Growing your own Fruits and Vegetables in the Greenhouse Year-Round
Growing our own fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse year-round is becoming more and more appealing. Organic gardening and starting plants from seed each season saves families money while providing guaranteed healthy and safe crops of fruits and vegetables. Growing year round in the greenhouse requires a little different work schedule than growing fruits and vegetables in the garden.
Maintaining temperatures in the year-round greenhouse
Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse year-round requires maintaining a favorable temperature inside the greenhouse for the plants. A “warm” greenhouse must maintain a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (you can also grow many foods in a cool greenhouse and keep the temperature lower, click here for a list). This allows most fruits and vegetables to grow year-round. In summer months, the warm greenhouse must be cooled to maintain a temperature under 100 degrees Fahrenheit to continue growth. Any fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, stop growing once the air temperature reaches 100 degrees or higher.
Controlling the light in the year round greenhouse
Most garden-variety fruits and vegetables require a certain amount of sunlight in order to produce crops. In the winter months with shorter days, a grow light can add extra light to extend the daylight hours and help your plants grow. A grow light is also helpful on those dark dreary days when very little like makes it into the greenhouse.
In the sunny days of summer, some varieties of fruits and vegetables require a few hours of shade to provide optimal growth. It may also be necessary to shade areas of your greenhouse to help control temperatures in the dog days of summer.
Planning a seed starting schedule
When growing fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse year-round, you will need to start seeds throughout the year to provide crops year-round. Tomatoes, for example, are started from seed in early January and July to provide tomatoes in both the summer and winter months. Each growing season varies according to your geographical location and the conditions maintained inside your greenhouse. Consulting an experienced greenhouse gardener in your area or your local gardening extension office, may be necessary to help you work out a planting schedule for year-round crop production.
Pollination in the greenhouse
Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse year-round differs from growing fruits and vegetables in a garden in many ways, and one the most obvious differences is pollination. In traditional garden growing, insects (such as bees), the wind, and heavy rainfalls pollinate fruits and vegetables. In greenhouse growing, these pollinating factors are most often absent or inadequate to provide proper pollination of plants.
To help pollinate your plants, you must watch your vegetation closely for sign of peak pollination times. For tomatoes, the leaves of the blossoms begin to curl during prime pollination time. Once tomatoes blossoms begin to curl, you generally have three days to pollinate your plants. Pollination in greenhouse tomatoes is performed by tapping the stakes used to support your mature plants.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the greenhouse year-round takes a little more knowledge and effort than growing fruits and vegetables only in summer, but the rewards are spectacular when you serve fresh veggies to your dinner guests in the bleak winter months.
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