Advantages of Cold Weather Hydroponic Gardening

Just because the weather gets colder, that doesn’t mean you have to go without fresh vegetables. With the help of hydroponic gardening, you can enjoy salads, cucumbers and tomatoes even though winter might traditionally dictate those crops are out of season.

Many growers prefer to turn to hydroponic gardening in the cooler months, with sales starting to climb in August and extending through April as they help fill the void of what’s usually available.

Generally, this method of gardening is regarded for its environmental friendliness—it uses less water and doesn’t erode topsoil. The growth rate is faster, so the yield is higher. Plants absorb more oxygen, which helps stimulate root growth and take in more nutrients. Some even say hydroponically-grown produce is packed with more nutrition and it tastes better.

But why winter hydroponic gardening? Of course, it helps provide fresh vegetables year-round, so you can enjoy the straight-from-the-vine taste of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and other greens—all ideal for throwing together a salad that takes you right back to the fondness for summer.

To get to that point, you have to actually do some work in your garden, and that can be helpful in fighting the seasonal blahs. In other words, you don’t have to wait for spring, and you don’t have to wait a while for crops to grow since everything grows faster using the hydroponic method.

Additional options for winter growing in your hydroponic garden are carrots, broccoli, spinach and herbs, such as oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, thyme and chives, to add even more flavor to your foods.

To successfully pull off hydroponic gardening in the winter months, you will have to take into account several things. You may need to supplement less natural light during the shorter days with artificial options, and that means higher energy costs.

Drier air in cooler weather means having to add humidity with a humidifier or even misting the plants. Along with managing light and humidity, it’s important to keep the temperature in check. Swings in temperature can send plants into shock. It’s recommended to maintain a 60 degrees Fahrenheit environment.

How can you get started on your hydroponic garden this winter? Call one of our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, so we can help you get growing!

 

Calculating How Much Heat Is Needed for Your Greenhouse

greenhouse heater calculator Gothic Arch GreenhouseProperly heating your greenhouse is important as the warmer weather of autumn gives way to the cooler climate of winter.

But if your goal is to heat it efficiently, you’ll want to take these steps to more accurately determine how many BTUs are required to maintain the temperature you want.

To make your calculations, you’ll want to begin with precise measurements. Measuring tape, a calculator, and pencil and paper are requirements to gather this information. But depending the size of your greenhouse, you may also need a ladder or some additional help.

Record the following measurements to help you determine the total square feet of your greenhouse’s surface area:

  • Measurement 1: Height of the greenhouse sidewall from the ground to the lowest roof point.
  • Measurement 2: Length of the longest greenhouse wall.
  • Measurement 3: Length of the shortest greenhouse wall.
  • Measurement 4: Height from the ground to the highest point of the greenhouse roof.
  • Measurement 5: Length from the highest to lowest roof point along one eave.

To calculate the total surface area, add measurement 1 and 5 and multiply the total times 2, then add the number from measurement 2. Then add measurement 1 and 4, and multiply times measurement 3. Add these two numbers together, and you have the total surface area in square feet.

Next, record the desired temperature in Fahrenheit that you wish to maintain in your greenhouse. Subtract the coldest temperature your greenhouse experiences from this number—or add the two if it is a negative reading.

Make note of the heat loss value of your greenhouse covering. With these three calculations, you can determine the number of BTUs required to heat your greenhouse by multiplying the square feet by the temperature difference by the heat loss value. Or you can apply your measurements to our online greenhouse BTU calculator.

When shopping for a greenhouse heater, keep this number in mind. Purchase a unit that meets this minimum BTU output, but not much higher than what your calculations have suggested.

If you need assistance determining your heating needs for your greenhouse, please call one of our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouse.com. We’ll be happy to help you get your greenhouse prepped for winter!

 

5 Benefits of a Gothic Arch-Style Greenhouse

The Gothic-arched greenhouse design is, as our name implies, our signature product. In the 1950s, relationships with the many ornamental nurseries in the Gulf Coast area helped steer the company’s initial import/export focus toward horticulture.

But it was through the eventual association with the agricultural colleges in Alabama that the Gothic arch became Gothic Arch Greenhouses’ flagship design.

While university programs could boast higher-end greenhouses featuring aluminum, steel or glass, secondary and post-secondary vocational ones could not. From that need for affordable, yet durable greenhouses, the Gothic-arch style became our initial focus.

Now decades later, we still stand behind this design for all of these reasons a Gothic-arch style greenhouse is a great choice for growers today.

Durability. The Gothic-arch design is well-regarded for its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy snowfall. The half-teardrop shape of the roof is ideal for allowing snow and rain to easily run off and preventing damage from substantial accumulation of precipitation or debris.

Efficient Construction. The arched roof of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse eliminates the need for structural trusses. This technique requires less construction material, which not only helps reduce costs, but also makes construction faster and easier.

Flexible Design. Because of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse design, you have some options when it comes to the installation. Whether you mount the greenhouse at grade level or higher on a foundation wall, you can decide how high you want to locate the structure.

More Overhead Space. The Gothic arch features more height from the high profile of the ridge in the center, which creates space for growers who specialize in or want to try their hand at taller specialty crops (like tomatoes and cucumbers), as well as many tropical trees.

Aesthetics. Many growers appreciate the simple beauty of the Gothic-arch design. A variation of the Quonset style—which features a semicircular frame—the Gothic arch, as its name implies, gets its graceful curve from the walls being bent from the base, making a graduating curve that peaks at the roof. 

Is the Gothic-arch style greenhouse right for you? If you still have questions, please contact our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we’ll be happy to assist you with your purchase!

The Future of Greenhouse Irrigation

Greenhouse Irrigation New Technology Gothic Arch GreenhouseIrrigation is a common problem for greenhouse growers, from large-scale nursery operations to hobby gardening enthusiasts. Ensuring that your plants get the right amount of water—without overdoing it or underdoing it—requires attention to detail.

With precision of water application in mind, technology that improves efficiency of delivery and conservation of this resource has driven advancements in the field of greenhouse irrigation systems. These options are just a few options for growers with conservation in mind.

Drip Irrigation. These automated systems, once primarily used by large-scale growers, are now also favored by small- to medium-sized operations as well. Drip systems can cut water use in half, while also yielding superior crops (in terms of size and root length, among other characteristics) than traditional methods, like overhead sprinklers. Drip irrigation systems are widely considered to be affordable and easy to install.

Fertigation. Combining precise fertilizer application with efficient irrigation is a process known as fertigation. Not only does this help conserve fertilizer and water, but also can improve crop yield and quality. In a greenhouse setting, fertigation can increase production by almost 60 percent. Often set up in conjunction with a drip tape irrigation system, fertigation helps deliver nutrients more directly to plants’ roots.

Hydroponics. Prized for its efficiency and environmental friendliness, hydroponics is often considered the future of growing. Waste is at a minimum, as water is recycled and reused. A hydroponic system requires less than 10 percent of water to grow a similar crop in soil. And it takes 60 percent less fertilizer to nourish crops. In addition to these sustainability benefits, hydroponic systems yield larger, more nutritious produce.

Sensor-Based Irrigation. Sensor technology has led to even greater accuracy in water application. Using sensor-based systems allows growers to precisely measure irrigation timing and application rates. This has proven to reduce use of irrigation water, labor, energy and fertilizer. Some studies have shown that the use of sensor-based irrigation systems can accelerate production of container and greenhouse plants, which results in increased profitability.

Are your plants getting the water they need efficiently and effectively? We can help you make improvements to your irrigation system! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

Essential Greenhouse Supplies for Fall and Winter

Fall Winter Greenhouse Essential Supplies Gothic ArchReady your greenhouse for the fall and winter to ensure it’s prepared to weather the changes in season.

With just a few essentials, you can make the necessary repairs and have replacement supplies on hand to carry you through the cooler and colder months.

Not sure where to begin? Gather these items and check off the items on this list, and your greenhouse will be well equipped for the seasons ahead.

Glazing. As you’re doing the recommended deep-clean of your greenhouse between seasons, inspect the glass. Check to make sure the glazing is intact, and make any necessary repairs to the areas that aren’t.

Insulation. Capturing heat for the cooler seasons is important if you’re planning on growing in your greenhouse year-round. Inspect your greenhouse coverings, and replace or repair any broken glass, and torn or damaged roofing.

Sealant. With energy efficiency still in mind, examine the foundation, and around vents and doors to ensure all leaks are sealed. Keep sealant on hand to make repairs as needed—regardless of season!

Fuel. Have plenty of fuel at your disposal to power your heating system through the cooler (and colder!) days ahead. Take your heating system for a trial run as well to determine if any replacement parts are needed order them now.

Oil or Grease. Time to check the operation of vents, doors and automated windows. Apply oil or grease on the hinges for optimal function. Also check that vents are clear and any tears or holes in screens are repaired.

Replacement Parts. While you’re testing your heating system, don’t forget to check the lighting and irrigation systems as well. Ensure they are working properly, make any repairs and order common replacement parts to have if needed.

Do you have everything you need to prep your greenhouse for the fall and winter? Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we can help outfit you with all the supplies you need!

7 of the Most Profitable Greenhouse Crops

Best Vegetables to Grow in a Greenhouse for ProfitYou don’t have to be a commercial grower to turn your gardening endeavors into profit. From the cities to the suburbs to the country, your passion for gardening can help you generate extra income if you do it right.

With a growing demand for fresh locally-sourced herbs and vegetables, a greenhouse grower of any size can capitalize off this trend.

One of the most important steps is to select what you want to grow. Some suggest sticking with a single crop that you can pour your efforts into, rather than an assortment of plants that may have different needs in terms of water, fertilization and shade.

Then you should realistically try to evaluate the volume of what you have the space and time to grow. From there, estimate plant production costs in relation to market prices to determine your profit margin.

Back to crop selection, if you’re just starting out, it’s best to begin with something that will set you up for success. These plants thrive in a greenhouse environment, and they are some of the most profitable crops you can grow.

Tomatoes. The most common greenhouse crop, tomatoes can also be quite prolific and, thus, profitable. Many varieties—cherry, grape, beefsteak and tomatoes on the vine—are available, and are popular as locally sold vegetable.

Lettuce. This hardy vegetable is available in many colors and varieties, ranging from cut to head lettuce, is relatively easy to grow, and is most profitable in local sales directly to the consumer.

Peppers. Maybe just as popular and with even more varieties than tomatoes, peppers do pose some challenges, as they are described as the most difficult greenhouse crop to grow. But they can be quite profitable nonetheless.

Cucumbers. The versatility of the cucumber makes it a popular crop, which makes it profitable for the grower. However, some cucumber varieties pose a challenge in keeping them fresh after a harvest. Still, organic and off-season cucumbers can draw higher prices.

Spinach. This is another leafy green that thrives in a greenhouse environment. Spinach has a tendency to grow quickly, depending on growing conditions. When grown and sold locally, it’s prized for its freshness and taste.

Herbs. Easy to start your growing (and selling) efforts with, herbs are in demand by grocery stores and restaurants. Some of the most popular are basil, chives, oregano, cilantro and parsley, and they can be packaged and sold dried or undried.

Strawberries. These berries can be another lucrative option for greenhouse growing. In-season strawberries are relatively inexpensive, but gardeners who can master some of the challenges of growing them—pest management and pollination, for example—can command high off-season prices.

Need supplies to get your gardening business going? Not sure where to begin? Call us at Gothic Arch Greenhouses today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more. We can help!

How to Select Shade Cloth for Your Greenhouse

Greenhouse Shade Cloth Gothic Arch GreenhouseIncorporating shade cloth in your greenhouse is essential for managing temperature and protecting your plants. But greenhouse shade cloth isn’t a one-size-fits-all component.

In general, shade cloth helps reduce the amount of sunlight—and as a result, heat—that enters your greenhouse, making it an energy-efficient addition to your setup as well.

Shade cloth is available in knitted and woven varieties, and knitted shade cloth can be purchased in densities ranging from 30 percent to 90 percent, so it can be tailored to different plants, flowers and crops.

Densities refer to the amount of light that is blocked by the shade. So a 90 percent density, for example, blocks that amount of light, only allowing 10 percent to shine through.

Though the general guide for vegetables is 30 percent to 50 percent, it’s especially important to take into account your growing region and what you’re growing when selecting your shade cloth. A majority of growers use 50 percent to 60 percent shade cloth density, but those in southern states may opt for 70 percent to 80 percent density because of the heat. Yet, growers in the northern states may choose those higher densities if they are tending to light-sensitive plants.

Knitted shade cloth is suitable for greenhouse applications because the variety of densities makes it possible to customize it to your growing needs. But it’s also more durable than woven shade cloth, as it resists tearing, unraveling, wind damage and more.

Some shade cloth features reflective properties, which act as a mirror to reflect unwanted sunlight and heat. In cooler months, such shade cloth works to trap needed heat inside the greenhouse.

Whatever growing operation you have or whatever type of shade cloth you need, we can help outfit your greenhouse! Call us at Gothic Arch Greenhouses today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

How to Get Started After Buying a Greenhouse

Getting Started With A Greenhouse Gothic ArchInvesting in a greenhouse is an exciting first step to take your gardening efforts to the next level. But once you’ve bought your greenhouse and set it up on your property, what next?

Of course, learning how to manage temperature control (based on your growing region) and irrigation needs (based on what you’re growing) play an important role, but when it comes down to just getting your greenhouse up and running, these are some essential beginning steps.

Supplies. You can’t get started without the basic greenhouse growing supplies, like pots, plants, gloves, tools and a watering can or garden hose. Because monitoring temperature is so crucial, add a thermostat or thermometer to that list.

Select crops. Keep in mind the types of flowers, vegetables or herbs that thrive in your region, and start with those to set yourself up for success. As you become more comfortable or experienced—or even if you want to experiment—you may want to expand your selection.

Prepare for planting. Get everything ready to begin. Make sure your greenhouse is clean, your pots and tools are properly sterilized, even your potting soil is free of pests and bacteria (especially if you are mixing your own).

Start your seedlings! Move your seedlings into planting pots so they can grow and thrive! Be careful not to introduce outside pests into your greenhouse environment, and give your budding plants room to develop.

Be aware. Inspect plants for any signs of pests, overwatering or overheating. Make notes in a journal if that helps you track temperature (relative to time of day) and the amount of water your plants are receiving.

Keep things neat and tidy. As your plants start to flourish, you’ll need room to spread them out—or add to your greenhouse—so keep it well organized. This can also help you maximize your work area and discourage pests.

Try a “greenhouse-only” plant. While it’s advisable to grow plants that are suitable for your growing region, you should also try your hand at one you can only grow in a greenhouse. Tap into the power of your new investment and challenge your green thumb!

Network with others. Before you spend too much time and money in experimentation, reach out to other local or regional gardeners, whether through community groups or online forums. Learn from seasoned growers about what works and what doesn’t—and grow your gardening circle in the process!

Whether you’re in the market for a greenhouse or you’re ready to stock up on greenhouse supplies, contact us today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com!

Why Buy a Greenhouse

Reasons to Buy a Greenhouse Gothic Arch GreenhouseA greenhouse opens up a whole new world of gardening possibilities, but it’s understandable if you’re on the fence about whether you should make the investment.

Just like gardening, a greenhouse requires an investment of your time, money and, yes, even patience. Before you buy, you’ll have to take into account your budget, how much space you need (or want) and consider where you’ll place the greenhouse on your property.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses carries an extensive selection of greenhouse models for everyone, ranging from hobby gardeners to commercial growers to research and educational structures. First-time greenhouse owners and hobbyists may choose from our lean-to series to our luxury offerings—or anything in between!

Once you’ve made these all-important decisions that help steer you in the direction of the greenhouse model that is right for you, remind yourself of all of these exciting reasons to reinforce your decision to make that purchase in the first place. These are just some of the many gardening possibilities that lie ahead for you!

Protect your plants through the winter. No need to wonder whether your plants will survive your region’s harsh winters—or even an unseasonable cold snap. Simply move them inside your greenhouse, where they’ll find warmth to survive the season so they can be reused the next year.

Enjoy the fresh taste of vegetables year-round. Don’t let cooler weather put an end to the fresh bounty on your table. Take your gardening efforts inside your greenhouse! Plant the veggies you know and love or experiment with varieties that thrive in winter greenhouses, like carrots, spinach, cabbage, parsley, radishes and celery.

Try your hand at growing exotic plants. Add some ornamental flair to your greenhouse in the dark days of winter by attempting to grow tropical or exotic plants. Tropicals such as orchids, hibiscus and cacti, or ornamentals like geraniums, caladiums and poinsettias are built to thrive in the (reasonable) heat of a greenhouse.

Choose the seeds you want to start. With a greenhouse, you aren’t obligated to grow according to the seasons. So be a little adventurous when you browse the seed catalog, knowing that your greenhouse allows you to think (and garden) outside the box!

Sit inside and soak up sun like you’re outside. If it’s too cold to curl up and read or enjoy a cup of coffee outside, take your favorite form of relaxation inside the greenhouse! Sunshine is more than just good for your plants—it’s good for the soul too!

Ready to buy your greenhouse? Give us a call today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more about our selection.

Summer Greenhouse Essentials

Summer Greenhouse Essentials Gothic Arch GreenhousesPlanning on turning your greenhouse into a year-round venture?

While a greenhouse is especially helpful for starting seedlings in the late winter or even the early cooler days of spring, many gardeners use theirs to extend their growing season.

With the onset of the heat of the summer, managing the climate inside the greenhouse can pose a bit of a challenge if you’re not prepared. But if you’ve got these summer greenhouse essentials on hand, consider yourself prepared for the higher temperatures.

Ventilation system. First and foremost, you want to prevent your greenhouse from overheating, which is likely the biggest danger your plants face. Natural ventilation methods, such as roof and sidewall vents, or mechanical systems that incorporate automated vents and exhaust fans is a big step toward managing summer temperatures.

Shadecloth. With the threat of overheating in mind, you can also protect your plants from getting too much direct sunlight. Of course, you’ll have to be mindful of what you’ve planted, how much light it needs and even the climate of your region. Southern sun is especially hot, but shadecloth—available in different thicknesses—can help appropriately filter the light your plants are getting.

Cooling system. If the summer sun in your particular region is intense, consider complementing your approach to greenhouse growing by adding a cooling system. Whether a circulation fan to help keep the air flowing or an evaporative cooling system to lower the seasonally hot temperatures inside, this will help provide your plants a controlled environment where they can thrive.

Thermostat. To varying degrees based on your local climate, ventilation, shade and cooling must work together. With the help of a thermostat, you can successfully manage all three. Thermostats can be set to automatically control fans and allow you to monitor temperatures so you can make adjustments in ventilation or shading.

Still need some of these essentials for your summer greenhouse gardening? Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com and let us help you today!