In many ways, greenhouse gardening is similar to traditional agriculture. The climate, soil and other environmental factors must be taken into account when deciding on the what, when, where and how of choosing, sowing and harvesting the plants. In fact, if you are well-versed in the traditional methods of gardening, transitioning into greenhouse and hydroponics gardening is easier than it appears to be.
The trick is in tweaking the knowledge, techniques and tricks learned to suit greenhouse gardening. Information about the specific technologies used is also useful for the success of the endeavor. Here then are a few popular, easy and effective tips in greenhouse gardening to get you started on the enjoyable task.
Each plant requires certain techniques from sowing the seeds to transplanting the seedlings and, finally, to harvesting the crops. It is, thus, of great importance to read up on the most effective ways to cultivate plants based on their types.
A few general rules apply. First, it is best to cultivate plants that are native to the area where the greenhouse is located. Crop management will then be easier since the plants have already acquired the essential mechanisms for survival in the climate. Exotic plants can also be planted but with a greater degree of expertise.
Second, the plants must be chosen carefully to correspond with the seasons. This is true even in a greenhouse where climate can be controlled since the external environment exerts considerable influence on the ways with which the greenhouse is kept relatively cool during the day and warm during the night even in the dead of winter. For example, cool plants like beets, broccoli and cauliflowers are best sown in winter while heat-loving plants such as watermelons, cantaloupes and tomatoes are best for summer.
Most greenhouse plants are heavy feeders meaning that relatively larger amounts of fertilizers are necessary for maximum growth. The gardener must also be able to balance the ratios between the components of fertilizers – nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – of which knowledge in traditional agriculture will be useful.
It is important to choose the brand of complete fertilizers with all the essential nutrients like iron, manganese, zinc, calcium, hydrogen, oxygen and sodium, to name a few. These nutrients are micro nutrients, macro nutrients and minerals. The ratio of these nutrients depends on the stage of the plant growth although we must emphasize that it is not a good idea to drown the plants in fertilizers either.
Water is yet another critical factor in the development of plants in the greenhouse mainly because the nutrients are carried in it as well as that water provides for much-needed moisture to prevent the plants from wilting. But watering has its techniques, too, in greenhouse gardening.
On one hand, water acts as a counterpoint to the overheating of the greenhouse especially during the hot summer months. The plants must be watered on a regular basis to make them less vulnerable to the extreme heat. On the other hand, water must be controlled so as to avoid the build-up of humidity within the greenhouse. Take note that excess humidity is also harmful to the plants especially where pest management is concerned.
To make the gardener’s life easier, an automatic misting system is installed to complement the ventilation, cooling and heating systems in place. Basically, it will distribute moisture throughout the greenhouse through the dispersal of water from ultra fine nozzles. In a way, it also functions as the automatic watering system.
Another important aspect of greenhouse gardening is the control of light that directly touches the plants. For natural light, the whole greenhouse should be oriented towards the south for maximum exposure to the sun. The panels can be raised during the hot days to provide the plants with direct exposure to the sunlight as well as to aid in ventilation and cooling.
For artificial grow lights like metal halide and sodium lamps, direct exposure should only be at night and during cloudy days. Otherwise, the plants can wilt under the intense heat of these light sources. Greenhouse experts also recommend LED lights for the purpose.
These are just a few of the mist popular greenhouse gardening tips, of course. You should read gardening books for more in-depth tips, tricks and techniques on the subject matter, thus, increasing your chances for success.