Why Greenhouses in Schools Are Important

Gothic Arch Greenhouse School Greenhouse Education CareersJust what kind of impact can greenhouses have for schools? For starters, they can bring a multitude of lessons covered in the classroom to life and have a lasting influence on the students involved, making greenhouses in schools an important addition for many reasons.

Students—even those as young as elementary schoolcan see firsthand how weather affects growing conditions. Tending to plants teaches them responsibility, and they start to experience at an early age the reward of seeing your hard work blossom.

Middle schoolers may start branching out from the gardening and growing basics, conducting experiments related to temperature controls, fertilizers or even taking note of which plants may thrive in certain conditions or in their local climate.

In high school, students in horticultural programs continue to build on these lessons, possibly even developing entrepreneurial skillssuch as learning to manage costs or promoting their productsby selling the fruits of their labor.

This solid foundation could very well be preparation for entrance into a college or university horticultural program. And from there, a wealth of career options await in the field of horticulture. A horticulture degree can lead to a rewarding professional career in production, management, marketing, education and research. Graduates may also start their own businesses in fruit and vegetable production, landscape design and architecture, nurseries, greenhouses and much more.

The impact of horticulture on our everyday lives is all around us. It’s most obvious in the produce aisles of grocery stores or in farmers’ markets, but also in so many ways that we don’t readily see.

Research is underway to develop better ways to grow food more efficiently, to design more effective farming equipment or to improve pest management strategies, just to name a few. Still others manage public gardens, design landscapes for commercial and residential clients, or continue to help further the industry by becoming horticulture teachers.

Funding is available to help support schools who want to use a greenhouse to complement their curricula. Grants can be obtained through school systems, local gardening centers and even federal agencies to help bring a multitude of lessons to life for students.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses is a trusted supplier and willing partner to help schools of all sizes and budgets implement a greenhouse, establishing a quality foundation of horticultural training for their students. Not only are we well-versed in helping create everything from basic entry packages to professional-level greenhouse design and support, but also we have experience in customizing and tailoring turn-key projects, even within specific climatic and design parameter needs.

To help further the many careers horticultural training can provide, please contact us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

7 Gardening Resolutions for 2017

New Greenhouse New Years Resolution Gardening Resolutions 2017 Gothic ArchA new year always brings with it new resolutions. Most often, people tend to resolve to make changes for themselves, everything from getting in shape to getting out of debt.

But if you are eager to make some positive changes in 2017, don’t forget about your garden!

Whether you’ve made your own list or maybe you’re still thinking about it, these are just a start to get you thinking about even small improvements you can make in your garden that will also make a positive impact on your lifeand even the planet.

In the spirit of new beginnings and a fresh new outlook on 2017, these are seven gardening resolutions we’ve got in mind for the new year.

  • Plant native plants. They have the very best chance to thrive in local weather and soil conditions, which means they can also adapt to periods of stressful weather, such as drought or bitter cold. Even better, they attract native pollinators and birds.
  • Get serious about composting. You’ll get the benefit of reducing trash sent to the landfill, while helping build nutrient-rich soil in which your plants can thrive. Rather than using synthetic fertilizers, compost improves soil structure and water retention, and you can start small to get these big returns.
  • Reduce water usage. Conserve the water supply by making every drop count. Collect rainwater in barrels to use to fill up watering cans. Add a timer to your irrigation system so it doesn’t keep running if you forget to turn it off. Resolve to make little changes to work in harmony with nature!
  • Plant more herbs. Not only will this help you save money on grocery bills, but using fresh instead of dried will enhance to taste of the foods you cook. They’re easy to grow, and they add color and scent to your garden—or even small containers in your home or on your patio.
  • Take care of yourself. Gardening tasks sometimes involve a lot of repetitive motions. Save your muscles and joints by taking regular breaks or switch up your tasks often. Also consider labor-saving techniques, such as selecting disease-resistant plants and using ergonomic gardening tools.
  • Start gardening if you haven’t already! Gardening is good for you! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate exercise, such as gardening, can reduce the risk of many physical ailments, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It’s proven to reduce depression, save money, translate into healthier eating and so much more. And if you’re ready to take your gardening to the next level, set your sights on a sunny spot in your yard and invest in a greenhouse!
  • Enjoy your garden more! If you’re already well-versed in all the benefits of gardening, resolve to enjoy it even more. Whether you take regular walks through it, stop and smell the flowers or even admire your handiwork, make time to cultivate gratitude for the little things—in and out of your garden—this year.

Have questions on how to make the most of your garden or even how to get started? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com!

Common Winter Gardening Problems and Solutions

common winter greenhouse gardening problems and solutions gothic arch greenhouseA greenhouse is invaluable to extending your gardening efforts all year long. But that doesn’t mean you won’t face a special set of challenges when the weather changes.

Just because winter brings with it cooler temperatures doesn’t mean you can stop monitoring what’s going on in your greenhouse.

Water, light, temperature and air flow continue to be among your chief concerns as you navigate your plants through the colder weather.

Keeping those in mind, these are some of the most common problems you might face this winter and what you can do to prevent them early.

PROBLEM: Plants exhibit off-color foliage, wilt or indicate stunted growth.
SOLUTION: Know how to water properly! Overwatering or underwatering can lead to the above symptoms, and both can be corrected simply by adjusting water frequency that is consistent with good growth. Allow the soil to drain and dry to the point where most of the available water has been used. Rather than letting the calendar determine how much to water your plants, consider the plants’ needs when it comes to frequency, amount, application and water quality.

PROBLEM: Plants are weak and spindly and drastically bend toward a light source.
SOLUTION: These are some indications that your plants are receiving too little light. Your options are to remove the cause of the shade, relocate the plants (easy if they are in containers!) to receive more sunlight or even bring in artificial light that will help allow them to thrive. This is why even before selecting a site for your greenhouse, it’s important to consider light patterns during summer and winter so you can take advantage of the sunshine, then make adjustments as needed.

PROBLEM: Plants grow slowly, indicate leaf burn or feature small, thick leaves.
SOLUTION: This may mean your plants are getting too much light. You can add shadecloth, install blinds or even add a coat of paint to help limit the amount of light your plants receive. You can also change up what you’re growing by selecting vegetables, flowers and the like that need more light. This is yet another reason why you should carefully plan where you are going to locate a greenhouse and select plants that have the best chance of thriving given the environment you can provide.

PROBLEM: Plants wilt, exhibit slow growth or die.
SOLUTION: Introduce vents in your greenhouse. Just because the weather may get cooler in the winter doesn’t mean your greenhouse can’t overheat. It may be hard to believe but more plants die because of excessive heat rather than the extreme cold. Vents strategically placed in your greenhouse will help keep temperatures even and allow heat to escape naturally.

PROBLEM: Plants are dehydrated, show blackened foliage or appear water-soaked.
SOLUTION: Your plants may have gotten too cold. Greenhouse heaters will help to raise the temperature, but of course you’ll want to consider your local climate and the plants’ needs to determine what solution will work. You can also fill large black 5-gallon jugs with water and place them in the greenhouse. The water will absorb heat throughout the day, then slowly emit it. The key is monitoring maximum and minimum temperatures so you know how much heat you’ll need.

PROBLEM: Plants show yellowing or distorted leaves or scarred or stunted flowers.
SOLUTION: A daily or regular check and inspection of your plants will help you recognize these signs of pests early on. Sterilizing your garden tools is one way to prevent pests from being introduced in your greenhouse. Another solution is to bring in a fan to help circulate air and reduce bugs or parasites. Not only does proper ventilation keep plants healthy, but also it creates an environment where pests won’t get too comfortable and hang around.

Have a problem and need a solution that we didn’t cover? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today! You can visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for any greenhouse gardening needs!

10 Great Gifts for Gardeners

best gifts for gardeners gothic arch greenhousesGot a gardener on your holiday shopping list?

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of gift ideas, but with so many, where do you begin?

For starters, consider your recipient’s level of interest, whether a beginner or an experienced grower, and even how small or large their garden may be.

In the spirit of the season, we put together a list where you could find something that would make any recipientand any budgethappy.

Grow Kits: For novice gardeners, grow kits offer everything needed to get started. Whether it’s a small pot of sunflowers to an indoor herb garden, this makes a nice gift for someone who wants to start with a manageable growing task.

DIY Garden Gift: Give something from the heart, even if you might not have much to spend. Pinterest provides a wealth of do-it-yourself projects that range in price, scope and experience, everything from garden markers to planters and potting benches.

Garden Sign or Sculptures: Help your favorite gardener add some personality to a backyard, patio or even a greenhouse with humorous or inspirational artwork. There are many options available for purchase or even DIY options for a more personal touch.

Garden Gloves: This gift can be easily tailored to your recipient’s level of gardening experience. Garden gloves in fun, stylish prints may inspire a beginner to get started, whereas a more experienced grower may prefer something sturdier, yet practical, like rose gloves.

Garden Tools: Whether a standalone gift or bundled with other items, garden tools are often available to be purchased as a set or packaged with a tote. While they are a must for a beginner, they may be equally appreciated by an experienced grower.

Tool Belt or Utility Apron: These are an ideal way to keep the necessities close but your hands free to work in the garden or the greenhouse. They can sometimes be personalized with your recipient’s name or initials, but make a functional, thoughtful gift regardless.

Garden Boots: Give the gift of durability with garden boots that will stand up to the elements. Look for options that are waterproof with sturdy tread that will help maintain sure footing even in muddy or wet conditions.

Gathering Basket or Vase: Whether your favorite gardener grows veggies or flowers, these practical options will help them enjoy both. Baskets are ideal for collecting fresh fruits and produce from the garden, while a decorative vase will display beautiful blooms.

Canning Supplies: Help preserve the fruits of your recipient’s labor with the gift of canning supplies. Jars, lids, canning tools and even labels will help ensure that fruits and veggies are well preserved for later consumption—or even gifting!

Greenhouse: If you’ve got a serious gardener on your list, you may be in the market for a bigger-ticket item like a greenhouse. Gothic Arch Greenhouses supplies many models to support the efforts of everyone from hobby gardeners and to professional growers to research and educational institutions.

Have questions about your holiday shopping needs? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today! You can also browse our selection on our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

7 Best Cold Weather Crops

best cold weather crops gothic arch greenhousesThe impending arrival of winter is no reason to take a break from your gardening activities—unless you absolutely want to.

Of course, a greenhouse makes it easier to support your growing efforts year-round, but if you choose the right crop—and if your local climate allows—there are even some things you can tend to in outside gardens when the temperature starts to change with the seasons.

It’s important to understand that your plants may have different needs during winter gardening. While they will require less water and less fertilizer, they will still need proper ventilation and sunlight (possibly even a grow light to supplement).

If you do want to enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables and herbs, even through the cold, dreary winter, these are your best-bet cold weather crops to grow:

Kale: In some areas, kale can thrive outside with little protection. Known for being particularly tough and resilient, kale requires full sun or at least partly sunny areas.

Carrots: This vegetable grows quickly and is adept at surviving frost or freezing temperatures. Carrots love the sun and are naturally resistant to pests and disease.

Parsnips: Planted outside or inside a greenhouse, parsnips can be successful almost anywhere. They have a strong resistance to cold, and they are at their best harvested right after a frost.

Garlic: Garlic loves the sun, but it tolerates frosts well. Naturally resilient to insects, the many varieties of garlic are easy to grow and they enjoy a long growing season.

Asparagus: Though it might take a few years to properly establish your asparagus bed, the wait for this fresh homegrown vegetable will be well worth it.

Onions: Onions and shallots are another easy-to-grow cold weather crop. They virtually look after themselves over the winter, and the many varieties available can suit many gardeners’ tastes.

Winter Salads: You can reap the fresh taste of salads all year long by planting and harvesting taste winter salad mixes. Whether you’re looking for crisp or spicy flavor, there is a variety for you.

Wondering what else your greenhouse can do for you this winter? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

Efficiently Heating Your Winter Greenhouse

https://www.gothicarchgreenhouses.com/heating.htmCooler temperatures are coming, and with them the challenge of adequately heating your greenhouse if you’re planning to use it to extend your growing season.

Creating a stable environment in which your plants can thrive is always going to be the key to your gardening successwhether it’s supplying enough ventilation in the summer or enough heat in the winter.

To prepare your greenhouse for the frosty weather ahead, you’ll want to especially focus on the following three tasks.

  • Insulating your greenhouse may be the best first step to efficiently heat it for the upcoming winter months. Lining the inside of a greenhouse with bubble wrap is often recommended to help seal in the warmth without turning on a heater! Be sure to purchase bubble wrap from your greenhouse supplier, as it will be more durable because it is toughened and UV stabilized. Other options to consider are insulating the perimeter of your greenhouse with foam (said to provide one of the shortest returns on investment). Even adding insulation below the benches in your greenhouse can offer substantial savings.
  • Monitor your greenhouse with the help of a thermometer and a thermostat. Your thermometer will give you maximum and minimum daily readings that will allow you to use a greenhouse heater more efficiently, making any necessary adjustments that will help keep your plants happy and make your utility bill more manageable. Likewise, you can program a thermostat so that the heat kicks on when the temperatures drop below a certain point. It’s also important to know what conditions your plants need so you don’t waste money or energy maintaining higher temperatures than needed.
  • Invest in a heating system for your greenhouse. Greenhouse heaters are available to provide any necessary additional heat. But don’t overlook the importance of circulation. Fan heaters are a nice option to facilitate the flow of air, preventing any cold spots and reducing the risk of disease. Depending on how much heat you need, you may be able to use natural sources to provide warmth for your plants. For example, water in large drums or containers painted black (for maximum solar gain) placed strategically around your greenhouse will absorb energy during daylight hours and slowly emit it when the temperatures start dropping.

Wondering what else you can do to prep your greenhouse for winter? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

Why Choose a Luxury Greenhouse

Luxury Greenhouse Gothic Arch GreenhouseNot all greenhouses are created equal. While all serve the same purpose, greenhouses range from very simple structures to very elaborate, high-end models.

Luxury greenhouses carry a higher price tag, but they are a great way to add a touch of elegance to your yard. They are a great choice if you want to do something to set yours apart from the greenhouse many gardeners or homeowners usually have.

Beyond being beautiful to look at, luxury greenhouses do serve many purposes. So if you are considering making the investment, you will not only get an aesthetically pleasing, but also a functional greenhouse structure.

To begin, you’ll want to be sure that your yard is large enough for a luxury greenhouse. You may want to consult a landscape architect to help you decide where to position it, as it will likely be the centerpiece of your yard.

But even if you don’t consult a professional, do put some thought into where you place it. Luxury greenhouses typically are permanent structures that come with the benefit of increasing your property value.

So just what functions do luxury greenhouses serve?

Horticultural Greenhouse: Just like typical greenhouses, luxury models can be used by avid gardeners. They are ideal if you want to grow a wide variety of vegetables and flowers. Very often, these structures are tall enough and big enough to house full-grown trees that can thrive inside them.

Luxury Sun Rooms: Extend your living space into the great outdoors, enjoying all of the things you love about it—the stars, the moon and the sun—and none of the things you don’t, like insects or too-cool weather. You’ll get the benefits of enjoying entertaining, reading, napping and more year ‘round.

Custom Pool Enclosures: These are yet another way to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors. Like other luxury greenhouse options, these can be heated, cooled and ventilated, allowing you to use your pool or spa throughout the year. Great for summer pool parties and entertaining, they also help with the upkeep of your pool, keeping it clean and debris-free.

If you’re considering a luxury greenhouse, give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, to learn more. We are available to put our experience and expertise to work for you

5 Winter Growing Tips to Keep You Gardening

Glass Greenhouse Winter Growing TipsJust because the days will start getting shorter after the autumnal equinox doesn’t mean gardeners will have to go into hibernation until spring.

Utilizing a greenhouse is a great way to continue to stay involved with your gardening efforts, despite the cooler temperatures and shorter days to come.

Some consider fall the “second spring,” the next best time to start planting tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and flowers—all carefully chosen for their ability to thrive in cooler seasons.

Of course, the gardener’s latitude, crop and other additional variables unique to the operation will determine where the seedlings will be started or transplanted.

To successfully take advantage of winter growing, get gardening keeping these tips in mind:

Know when to plant. If you know the average date of the first killing frost in your region, then you can determine when to plant your winter crops. Plant them early enough so they reach their full maturity before that killing frost. Local garden authorities can help provide such information and even what crops grow well in your area.

Make the most of natural sunlight. You’ll still be able to take advantage of heat provided by the sun, but also be prepared to provide supplemental lighting, especially if a long spell of overcast weather is forecast.

Select cold hardy plants. Lettuces, salad greens, scallions, spinach and kale will provide your winter salad fix. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, strawberries and herbs, such as basil, rosemary and thyme, will make excellent additions as well.

Know when to water. Start in the morning, as soon as the frost is gone, to give plants time to dry before the nighttime drop in temperatures. Watering deeply from time to time is a possibility so you don’t overwater, making plants less able to withstand cold. If you feel moisture about a half inch deep around the plant, you should err on the side of not watering.

Utilize natural ventilation as much as possible. Not only will this reduce your energy costs, but also you will reduce the stress on your plants that could be caused by leaving the greenhouse closed on a sunny day. Good ventilation is also good for disease prevention.

In addition to these tips, winter gardening can provide the perfect cure for the seasonal blues. Not only will the inside of your greenhouse feel a little more like spring (given that the sun is shining!), but also seeing the fruits of your labor can be extremely invigorating and satisfying during a dark and dreary winter.

Are you ready to prepare for winter growing? We have all the supplies you need! Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.


LEDs May Light Future of Greenhouse Growing

LED lighting, greenhouse gardeningPlants need adequate water, nutrients and a climate-controlled environment to thrive in a greenhouse.

But multiple research points to light-emitting diode (LED) technology as the next up-and-coming growing essential, particularly for commercial operations.

While the advance offers the promising benefits of higher yields and lower energy costs, tapping into those advantages is not as simple as flipping a switch.

For starters, converting to LED technology can be expensive. So growers must consider whether that investment is worth the energy savings they stand to eventually gain.

One year-long study of the use of LED lighting for a greenhouse nursery and gardening business determined that LEDs offered significantly reduced energy costs43 percentover the more conventional high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps.

That greenhouse operation also benefitted from LED lamp reliabilitymore than 6,000 hours of use over the course of the study, compared to the failure twice of HPS bulbs and an electronic ballast during the same timeframe.

Despite their higher initial cost, LED lamps were projected to provide a more than $5,500 savings in maintenance and energy costs over a 5-year life span when compared to HPS fixtures. Using those projections, a return on investment of LED use would occur in 2.2 years, according to the study funded by a Minnesota Department of Commerce Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant.

Still, given the investment required to switch to LEDs, some recommend testing the technology on a smaller scale and conducting trials to determine whether it provides an as good or better crop yield before implementing it operation-wide.

Even beyond the cost, there are other concerns as well. Widely adopted in Europe, LEDs have proven quite efficient and profitable for greenhouse gardening applications. However, most operations are harvesting one type of crop, whereas many U.S. businesses are tending to multiples.

That’s where the use of LEDs can get tricky. An LED “recipe”—taking into account lighting spectrum, intensity and duration—that considers the type of crop, geographic location and season is recommended for best results.

Even with these concerns of using LEDs, multiple commercial growers have found the advantages of higher crop yields and lower energy costs to be well worth the investment in this technology.

Have questions about LEDs we could shed some light on? Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.

How to Prepare Your Greenhouse for Winter

Greenhouse Maintenance Preparing for Winter CleaningPreparing your greenhouse for the changes in seasons is one of the most important tasks you’ll do throughout the year to set yourself up for gardening success.

Just like your home, your greenhouse requires regular maintenance and tidying, but you should also schedule time for a thorough cleaning.

Not only does this ensure a clean working environment, but also it creates a healthy space for your plants.

The best time for that essential in-depth cleaning is as you are preparing your greenhouse for the fall, as that is when your greenhouse will likely have the fewest plants.

On a breezy, yet still warm day (that’s also dry to keep the mud out!), tackle the following maintenance tasks before you begin cleaning and preparing your greenhouse for winter. These recommendations are geared to hobby greenhouse growers, but there is some good advice for commercial operations as well.

  • Remove all plants and furniture. This includes tables, chairs and planters to get the greenhouse as empty as possible.
  • Turn off electricity, unplug cords and electrical appliances and protect the wall sockets before you get started.
  • Sweep out any debris. Getting rid of dead vegetation will help prevent the spread of pests and potential for disease, as well as allowing for a deep cleaning.
  • Rinse all windows with water using a garden hose. Take time to clean any dirty windows as well with a soapy sponge or cloth if needed.
  • Inspect glass or coverings and opening panels, making any needed repairs. For example, replace any cracked or broken glass and fix any tears or rips in coverings. Also grease the hinges and handles of doors, vents, etc.
  • Check window frames, not only for holes in insulation but also for any dirt that could possibly harbor parasites. Clean window frames, and replace any weatherstripping or caulking so the greenhouse effectively retains heat.
  • Clean all greenhouse surfaces, including cement, tile or wood floors, furniture, empty pots and garden tools. Replace old gravel if you have a gravel floor. Everything from a mild soap with antibacterial properties to bleach can be used to kill any mold or bacteria. Sharpen tools if needed.
  • Rinse everything well with plain water before returning your plants to the greenhouse so they aren’t damaged by contact with any leftover cleaning solution. Opening the doors on a warm, breezy day will also help everything dry faster.
  • Examine your plants carefully before bringing them into your newly cleaned greenhouse. Remove dead or dying leaves, and discard any that appear to be infected with pests.
  • Turn on and test your greenhouse systems—the heating system, watering system, lighting and drip irrigation. Perform any necessary maintenance or cleaning, and order backup parts if needed. Make sure you have enough propane and your backup generator is working, as well.
  • Order new planting supplies, such as potting soil, fertilizers or seed trays.
  • Don’t forget the outside! Spray down the outside of your greenhouse without using any disinfectant so it’s clean from the inside out. Start at the top and rinse down. Do this especially on a windy day so it dries faster.

Need help getting your greenhouse ready for the upcoming seasons? We have all the supplies you need! Give us a call at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.