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Grow Plants Year-Round with a Greenhouse

Spring is in the air, and building a greenhouse can be a fun activity for beginners and experienced home gardeners alike. Greenhouse gardening allows one to cultivate vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs and plants in an enclosed environment that’s temperature controlled year-round. The house essentially protects these items from pests and animals, while extending the growing season for these products. Having year-long access to your favorite blooms and foods is a gardener’s dream!

Building your own greenhouse doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Carmen Soergel, head grower at Soergel Orchards said, “Don’t be afraid to embrace the internet for DIY tutorials or look for innovative ways to repurpose materials that can be used for construction or as equipment inside the greenhouse.”

Home improvement stores often sell full kits to get you started. You’ll also need a few basic tools like a power drill, circular saw, screws and nails. Griffin Greenhouse Supplies, Inc. is a well-known supplier in the industry for specific building supplies, including more sophisticated products, all found on its website.

Once you have your greenhouse ready to go, it’s time to start packing it with your favorite items. Located in Wexford, Soergel Orchards carries a variety of plants, seeds, veggies, herbs and flowers, which are plentiful during the spring season.

While there are many advantages of building a greenhouse, beginners should be mindful of costs. Some entry-level kits can cost hundreds of dollars—going up to more luxury options in the thousands. However, greenhouses are typically inexpensive to operate and maintain. If this is a new project for you, consider a simpler indoor garden to start.

Soergel shared his tips on how to get started and extend the life of the greenhouse. “A greenhouse doesn’t have to be from professionally manufactured parts and fittings. Often, a few PVC rods and some plastic can suffice for extending your growing season. A cold frame, or a greenhouse without a heater, will extend your growing season about a month on each end. Often, a rudimentary greenhouse can be installed over a raised bed so that you can get your starts going a little bit earlier. The best part is that it can double as a barrier for pests and deer.”

Experts also said that ventilation is key. While a greenhouse is made to help trap heat, too much heat and humidity can be harmful to plants, increase disease issues and limit the plants’ ability to transpire (or sweat). It’s recommended to manually open and close doors or windows within the garden as necessary to keep products alive. Fans are another important item to consider adding to indoor gardens. They bring consistent fresh air while regulating temperatures and humidity.

Another tip is to plan a water schedule, whether it’s with an irrigation system or manually using a hose. While there are many factors to watering the greenery, the general rule of thumb for most plants is to water everything once or twice each week. However, during the summer, you’ll need to water more to help plants stay healthy and hydrated. In the winter, watering can be less frequent. Additional factors include soil type and moisture level measurements. Using a soil moisture meter, take regular readings to see if the plants need more or less water during each season. If you notice dry soil, the plants will need more water. Any signs of root rot mean plants were overwatered. Further, wilted leaves mean dry plants, and yellowed foliage indicates too much water.

When it comes to light, see how much natural light the indoor garden is receiving. If there’s not enough natural light hitting the greenhouse, you’ll need to set up an automated heating system to control the temperature daily.

While growing vegetables is one of the most common uses for a greenhouse, flowers are another viable addition. Enjoy growing your favorite blooms all year long, no matter the season. Popular greenhouse flowers to grow include roses, orchids, gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums. Keep an eye out on the products as they bloom, as you may need to adjust humidity, lighting and do other maintenance to keep the flowers in good health.

While not all greenhouses are the same, take your time to research and plan so the garden can thrive in the long run.

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