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Setting Up Your New Greenhouse
Having your own greenhouse has many obvious benefits and also some that are not necessarily common knowledge. With the rising costs of groceries, being able to cultivate your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to save money and you also know that they will be much fresher than the produce in the supermarkets.
A greenhouse also protects vegetables from pesky insects and other frequent vegetable patch saboteurs. By growing them in a greenhouse, you do not need to use chemicals like pesticides to keep insects at bay, meaning your veg will be healthier as well as more eco-friendly.
With today being Earth Day, now is the perfect time to go green with your very own greenhouse. In celebration of Earth Day, we are sharing some top tips straight from the greenfingered experts:
Tip 1 – Create a growing calendar
One of the main purposes of a greenhouse is to be able to grow out of season but it is important to do your research on the growing seasons of your chosen vegetables. Timing is really important so draw up a calendar to remind you of where each vegetable is up to in its growth cycle.
Tip 2 – Use additional lighting and heating supplies
The UK is unfortunately notorious for unpredictable weather and this can, of course, affect your greenhouse results. If temperatures drop, electric heaters will help to keep things ticking along until the weather perks up. The same goes for light – you can use fluorescent light strips if your greenhouse is short on sunlight.
Tip 3 – Get to know your plants’ needs
Like most relationships in life, the better you get to know your plants, the more they will blossom. So take the time to understand how often they need watering, rather than having a timed schedule. There are a number of variables that determine watering needs such as temperature, humidity and the stage of growth at which the plant is. Also, a little research goes a long way in learning how to defend on your plants behalf. Protecting them against weather, mildew, or even wildlife will ensure you get the most out of your garden. Here are a few links we find most helpful. Also, Pinterest is also a great place to get tips and tricks to keep your new greenhouse in tip-top shape!
Tip 4 – Monitor temperature and ventilate when required
Just as the temperature being too cold is a problem, plants that are too hot will suffer. So you should carefully monitor temperatures and ventilate when necessary. You can even install automatic vents that will open and close to maintain the correct temperature.
Tip 5 – Recycle items to save money
A lot of people rush out and buy all new gardening items before exploring the idea of recycling everyday items that would normally go into your recycling bin. For example, clear plastic bottles can be cut in half to become mini-greenhouses and yoghurt pots make great seedling pots. Also, you do not need to buy a compost bin when you can build your own using wood pallets. This is another excellent way to make your garden more eco-friendly this Earth Day.
Tip 6 – Choose your vegetables carefully
There are so many different vegetables that you can choose to grow yourself but unless you are planning on selling the produce, you should choose the vegetables that you and your family use the most or spend the most money on. For minimum work, choose ones that require similar temperatures for optimal growth. Cool-season vegetables such as leek, broccoli and onion will grow well at lower temperatures, whereas warm season vegetables like cucumber and tomato grow optimally in warmer temperatures. Again, this is where a carefully planned schedule is useful.
Here are a few of the most commonly grown vegetables, when to sow them and how long they take to grow:
Lettuces – Sow them in mid-spring and harvest 48 days later
Cucumbers – Sow in spring and harvest mid-September
Carrots – Sow in winter and harvest 10 weeks later
Tomatoes – Sow late winter/early spring and harvest 65-85 days later
Peppers – Sow mid-Feb to April and Harvest July onwards