit it. You are not stuck to just one method. Here are 8 great different ways to grow in your greenhouse. And, you can use some of these in combination with other methods. You are not stuck just to one manner of growing.
Different methods of growing
Grow directly in the ground
You can just dig directly in the ground as you would for your garden. Your greenhouse will provide cover, frost protection and maybe even heat depending on how you have set it up.
This is probably the least expensive way to grow in a greenhouse. Really all you need is a shovel to work the ground and markers to show where you planted your crops. You will need to take the same care as with your outside garden. Add compost when needed and rotate your crops.
Be careful with this: If you are growing heat loving plants in the winter the ground will not be as warm as your plants may like – even though you have the greenhouse heated.
Build raised garden beds
You can build raised garden beds directly in your greenhouse the same as you would in your garden. The soil will be imported for this method. But, a soil mix in raised garden beds will give you better draining, less compacted soil than planting directly in the ground. Raised beds are easier to maintain than growing in the ground. Plus, you get a nice spot to sit on the edges of the bed and work your garden.
If you have a lean to greenhouse make sure that you are not building a raised bed directly against your home. You may add water to your foundation, just where you don’t want it.
Plant in pots or containers
Most plants will adapt to container planting well as long as you provide a large enough container. Make sure that they have holes to drain out the bottom. You will be using potting soil that is light and compact and will drain well.
Pots can be placed on benches in the greenhouse,or larger pots can be placed directly on the floor. If your greenhouse is large enough you can even grow some dwarf fruit trees in containers. If you have shade loving plants in containers you can place them under benches gaining 2 areas in one space.
Use hanging baskets
You can use hanging baskets in conjunction with any of the other systems you may choose. Just make sure that your greenhouse frame is built to hold the weight of the plants. Wet soil and plants can get heavier than you may think.
Make sure that the pots are set up with drain holes and make sure that the water will not drain onto anything below such as electrical systems or leaves of other plants. Water dripping on plants will deteriorate their health significantly. Plus, not to mention if you are growing plants to show. You won’t win with ugly water spots on your plants.
There are many different types of hydroponic systems you can use in a greenhouse. You can use dutch bucket systems on the floor of your greenhouse. Or, you can use a drip system or nutrient film technique with gutters. There are also ebb and flow systems that can be placed directly on the floor. These systems require you to monitor the nutrient balance, but they are an excellent system and pretty easy to use once you get used to the different growing method.
Aquaponic systems can be set up like a hydroponic system only you use the waste from fish to feed the plants rather than a nutrient solution. Raft systems for growing lettuce are very popular.
No matter what type of system you are using you will definitely get more use out of your space by growing vertically. This can be done in several different ways. You can build a frame like a step and place pots on it. Or, you can use a gutter system (hydroponic or soil) that is stacked in a staggered manner on top of each other. Planters that are designed to hold multiple plants in a vertical system are very popular for their space saving properties. Just make sure if you use one of these that all sides of the planter receive equal light. Or, make sure that you have it set up so that you can rotate the planter.
In an unheated greenhouse you can grow inside a cold frame for added weather protection. You can even place soil cables in the cold frames for totally pinpointed heat.
This helps you to grow without adding as much supplemental heating to the entire space of the greenhouse. It’s kind of like dressing in layers in the winter months. This also enables you to create some areas in your greenhouse with different climates.
No matter what growing system you use a greenhouse is a great place to grow vegetables for your family, over winter plants or house your prize winning orchids. Get busy experimenting today to see which system is the best for you.
Great resource to get a greenhouse going! Are there any plants you’ve found that just don’t work in a greenhouse?
Chris, Most plants will grow well in a greenhouse given their desired climate. But, I do not like to grow varieties of plants that are climbers and vines as they have a tendency to block out the light from the plants below. Of course if you are trying to do double duty and grow shade plants, underneath a climber is a great location for them.