For most beginner greenhouse gardeners, enthusiasm is at the peak as they try to figure out how to get it all right!
Unfortunately, without the right information, I can guarantee that the journey will be super-frustrating.
That’s why I’ll share with you over 10 greenhouse tips and tricks to keep your greenhouse gardening ride as smooth as it can be!
Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
7 Tips and Tricks for Maintaining a Greenhouse Garden
Avoid Seedlings and Cuttings, Start Planting Seeds
As much as possible, prioritize seeds over seedlings and cuttings.
Seedlings and cuttings from other gardens might come with insects or diseases that will eventually get transferred to the other crops in your greenhouse.
But still, ensure you plant more seeds than you need to because, for sure, not all will germinate!
Regular Garden Soil is a Disaster
Most ordinary soil compacts, making plant roots die. No wonder you’ll find that soils placed in big containers, the top sections are dry, while the bottom is bogged with water.
For best results, prepare a mix of 60% loam soil with 30% compost and 10% potting mix.
Of course, take that as a general guide and adjust it for your plants, if needed.
Grow Plants that are Greenhouse-Specific
For best results, it’d be better to specialize in growing plants that only flourish inside a greenhouse.
They’ll motivate you to do even better!
Think about tropical flowers, hot peppers, zucchini squash and other heat-loving vegetables.
Pest Management is a Priority
Many people overwinter plants that have stayed outside the greenhouse or look sickly.
By all means, avoid that. It’ll introduce pests into your greenhouse.
I’d instead advise installing insect screens around air intakes.
While at it, also keep pets away from your greenhouse. They can introduce diseases and insects to the greenhouse.
Insulate the North Wall of the Greenhouse
The north-facing wall really doesn’t bring in a lot of sunlight. Insulate it!
It’s common to find experienced greenhouse gardeners building the wall using lumber or brick and then painting a dark color on it.
This way, the wall retains a lot of heat energy and releases it slowly throughout the night!
Don’t Overwet Open-Ground Soil
If open ground soil is left very wet, when the temperatures rise, the water will start evaporating.
Higher humidity levels, which in turn affects air circulation.
If left unchecked for a long time, the plants will start rotting.
To prevent damping these delicate plants inside the greenhouse, water them from the bottom.
Also, check on them a couple of times every day to ensure they’re not too hot/cold, dry/wet – so that any negative events are detected and corrected early.
5 Greenhouse Must-Haves You Should Not Miss
Automatic Vent Openers
They’ll maintain the right temperatures inside the greenhouse, whether you’re there or not!
The best thing is that they don’t use electricity!
All automatic vent openers have a cylinder filled with mineral wax. When it gets too hot inside the greenhouse, the wax melts, pushing the pistons on the vent/windows to open.
When the wax cools, it contracts, pulling the pistons inside, thereby closing the vents.
Digital Hygrometer + Thermometer
These 2-in-1 devices ensure that the humidity and temperatures inside the greenhouse remain as desired.
No greenhouse gardener should miss this one!
The alarm sends alerts on your smartphone or computer.
It tracks carbon dioxide levels, temperature, humidity, ventilation, etc.
Latest – but more expensive – designs can even alert you on water supply changes, power outage and greenhouse equipment failures.
Shade cloths come in handy when the sun is glaring.
Especially during the summer when the sun is up all day.
The thing is, even during the winter, you’ll need shade cloths after 6 hours of glaring sun.
Always remember that too much heat from the sun can destroy plants, whether inside or outside the greenhouse.
During the winter, temperatures could go below freezing.
In such times, a greenhouse heater will come in handy!
By the way, it’s different from the common house heater…
3 Greenhouse Essentials to Make Gardening Easier and Cheaper
There’s no sense walking to the house storage every time you need a greenhouse tool or supply.
How about setting up storage for the tools and supplies you use most frequently right inside your greenhouse?
Shelves on a lumber/brick northern wall is a fantastic idea!
Many greenhouse kits have gutters.
If this is not the case for yours, you can always install them yourself (of course with professional help).
The water may or may not be enough to water the plants throughout, but it’ll definitely save you a few dollars on the water bill!
Disclaimer: Check with your local authorities if water harvesting is allowed. There are regions where it’s illegal.
An all-purpose bench with a comfortable height to use when repotting or cleaning up greenhouse pots and tools is a great idea!
You’ll do all those tasks while standing, plus there’ll be extra space for storage under the bench.
What to Grow in a Greenhouse?
Here’s a list of plants that do well in greenhouses.
- Tender plants – French beans, cucumbers, peppers, chilies, aubergines, etc.
- Fruits – tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes, melon and lemons, etc.
- Vegetables – carrots, kale, spinach, green onions, eggplants, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, etc.
What NOT to Grow in a Greenhouse?
Not all plants do well in greenhouses. Yes, they will still grow for harvest, but they’re better off outside.
- Hardy spring bulbs – such as tulips and hyacinth.
- Vegetables – garlic, ginger, onions, potatoes, beetroots, turnips, turmeric and radishes
How to use a greenhouse?
The first time grower