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Greenhouse gardening is a great way to start gardening or extend your growing season. This type of gardening allows you to create the ideal conditions for your plants to grow and flourish.
It’s typically used to grow various plants, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
However, there are some things you must consider before deciding if greenhouse gardening is right for you.
Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening
1. Ability to control the growing environment
Growing plants in a greenhouse allow you to tweak the environment for optimal plant growth.
By controlling temperature, humidity, and light levels, growers can ensure that plants receive the ideal amount of each of these factors.
A controlled environment also protects the plants from pests and diseases. Keeping the greenhouse free of insects and fungi minimizes the need for pesticides and herbicides, both of which can be harmful to plants.
Greenhouse gardening provides a consistent and stable environment, helping you produce higher quality and quantity crops.
2. Extend the growing season
Savvy farmers use greenhouses to start and extend the growing season.
Enclosing a planting area in a structure that traps heat creates a microclimate ideal for crop growth. In the spring, greenhouses are used to start plants earlier than possible outdoors. And in the fall, you can extend the growing season by protecting plants from frost damage.
In addition to starting and extending the growing season, greenhouses protect plants from pests and diseases. By controlling the environment inside the greenhouse, you can create an inhospitable environment for pests and diseases, preventing them from damaging your crops.
3. Experiment with different crops
Greenhouses provide a controlled environment for crops, a valuable asset for farmers in regions with challenging growing conditions. By regulating temperature, humidity, and ventilation, greenhouses create an optimal environment for plant growth, regardless of external conditions.
This allows farmers to grow crops that would otherwise not be able to thrive in the region.
For example, many tropical plants can only be successfully grown in a greenhouse due to their requirement for high humidity levels. Similarly, the controlled environment inside a greenhouse protects delicate flowers that would be damaged by frost.
1. Steep initial costs
The initial costs of setting up a greenhouse may be prohibitive to would-be gardeners.
Assuming you’re starting from scratch, the initial costs of setting up a greenhouse garden can be broken down into three categories: the cost of the greenhouse itself, the cost of preparing the site, and the cost of planting and maintaining the garden.
The cost of your greenhouse will vary depending on the size and type of greenhouse you choose. A small hobby greenhouse can start as low as $200, while a larger, commercial-grade greenhouse can cost upwards of $10,000. If you have the handyman skills to build your greenhouse, you can save money on this upfront cost.
The second major cost is preparing the site. The cost is minimal when you already have a suitable location for your greenhouse. However, these costs add up quickly if you need to level or grade the land, install a foundation, or run utilities to the site.
There are also the ongoing costs of planting and maintaining your garden. These costs vary depending on the type of plants you grow and the level of maintenance required. However, you can generally expect to spend around $50 per month on things like seeds, fertilizer, potting soil, and pest control.
2. Extra upkeep
Greenhouse gardens require more frequent attention than traditional gardens for a few reasons.
First, greenhouses quickly trap heat and humidity because they are enclosed, leading to fungal problems like mold and mildew.
Greenhouses that rely on artificial lighting may require more watering than traditional gardens. As a result, greenhouse growers need to be vigilant in their maintenance to produce healthy plants.
Here is a checklist for your greenhouse garden that should be performed every week:
- Check the vents and doors to ensure they are open or closed as needed.
- Check the structure of the greenhouse for any signs of damage or wear. Repair any damaged areas promptly to prevent further deterioration.
- Inspect the plants for signs of pests or disease.
- Remove any dead leaves or flowers.
- Water the plants as needed.
- Check the temperature and humidity levels.
- Adjust the ventilation as needed.
3. Susceptibility to pests and diseases
While enclosed, controlled spaces are great for plant growth; they also attract a host of challenges, especially pests and diseases.
Greenhouses provide an ideal environment for pests and diseases to flourish, and the enclosed space makes it difficult to control their spread.
In addition, many greenhouse plants are highly susceptible to pests and diseases. As a result, it is essential to take proactive measures to prevent and control these problems. Some basic steps include selecting disease-resistant varieties of plants, quarantining new arrivals, and regularly inspecting plants for signs of trouble.
In addition, prompt removal of affected plants can help to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. By taking these precautions, gardeners can minimize the impact of pests and diseases in their greenhouses.
Overall, greenhouse gardening is an excellent way to dip your toes into growing your food. The controlled environment removes barriers to what you can grow and when. Greenhouses also boost your quality and output.