Greenhouse Gardening Tips
Anyone who has done gardening in the open will be applying their knowledge to the greenhouse,
just altering it a little to garden under glass. A greenhouse is not always a "hot house", as it is sometimes called.
Plants usually do their best at temperatures slightly lower and with a much higher humidity than is usually
maintained in our houses. A small greenhouse can have its temperature regulated relatively easy.
There are six main reasons an amateur uses a greenhouse:
(1) Raising plants for winter use.
(2) Holding over garden plants to be used as "parent" plants next season.
(3) Getting an early start for tender plants started from seed.
(4) Increasing the possibilities of a greater variety and continuous supply.
(5) Easier culture of small vegetables for winter use.
(6) To propagate, and experiment with various plants as a hobby, or to develop new varieties.
Choosing A Site For Your Greenhouse
Choose a level, clean site in a low-traffic area. Your greenhouse should receive the maximum amount of
winter sunlight available. Be sure to consider the following:
the change in angle of the sun between summer and winter
shadows cast by existing structures and/or trees
growing trees: will they shade the greenhouse in the future?
existing deciduous trees will allow winter sun; evergreens will not
If possible, align your greenhouse with the long side facing south, for two reasons:
the angle of the roof is engineered for catching the maximum amount of the sun's rays in the winter with t
he least amount of loss by reflection.
if you end up using shadecloth during the warm days in spring and summer, you will need to shade only one
side, instead of both sides
Orient your greenhouse so that the sun will reach it the maximum number of hours during each day. The most i
mportant time for the sun to reach any greenhouse is during the spring and fall when the sun is lowest in the
southern sky. Find the place where there is clearing towards the southeast through the southwest or as much
sun is available.
Your greenhouse interior should allow enough room for potting plants and moving about comfortably.
Also take into consideration the height of the benches and tables you plan to use. If you want a sink,
where will you put it? Will you have storage space for tools? All of these questions should be dealt with before you
begin to build your greenhouse.
Potting benches can be designed to fold down when not in use. They're usually slotted so dirt can fall to a collection
bin below. Redwood is a good choice for the interior benches, but if you're concerned about the use of this wood, ask
your local lumber yard about other rot-resistant woods. Avoid pressure-treated lumbers, since they are impregnated
with highly toxic arsenic. To make the job easier, try a do-it-yourself bench kit with aluminum framework pieces-just
The more sun that is provided, the more heat the greenhouse will produce. The more heat is produced the more
need you will have to provide ventilation. Place a thermometer in the shade near the middle of your greenhouse
and monitor the temperature at different times during sunny and cloudy weather. If the temperature is reaching
80 degrees-90 degrees or higher and the plants you are growing need a moderate range of 60 degrees-70
degrees then you will have to compensate by ventilating. The temperature readings you record should be used to
determine what plants you can grow, when.
Adequate ventilation is achieved when air can freely circulate among the plants. Spread your plants evenly
throughout the greenhouse, rather than jamming them all onto one bench, so the air is distributed evenly.
Greenhouses overheat easily, and in the middle of summer in the southern part of the US, you're more likely to
cook your plants than to nurture them if you don't have a way to get rid of the excess heat. Choose your
ventilation system by which region you live in and the size and design of your greenhouse.
The simplest option is to open up one or both doors in the morning depending on the weather report and
leave them open until late afternoon. This will allow frost protection at night and some increased warming
during the day.
Another alternative for cooling is the simple principle of water evaporation. Hose down your greenhouse
floor and open your ceiling vents, and the entire unit will cool down quickly.
Soil And Irrigation
Commercial potting soil is good for the average home garden greenhouse, especially if you're growing veggies
in large beds rather than smaller houseplant pots. These soil mixtures should include sand, peat moss, perlite,
vermiculite, and fir bark for adequate drainage.
The only time you need to water is when the soil is dry. Over watering in a climate-controlled greenhouse environment
has been the death of many a plant or seedling. While many greenhouse owners prefer the control of hand watering,
drip irrigation systems are effective and also prevent the leaves from getting too much water on them. Drip systems
are gentle on seedlings, too.
You may not need to water every day. It's wise to study the water requirements of your particular greenhouse
and document your regime in a gardening notebook. This makes it easier for a friend or neighbor to take care of
your plants when you're busy or out of town.
Each type of greenhouse will have its own maintenance requirements. One general rule is to regularly disinfect the
entire greenhouse-with a scrub brush and a mixture of diluted bleach, being careful not to get any on your plants.
Open up any vents to let the fumes out, scrub down all the walls and floor, then rinse with clean water.
Periodically, between disinfectings, spray the walls and corners with a hose set on the jet nozzle. This will keep the
spider mites and whiteflies to a minimum.
Carrots, beets, turnips, and other root crops do well in deep boxes which fit well under benches.
Tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, and pole beans need tub-type containers. Lettuce, or other low leafy vegetables may
be planted in the tub with the taller vegetables.
For corn, you've never seen the likes of, plant directly in the floor of the greenhouse, in a bed prepared for it.
Plant pumpkin between the rows of corn to save space.
Water your indoor plants with room temperature water, so not to injure your plants. Tap water should stand for 1
day to rid water of chlorine. This will avoid brown tips on plants.
For good drainage, use any of the following in the bottom of your boxes or pots: broken clay pots, cracked walnuts,
marbles, charcoal, or gravel. Clay pots should be soaked in water a few minutes before using. This will prevent the
clay from absorbing the moisture from the potting soil.
Indoor trellises can be made out of coat hangers. Bend to any shape you desire (heart, star, or other) and insert into
Herbs are nature's insecticides. Be sure to include a variety of them in your garden. Make an effective and natural
insecticide by adding onions and garlic to a jar of water. Let it stand for a week and then spray your plants.
Throw crushed egg shells on your garden for plant growth. To add acid to the ground, use dried coffee grounds.
Rinse vegetables and fruits outside before bringing them into your home. Place chicken wire over a wooden box
that the bottom has been cut out of. Rinse the vegetables with your garden hose. The dirt and bugs will stay outdoors
and your kitchen will stay clean.
Greenhouse Gardening Manual
GARDENING WITH YOUR SHELTER SYSTEMS' GREENHOUSE
Your Shelter Systems greenhouse will allow you to sow and harvest crops months earlier than you could otherwise in
temperate climates or cool locations. Your growing season will be extended and your annual yield should increase.
Certain crops can be harvested continuously and frost-tender plants can be protected with your greenhouse. You'll be
able to raise many plants from seed. Growing from seed allows you to pick any variety you choose, rather than just the
expensive, narrow selection offered by a nursery. You can grow plants not local to your area and protect special plants
from environmental extremes. The relatively high temperature your greenhouse creates can increase the quality and
yield of tomatoes and eggplants.
Your Shelter Systems greenhouse will repay its initial cost in the increased choice, quality and quantity of the plants
you can grow, and the space it takes up could not be put to a better use!
Take some time to think about where to put your greenhouse. Choose a place that has good sun exposure.
Remember that a site with good sun in the summer will not necessarily have good sun in the winter. The same
spot might be shaded by trees or tall buildings. As the shortest day of the year approaches, the sun's angle to the
Your greenhouse will get more use, and the plants in it will get more care if you have easy access. The best site is often close to your home if it is not shaded. If you attach your greenhouse to you house you can use the same heating system as -your home,
if you decide to have a heated greenhouse.
A site in your garden is a good idea also, since the soil there is likely to be rich and drain well. This will allow you to
garden right in the soil in your greenhouse. Since Shelter Systems' greenhouses are very easy to move you'll be able
to move it about in your garden to plant a succession of crops and there by avoid diseases and pests that would
otherwise accumulate and become a problem.
If your chosen site does not drain well, then prepare the soil so it will drain. Try for a spot that is protected from the
coldest prevailing winds. The stronger and colder the winds blowing across your greenhouse, the greater the heat
loss. Shelter can be provided, if a suitable site is unavailable, by planting a hedge of building an open weave fence.
Ideally your site should be level. If your site is not, move and conserve topsoil to create level site. Do not compact
the soil as this damages the soil structure and can lead to drainage problems and loss of fertility.
Access to electricity can be handy for automated fans, heaters, misters and propagators but is generally not needed
unless you plan a heated greenhouse.
Heating can be prohibitively expensive and many plants can be grown in a greenhouse with out heating.
Your greenhouse is designed to collect and store solar heat.
If the temperature inside your greenhouse gets too hot, your plants will wilt and die. Try to develop a daily routine that
maintains an optimum temperature. It takes but one hot hour to destroy all your work. It is better to leave your
greenhouse open, and have it be a little cool, than to kill your plants with heat.
To monitor the temperature of your greenhouse, set up a thermometer inside, in the shade, and a the level of your
plants (a minimum-maximum thermometer is preferred). The usually excepted optimum temperature for most plants is
80' F. At higher temperatures your plant's growth will decrease and the may die if they get too hot, too long. Use your
thermometer to record the daily extremes of temperature, and try by careful ventilation and heating adjustments, to
even out the differences as much as possible.
Lower temperatures decrease plant vigor and growth. Consider adding "thermal mass" to your domes interior in the
form of containers of water. Buckets, jugs, and drums work good. Flats can be set on them. The water will absorb heat
in the day and give it off at might. Electric propagators, heaters, and clean burning heaters are effective in a cold spell
in keeping the frost away.
Make a good path to your greenhouse and walk it everyday.
It is important to establish a regular daily routine when greenhouse gardening. Failure to do so will lead to
disappointments and the failure of seedlings and young plants.
An example of a daily routine might be: If the day dawns clear and warm be sure to visit your greenhouse by
midmorning. Check the temperature. If it is higher than preferred, or is rising rapidly, open doors and set vent tubes so
the temperature will come down and stays at an appropriate level all day. Consider damping down your plants but
save the main watering until later in the day.
For the first few days, check the temperature several times and open the doors more and/or provide more vents if
Necessary to maintain desired control. Additional "vent tubes" can be made of 3"-4" plastic pots or cans. Late
afternoon or evening, visit your greenhouse and close it up, when there is no longer a danger of over heating.
Water your plants and flats at this time if they need it.
Once you become more experience you will be able to know how much ventilation is necessary and you will not
need to check out your greenhouse, except in the morning and towards evening.
Stale air is bad for plants. Your dome's shape will help to create healthy convection currents of air. Also, the
small spaces around the dome's doors will provide a much change of air. To not make your dome air tight.
The doors of your greenhouse should close with a slight tension on the covering. You can adjust them by removing
and moving the door clips. Follow the instructions given. If the lower door span is too wide to allow doors to close,
move the stakes at the door's base towards each other 1" to 3" This should correct the span. The small gap around
the doors is important to provide fresh air. Do not seal up doors tight or stale air will develop. To wheel in tools
and soil, unhook doors fully. To simplify opening and closing doors when you just need to check out your plants, try
leaving the ground hook attached and release only the ground hook attached and release only the hook at chest level.
This creates a triangular opening which you can step through.
Resort to shading only if your plants are shade loving ones, or if all other methods of cooling do not work. The
reason for this is that shading decreases the available light to your plants, and slows their growth.
Setting up flats is a proven method. Set the flats off the ground. It will be easier to work with the seedlings and the soil
will be warmed all around. Purchase flats from your local nursery or make them of wood. A small table can be used to
hold your flats, or you can support them with 55 gallon barrel, jugs or cinder blocks. You can build a bench for holding
your seedlings by driving 2" X 2"s into the ground to create 4 upright posts on which to set your seed flats.
Obtain or make a good soil mix for starting your seedlings. one mix you can make is 1/3 garden soil and 1/3 well
seasoned compost and 1/3 sand. Mix well and spread in flats. Plant seeds as directed on the seed package in rows
about 3" apart. Plant a small number of seeds every week of two of each type of plant. Then you can be assured of a
continual harvest later on.
Water lightly to avoid causing the seeds to float up to the surface. Keep the soil damp at first but not soggy wet. If your
soil turns green you are watering too much. When the seedlings are up they can be thinned if necessary, and weeded
After they reach 2" to 31' high, transplant in the garden.
Properly formulated soil mixes contain nutrients needed for at least the initial stages of plant growth. As these nutrients
become depleted "feed" your plants with a balanced fertilizer designed for your plants. Follow directions, being careful
not to over feed as this is much worse than under feeding. One type of feeding mixture is liquid seaweed. Another is
homemade animal-manure tea: Fill a burlap sack @2 full of animal droppings. Hand from a stick in a bucket so it is
covered with water. After two weeks remove sack and your tea is ready to use. Tomatoes and cucumbers demand
feeding each time you water.
GROWING VEGETABLES IN YOUR GREENHOUSE
You can grow to maturity many garden vegetables right in the soil Of Your greenhouses The soil should be rich
and drain well. Sow the plant as you would in the garden, but plant earlier. Since Shelter System's greenhouses are
easy to move you'll be able to out run diseases and pests by moving your house to new soil each time you plant.
Another way to go is to start a crop at one site in early spring e.g. salad plants, then as the season advances leave the crop to mature in the open and move your house to a new site; where you can start, for example, your tomatoes, early. Never grow the
same crop in the same spot two years in a row. Heat loving plants like tomatoes and eggplants can be grown in bags
of soil mix by planting right in the bags. Watch you don't over water, since there should be no drainage holes in the
bags. They also grow vigorously on bales of wheat straw. The idea is to provide a disease free root run. Set bales
on polyethene. Apply a liberal amount of nitrogen rich manure. Water until manure enters bales and they are thoroughly
wet. This triggers fermentation, heat builds up and carbon dioxide is given off. Both are good for young plants which
are placed on mounds of soil on the bales. To determine the right time to plant: test the temperature in the bales every
few days during the fermentation; plant when it drops to 100' F.
Most permanent fruit plants occupy little space if they are confined to the wall or roof of the house. Some grapevines
may exclude light but only during the summer when shading is often welcome. A vine or a peach is certainly worth
considering as the fruit will be far superior to those produced outside.
Many flower and foliage plants can be cheaply raised from seed and used either as house plants or to decorate the
greenhouse itself. The range of possible plants is almost limitless and they will require no heat in most areas once
frost danger is over. Grow your plants in peat mixture, potting mixture or your own soil-based medium, depending
on your preference. Feed them all with liquid seaweed or animal manure tea while they are growing vigorously.
In temperate climates, the earliest crops have to sown in a heated greenhouse but the sowing dates of many
vegetables can be brought forward by at least a month by using Gro-Rows outside with no heating. After raising
an early crop of salad plants, cover frost-tender vegetables like squashes, beans, and tomatoes. Since you will
harvest these well before outside sown crops are ready, you'll be eating them while shop prices are still high.
At the end of the season, the Gro-Rows can be used again to grow late vegetables while those in the outside
garden are finished. Once you have used Gro-Rows, you will not want to be without them. They will certainly
pay for themselves easily in the first season.
GRO-ROWS THROUGH THE SEASONS
Put your Gro-Rows over soil one month before planting.
This will dry and warm the soil. Do not close the ends.
Protect newly sown seed and seedlings.
In cool climates, cover mature tomatoes, egg plants and pepper plants to set and ripen fruit.
Use Gro-Rows to protect alpines and cactus from rotting in wet soil. Gro-Rows also make handy covers for
compost and equipment.
Plan year's crops; order seeds and seedlings. Sow onions in flats. Sow radishes in greenhouse soil. Bring in bulbs'
to flower in greenhouse. When bulbs are dome flowering, plant outside. Ventilate greenhouse on sunny days.
Ventilate when needed. Water sparingly. Sow lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, and bulb onions. Sow tomatoes
with additional heating such as an electric propagator or composting manure. Bring in more bulbs to replace those
that have flowered. Pot or divide ferns.
Sow lettuce, celery, mustard, and cress. Sow with additional heat eggplants, peppers, beans, tomatoes. Thin lettuce
seedlings (put out at end of March). Sow leeks, celery, peas, corn. Bring in more strawberries in pots. Sow alpines.
Take ornamental cuttings. Plant more bulbs in pots. Plant out rooted cuttings from winter. Sow half hardy annuals
Sow more lettuce, radish, mustard, cress, endive, parsley, corn, beans, and cucumbers. Pick radishes and lettuce.
Thin and begin to harden off seedlings. Take cuttings.
Plant eggplants, sweet peppers, okra, cucumbers and melons. Harvest early carrots turnips and beets. Plant
out tomatoes after last frost. Harden off more seedlings and plant out after frosts are over. Sow for winter flowers.
Harvest lettuce, radish, beans, etc.
Harvest peppers, lettuce, tomatoes in greenhouse etc.
Sow lettuce, radishes, alpine strawberries. Plant apricots, peaches, and grape vines. Harvest lettuces etc.
Sow hardy annuals for spring flowering in greenhouse. Pot hardy biennials for spring flowering. Plant bulbs.
Sow lettuce for spring. Plant fruit trees. Bring in tender perennials for over wintering. Sow annuals. Sow sweet peas.
Sow onions for transplanting. Box up rhubarb crowns, chicory (insulate if needed). Bring in pots of herbs for winter
supply.. Plant grapevines. Bring bulbs into greenhouse as shoots appear.
Harvest chicory. Bring in bulbs for spring flowering. Clean greenhouse.
HAPPY GREENHOUSE GARDENING
This booklet will give you general information about how to use your greenhouse effectively. However, it does
not contain the detailed information that would better enable you to utilize all your greenhouse's growing potential.
We therefore strongly recommend that you obtain some of the many excellent books on gardening in greenhouses
from your library or bookstore.
A broken pole can be repaired with a wooden insert such as a broom handle. Or replaced with class 200 or
125 PVC from a plumbing, hardware or building supply store.
Broken connectors can be replaced with class 200 or scq. 40 11-4" PVC. Cut to 5", and drill 1-4" hole in the center.
Wear eye protection when setting up you dome. The domes' poles could break and parts of the pole could fly toward
In heavy snow your dome could collapse which could damage what you have in it or compromise your shelter.
Your dome will blow away if it is not anchored properly. Study the anchoring instructions carefully and apply all
appropriate means to secure your dome to the earth. Rain will soften the ground and greatly reduce the holding
power of the stakes. We provide good general purpose stakes, but they cannot cover all ground conditions.
Wind will at times come up unexpectedly. Be prepared!
Remember that the dome is a lightweight, portable structure. Its strength comes from tension, not mass or rigid
components. Exposed sites with unusually extreme winds are not recommended. It is apparent that you could not
climb on top of the dome, nor can you expect it to support heavy snow loads. Accumulated snow, must be melted or
shaken off periodically.
Keep all flames and heat away from your domes covering and other objects in your dome.
1 1/2-YEAR GUARANTEE. If for any reason you're not completely pleased with your purchase, return it in original,
clean condition within 30 days of receipt for a full refund or exchange as you wish. All items in this catalog have a
warranty against defects in materials and workmanship for 1 1/2 years. Should any product prove defective we
will repair or replace it at no cost to you. Special Orders are not returnable. Read Snow and Wind Warnings.
Quite a few individuals are turning to newer portable garden greenhouses due to their good value. However space and budget are critical considerations if you plan to purchase a starter greenhouse, or even build your own. These things may help in the greenhouse decision-making process. When doing your planning, ensure your greenhouse will have access to all the essentials such as heat, air and water. After you do this preliminary planning, you can then decide the type of greenhouse that will fit your needs.
You have to decide if you want your greenhouse to stand by itself, or to be built onto another structure. The difference between an attached and free standing greenhouse is that you have direct access from inside the house on an attached, however you must physically leave the house to enter a free standing one. Another option is an indoor greenhouse, which is perfect if you do not have a lot of available space outdoors, or your region experiences very cold winters.
The classic barn-type greenhouse is the most common of the many different kinds of greenhouses available. Pre-fabricated greenhouses are a great choice that quite a few individuals opt for, as they are quick to set up and let you get gardening right away. However if you are serious about greenhouse gardening, you must consider building a permanent structure as it will be more durable over the long term. There are a few alternatives available to the pricey glass greenhouses you see on TV and in advertising. You will find that most of the pre-fabricated greenhouses are constructed of an aluminum frame and polycarbonate panels.
Building the biggest greenhouse you can afford and that will fit into the space you have available is the recommendation of those who love to garden in their greenhouse. Even though some are hesitant in doing this, a lot of them wind up enlarging their small greenhouse, which makes it more expensive in the long run. Many folks think it is unnecessary to have a large greenhouse, because they can’t imagine how they’re ever going to fill it up. But once folks start gardening, they’re likely to start growing so many plants that they won’t have room for them all.
Selecting plants that you’re familiar with can be an important decision to make when creating a garden greenhouse. You’ll be wasting your time if you are not committed to caring for the plants. Another thing to remember is that you must gather information about permits, requirements, and licensing in your area. This means you can spend your time tending to your plants instead of worrying about zoning concerns.
Beginner Greenhouse Gardening Tips
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 At 10:00AM
When it comes to gardening you’ll find that every one can go with a few tips and ideas, however, you shouldn’t
feel any different about greenhouse gardening. Everyone can use a tip every now and then to keep his or her
gardens looking wonderful. You’ll need to make sure that you allow your gardens to feel nurtured.
You’ll also want to make sure that you do everything that you can to keep your greenhouse healthy and
beautiful. Keep in mind that greenhouse gardening can be very time consuming. You’ll need to make sure
that you do everything that you can, but mostly, you just want to get into the routine of not ignoring your plants.
Once you get into the swing of things you’ll feel like an experienced gardener.
You will first want to consider the plants that you’ll be growing. When it comes to picking your crops you’ll want to
keep things simple. You don’t want to have too much of a variety, because you don’t want to overwhelm your garden,
but you’ll also want to make sure that you allow yourself to be challenged.
It all depends on your experience out in the gardens. Some people are very good at gardening and will take to the
hobby very naturally, but you’ll want to consider that there are just some people who were born without the green
When you are planning your greenhouse you’ll want to research all the plants that you have chosen. This way you
will understand their needs, but also you’ll be able to get the greenhouse up and going quickly. There is much to
consider when you are caring for your greenhouse.
You will find that there are some plants that are perfect for beginners because they will grow rather easily, but
you’ll want to keep all of your plant considerations in mind so that you can build the perfect greenhouse.
As a beginner you have to realize a few things. You’ll find that you don’t build a greenhouse and then let the
greenhouse take over. You’ll still need to put a lot of time and energy into the routine maintenance of the greenhouse.
You’ll find that when it comes to the routine bit you’ll need to do your normal weeding, watering, and feeding, but you’ll
also need to inspect the greenhouse for bug infestations and also any mechanical issues. You’ll need to make sure
that you check on the vents, the heating systems, and the cooling systems, as well as, other areas of the greenhouse.