A greenhouse for me is like a man cave for a bloke – but with what I feel has far greater benefits. Inside those opaque walls lays my mini retreat venue to fossic amongst the pots and plants. Greenhouse growing gives me such a boost of pride. Yes the pride comes from feeling I am getting ahead early with growing lots of great things. I’m the gal who is usually late… annnnd will burn the midnight oil to get a writing project done instead of pacing myself slowly throughout the month. Ya ha I know I am not alone in this; and this is where my love of greenhouse growing comes in… I can actually be ahead of something and feel super organized! Tomato seeds, cucumber, beans, courgettes and corn are ready for being sown now in a greenhouse. This early gardening also helps with my love of growing food slash slight addiction to growing food, as I don’t have to wait as long as others to get my hands dirty after what feels like a forever cold winter. When I see those daffodils show their sunny faces, I know it is time to get sowing and get a head start in the race (all be it a personal thing) of harvesting the first tomato.
I wanted to be sure this month you were set up with some basics of what to do to ward off potential problems in your growing attempts. I do have horror memories early in my edible garden coaching career of visiting friends greenhouses who were in disillusion after their house was a death trap for vulnerable seedlings who were being prematurely burnt to a crisp or eaten alive by an infestation of white fly. One thing for sure that if you want your greenhouse to look like the pretty pictures in the magazines you need to follow a few simple rules.
Water – Water in the morning to avoid burning the plants leaves and water low down at the soil level rather than wetting the leaves to reduce risk of fungal or bacterial outbreak.
Ventilation – Your greenhouse really must have a roof vent to allow for air flow. Keep this vent and your door open during the day and close at night.
Pest bugs – Control of whitefly can be achieved with non toxic whitefly traps that the bugs are attracted to. Hang these above your plants. Planting Borage in your Greenhouse will also deter whitefly and if things get carried away then use Neem Oil to manage an outbreak of bugs.
Too much summer sun – In the heat of the summer you can literally cook your plants. When looking for a new greenhouse I always suggest to invest in twin wall polycarbonate panels. The light will be diffused and the requirement of putting up shade cloth will be reduced. In some areas sunshine is still very intense or you may have an existing clear greenhouse. If this is your story then erect some shade cloth to soften the effects of the harsh Summer sun or use a greenhouse white wash paint to apply to the inside of the window glass.
Too much wind – Your greenhouse needs to be in the sunniest Winter sun location for best growing results. This will give you the longer season time planting that is the benefit to growing indoors. Site your greenhouse where it is protected by wind and plant some great fast growing hedging like Feijoa, Griselinia littoralis or Corokia to slow down the wind intensity. While your hedging plants are young then a simple trellis panel screen will act as some protection to your little shed.
Extend your growing season at both ends of spring and autumn with a greenhouse.