Growing Year-Round Resource Guide

Growing Year-Round Resource Guide

Resources for Growing Year-Round

Growing year-round can be as much of a challenge as it is a joy.  We are here to help you make the most of your resources and our week-by-week guides. This blog installment will outline many resources you can use to tweak your planting. With some planning, you can easily achieve great harvests!

Gothic Arch has customers from Key West to Canada and beyond. We know that people with a passion for plants grow indoors, outdoors, on farms, on rooftops, in greenhouses, in raised beds, on balconies, community plots, window sills, school gardens, and anywhere else they can. To grow your best in any climate and conditions, a little knowledge can go a long way.

A key to growing year-round is understanding the plant you are growing, and what it needs to flourish. Important things to consider when growing outside of the usual season are: Can it survive frost? Does it like rich soil or an airier type? How long will it take to germinate? What soil temperature is best as it matures? If you are not growing in a heated greenhouse or indoors, these resources can help you to adjust our planting guide to your zone, local climate, and regional weather patterns.

Best Local and Regional Planting Information

USDA Planting hardiness map:

https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
For outdoor growing, the USDA’s zone map is based off of the average annual minimum winter temperature. This is the standard by which most growers base their yearly planting. Low tunnels, high tunnels, and row covers can all help extend your zone’s season.

When to expect your last spring freeze:
Farmland

Growing Maps

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/when-expect-your-last-spring-freeze     and     https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/climatenormals/climatenormals.pl
The National Centers for Environmental Information have two helpful maps that show historical data and averages for the last spring freeze for your area.

The last spring freeze date gives growers an idea of when they can plan to sow seeds outdoors. It also helps you to choose when it’s best to move seedlings started indoors to beds outside. Transitioning plants outdoors can give you more indoor seed-starting space when growing year-round.

Soil temperature maps:

https://www.weather.gov/ncrfc/LMI_SoilTemperatureDepthMaps

http://news.ncgapremium.com/index.cfm?show=1&mapID=20 Average soil temperature is extremely important to consider when starting plants or when transplanting.

The NRCS has this wonderful interactive map,which gives air temperature, soil temperature, and soil moisture:  https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/scan/

Historic temperature and precipitation maps:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/us-maps/ Rainfall can affect the viability of new plants. When growing year-round, check the local rainfall patterns. You might wait a week or two to sow, in some cases, if heavy rains are a yearly pattern. Check your area’s historic temperature and precipitation at this National Climate Data Center site.

Soil Health Information:

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/soils/health/?cid=stelprdb1143204 The USDA has some helpful soil health infographics, which can help you determine any steps you may need to take to ensure a fertile garden.

Additional Growing Tools

One thing all of us at Gothic Arch Greenhouses enjoy is sharing knowledge. We have compiled a few additional gardening and growing resources below that we thought you may enjoy.

If you’re sharing our growing year-round guide with your students, check out the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services educational growing resources site. You’ll find their evidenced-based curricula for educators to use to integrate garden-based nutrition education lessons into core educational subjects, such as Math, English Language Arts, and Science.
https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-garden-resources

Thinking of starting a community garden? The NRCS has some great advice here:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/mipmcot9407.pdf

And if you’re a city-dweller, the USDA can advise on getting a great start with urban agriculture: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/landuse/urbanagriculture/

Their resource for information on non-traditional growing methods, such as hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, and vertical growing can be found at this link: https://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/hydroponics

 

Have you looked for specific advise about growing conditions, pests, or invasive species in your area but haven’t found answers? Your local farm services office may be able to help!
https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

 

The National Garden Center has many apps, maps, calculators, and advise pages here: https://garden.org/apps/

And finally, our favorite: the National Agricultural Library’s digital exhibit includes many guides and pamphlets created by the USDA over the years. The information on how to start your own backyard Victory Garden (as they were called in the WWII era) is as valid now as it was in the 1940s!
https://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/ipd/small/items/browse/page/2

You will also find this groovy, illustrated Growing Your Own Vegetables, circa 1977 https://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/CAT87209981/PDF

Growing Year-Round in 2020

We hope that with these resources, our guide to growing year-round can help you to achieve a healthy and happy year of harvests. Gothic Arch Greenhouses is dedicated to helping our customers grow their dreams; if our team of experts can help you with a greenhouse, equipment, growing supplies, or any horticulture need, we’d love to hear from you. Reach us by phone or email today!

Planting calendar for year-round growing

Year-round Growing Guide, January Week 2

Though many people don’t think of January as a prime time for growing, here at Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we know that planning for a full year of fresh food means making the most of your time. For our third installment in our year-round growing guide, we’ll focus on more herbs, veggies, and fruits you can start growing in January.

For most of us, the harshest weather of the year is just ahead. If you’re growing in a greenhouse, or on an enclosed balcony or window sill, consider adding some insulation. A cheap but effective way to increase your frost protection is to use bubble wrap or plastic sheeting to cover your glass. This will allow sun-loving winter veggies to still get plenty of diffuse light while being protected from cold.

To keep plants at their healthiest during winter when growth is slow, monitor them for signs of disease, and remove to prevent spreading. In winter, water your plants sparingly to avoid possible problems with molds, mildew, and bacterial growth.

Growing Salad Greens Year-Round

Winter salad greens

Grow nutritious greens year-round

Fresh salads are a healthy side to your typical hearty soups during the winter months. Many varieties of lettuce are too sensitive to grow in January, but others are perfect for year-round growing. Look to heartier plants such as ‘Imperial’ lettuce, endive, chicory, and radicchio, which are rugged enough to tolerate an unheated greenhouse in colder weather. Kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and cabbage can also grow quite vigorously in winter as well.

For leafy greens to germinate, they prefer soil temperatures of 50 to 75 degrees, and well-drained soil. Plant at a 1/2” seed depth with 2-3” spacing. Avoid over-watering, and ensure adequate plant spacing to reduce pest and disease issues. Greens can be sensitive. Seedlings typically emerge in 5-20 days. Harvest leaves from the outside, and be careful of damage to the growing point. Harvest greens frequently, when young, and rinse in cold water to preserve flavor and texture.

Some other winter salad options include radishes like ‘French Breakfast’ and ‘Saxa’, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Health Benefits of Winter Greens

Greens are always a solid choice to pack in nutrition when eating from your garden year- round. Fast and easy to grow, all types of greens are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. They are a vital part of a healthy diet, and add nutritious, low-calorie flavor to whether raw, steamed, roasted, or added to soups and stews.

Swiss chard is in the same vegetable family as the beet; however, rather than the root, it is Swiss chard’s flavorful leaves that are eaten. It is second only to spinach as world’s healthiest vegetable. It is full of anthocyanins which can lower blood pressure, improve vision, inhibit tumor growth, and lower risk of developing diabetes. Swiss chard is also fiber-dense and has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.

Medicinal Plants

Fresh-grown Health Benefits

You’ve probably heard kale called a superfood Rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, these powerful antioxidants protect cells from free radicals and have shown promise in fighting the formation of cancerous cells. One cup of kale has just 36 calories, zero grams of fat, 684% of RDA of K, 206% of A, and 134% of C vitamins.

Growing Thyme Year-Round

There are more than 50 varieties of thyme, however the most commonly grown edible herb types are English, French, lemon, and caraway. Culinary thyme is a hardy perennial evergreen and will thrive in your sunniest indoor window this winter. Outdoors, it will enter a dormant state in winter, with new leaves emerging in spring, similar to rosemary, making it a great herb for year-round growing.

Grow Herbs year-round

Herbs add flavor and beneficial phytochemicals to your diet

Thyme loves full sun, and will benefit from additional compact fluorescent light. We recommend light, fast-draining soil. Seeds can be slow and difficult to start, so you’ll probably prefer to buy a plant from a garden center or to propagate by cuttings. Avoid over-watering; thyme hates “wet feet,” so wait until soil is completely dry.

For the best, most potent flavor, harvest thyme just before the plant flowers. Regular trimming encourages vigorous growth, and a more bushy, rounded shape. Cut early in the day, and leave at least five inches of growth beyond the tough, woody portions. In the spring prune back by one third, cutting above points where you can see new growth, never below into the leafless woody stem.

Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme is loaded with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese. It has long been used in natural remedies, and is helpful with common cold symptoms, coughs, and bronchial infections.

Thyme is a strong antiseptic. Topically, it can treat cuts, scrapes, acne or sore muscles. It contains thymol, carvacrol, borneol, and geraniol, which are a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides. These substances can destroy harmful, infectious bacteria. In fact, one study from 2010 suggests that thymol can reduce bacterial resistance to common drugs, including penicillin. Another test-tube study found that thymol and carvacrol inactivated 90% of the herpes simplex virus within just one hour.

Healthy Thyme

Thyme is a powerful antibacterial you can grow year-round

Thyme’s many volatile oils have strong antimicrobial properties. A 2011 Polish study reported that thyme oil, even at low concentrations, was effective against resistant strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Pseudomonas bacteria, and deadly Shigella sonnei. These bacteria and fungi cause foodborne illness in humans.

Other benefits of thyme include its ability to significantly increase healthy fats throughout cells, and to increase DHA content in kidney, heart, and brain cell membranes. This omega-3 fatty acid is essential to cellular health. Thyme’s rosmarinic and ursolic acids are powerful terpenoids, which have shown promise as a cancer preventive. Recent Turkish research has found that thyme caused cell death in breast cancer cells. Ursolic acid is being researched due to its potential to reduce the expression of markers of cardiac damage in the heart.

Further Year-Round Growing Options

Your path to a fresh, nourishing new year can be as large or as small of an undertaking as you choose. Whether your growing space, budget, and time allow for a full garden plot to feed your entire family, for a window sill of herbs, or anywhere in between, we hope to show you that there are benefits you can reap at any level.

If you’re making a long-term commitment to more sustainable living, also consider planting citrus for next year. Grown indoors, you can pick your own fresh citrus year-round. January is also a good time to plant peaches. You might consider starting a permanent asparagus bed this year. Asparagus can take a few years to establish, but soon you’ll have a winter vegetable crop every year thereafter.

Whatever your growing plans, Gothic Arch Greenhouses offers the best greenhouses and growing supplies for sale anywhere. We’d love to be part of your journey to a healthy and happy new decade. Happy Growing!

Year-Round Growing Guide, January

Year-Round Growing Guide, January

Welcome to week 1 of our January year-round growing guide! For those with established gardens, now is a time of rest and dormancy for most of your vegetable beds. Your might still be slowly harvesting last seasons mature plants, digging carrots and beets, or cutting back kale and spinach while you browse seed catalogues and dream of spring.

If you’re beginning your 2020 garden with our handy growing guide, our recommendations to start this week are bok choy and basil. Growing information and health benefits for these delicious greens are below.

Growing Bok Choy

Growing Guide 2020

Bok Choy is an excellent cabbage to start in January

A hearty cabbage you can start now is the wonderfully flavored Chinese vegetable Bok Choy. Bok Choy is a shade-loving, cold-hearty cabbage cousin that can reach maturity in as little as 45 days.

For bok choy to germinate, it prefers soil temperatures of 45 to 70 degrees, and well-drained but moisture retentive soil rich in organic matter. Plant at a ¼” seed depth with 1” spacing. Seedlings emerge in 2-15 days.

If growing in a heated greenhouse, protect from temps above 70 degrees and long supplemental light exposure. Bok choy will bolt and go to seed in warm temps and long day conditions.

Lightly steamed, stir fried, roasted, or added to egg-rolls, the flavor is milder than many other cabbages, and is full of health benefits.

Health Benefits of Bok Choy

Bok choy contains folate, which aids in production and repair of DNA. Cancer cells form due to mutations in DNA, which indicates a possible link in lowering instances of cancer. Further research is needed, but studies have shown that some people who eat more cruciferous vegetables have a lower risk of developing lung, prostate, and colon cancer.

Bok choy contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help protect cells against damage by free radicals. Bok choy also provides dietary fiber, needed for a healthy digestive system.

Unlike most other fruits and vegetables, bok choy contains the mineral selenium. Selenium prevents inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. It also boosts immune response by stimulating production of T-cells, which identify and kill invading bacteria and viruses.

Healthy 2020 winter greens

Growing beneficial foods promotes health and well-being

Iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K in bok choy all contribute bone density, and iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production of collagen.

Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all present in bok choy, and can help decrease blood pressure.

Vitamin B-6 and folate in bok choy prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine, with affects heart health.

Growing Basil

Basil is a fast-growing herb that will produce year-round. Start indoors in a sunny window sill, keeping the soil temperature at above 50 degrees until emergence. Seeds should sprout in 5 to 14 days, planted at a ¼” depth with 12-18” spacing.

Basil will have a set of true leaves in 2-3 weeks from emergence, then will rapidly reach 6 inches tall and be ready to transplant to the garden when outdoor temps are above 60 degrees nighttime low.

Basil is a flavorful herb that comes in many different varieties that add wonderful complexity, freshness, and aroma to meals in many different cultures. Italian and Thai dishes often include basil, and the many types of basil make it appealing for everything from appetizers to after-dinner drinks.

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil is rich in vitamin K, A, potassium, and calcium. It can help to reduce inflammation, which can help with arthritis. Basil also contains antioxidants and has antibacterial properties, improving cardiovascular health, and helping to prevent infection.

Sustainable 2020 eating

Quick-growing basil is a perfect herb to start inside

Preliminary studies suggest sweet basil may also be beneficial in reducing duce memory loss associated with stress and aging, reducing depression related to chronic stress, and reducing stroke damage whether given before or right after a stroke.

Basil is also reported to improve fasting blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, and protect against ulcers.

Basil oil is reported to increase mental alertness when inhaled as aromatherapy, and repel insects, such as mosquitos and ticks.

Year-round growing in a greenhouse

If you’re starting your winter garden in a heated greenhouse, you have many options for January planting. Squash, leeks, eggplant, and asparagus are hearty and will not require heating to tropical levels. Keeping the soil above frost point will start these veggies well, even as the temperature drops outdoors.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses provides the best winter shelters to help you grow all year round. If you’d like to explore your options, please give us a call today. 800-531-4769.

Year-Round Growing Guide

2020 year-round growing guide

2020 year-round growing guide

As 2019 winds to a close, here at Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we are making a new commitment to embrace a healthier, more environmentally-conscious lifestyle. With our new 2020 year-round growing guide, we aim to make the most of our greenhouses and boost our health and wellness through sustainable, clean eating with home-grown, farm-fresh food. We want to share this journey with you, through our upcoming blog series! We’ll share our growing calendar, cultivation tips, recipe ideas, health benefits, vitamin and mineral information, and more! We hope you’ll be a part of our journey!

Planning ahead: Preparing for year-round growing

Vegetables from a winter garden

Cool weather vegetable harvest

One of the first considerations is how much greenhouse and garden space you will have. If you are a city or apartment dweller, don’t assume this question will keep you from being able to grow fresh food! Many cities now have community garden areas for people to share public space for growing. Other options include rooftop greenhouses, growing on your balcony, or even on your windowsill.

If you are a homeowner, when choosing how much space to dedicate to food you should consider how many vegetables does your family eat? Do you also want to grow and dry herbs? Will you be planting rows, using a greenhouse, or both? In each blog installment, we’ll give recommended spacing per plant and time to harvest to help you plan your estimated yield from the space you have available.

If you already have a greenhouse, is it heated? Your planting choices are more extensive if you can keep your overall temperature above 65 degrees day and night. If you have an unheated hoop house, our planting guide will give you options as well.

Will you be adding supplemental lighting? Most leafy greens and root vegetables do well in a winter greenhouse with a little added light. Our 2020 year-round growing guide includes plants that do well in winter shade as well as those that prefer some sun in the winter.

What to plant in Winter for year-round growing

Vegetable garden dinner

Sustainable food from your edible garden, year-round

As early as January, frost-tolerant plants such as spinach, bok choy, many lettuces, kale, swiss chard, and broccoli can be started in an unheated greenhouse. They are tolerant to lower temperatures and can be transplanted outdoors 3-4 weeks before your expected last frost.

If you have a heated, sunny garden space, now’s the time to start other cabbages, carrots, turnips, beets, winter squash, garlic, and asparagus.

More Winter year-round growing by zone

In Zones 6-10, indoor vegetables and herbs to start now are notoriously slow-to-grow celery, parsley, leeks, and onions. Celery and parsley will need several weeks to germinate, and onions can take several months to be viable to transplant outside.

In Zones 1-5, overall colder temperatures may limit your growing choices, but nutritious microgreens such as arugula, beet greens, mizuna, and pea shoots are a good choice for January.

Healthy eating 2020

Sprouts can thrive indoors whatever the weather

Growing sprouts is another option.

They germinate quickly and are packed with nutrients. For example, one cup of bean sprouts contains more than the daily RDA of Vitamin C, and broccoli sprouts have high levels of phytochemicals, causing nutritionists to consider them a “cancer-fighting superfood.”

Unusual varieties like radish, peas and even sunflowers are also healthy and fun to try.

Greenhouses for year-round growing

No matter if you’re a new gardener or an life-long pro, a greenhouse can expand your growing options, extend your growing season, and provide you a space to enjoy a fruitful hobby with benefits that go on and on. If a greenhouse fits your future plans, give our experts a call. We can guide you towards the perfect growing solution that fits your budget and your space.

We look forward to a healthy, nutritious, earth-friendly 2020, and from all of us at Gothic Arch Greenhouses, have a wonderful new year!

Success in a Farmers Market

5 Steps to Success in a Farmers Market

5 Steps to Success in a Farmers Market

Growers of all levels, from hobby gardeners to commercial producers, can often find themselves with a crop even more abundant than they had hoped for. While interest in good farmers markets has surged in recent years, so has over-saturation and competition. The number of farmers markets in the U.S. has grown from 1,755 in 1994 to more than 7,850 in 2012, according to the USDA. Yet NPR reports that 2018 saw our then 8,600+ farm markets start to fail.

For small-business owners, farmers markets can provide easy and affordable opportunities to reach new customers, test new products, and supplement their incomes. Careful planning and forethought can help growers to succeed in a competitive farmers market.

1- Target Fresh Produce Markets

Farm Market Fresh

Farm Market Fresh

Establishing your target consumer and selecting the right way to reach them is one key to your success in a farmers market. Your ideal consumer can vary depending on what you offer and how it relates to the audience you hope to attract.

If your specialty is affordable fresh staple grocery items, consider markets and cooperatives that serve the local residents of a food desert.

If you’re an organic grower, consider targeting upscale “foodies” who are concerned about nutrition and locally grown produce.

And if you produce local or regional produce or botanicals, you might most appeal to out-of-town visitors who are looking for something out-of-the-norm. Tourist locations and markets near local attractions should bring ideal customers to your booth with regularity.

2- Plan Your Farm Market Strategy

The pressures of growing and farming can cause established market vendors to drop out regularly. This can leave market managers eager to find new vendors to fill those spots. Be selective in choosing a venue. If there are several established in your area, make sure to visit each to see how your offerings equal success in each farmers market.

In most places, it’s no longer necessary to be a farmer to become a market vendor. Many markets allow vendors to sell prepared goods, arts and crafts, clothing, etc. How well do your items fit in with the overall feel of the market?

If there is a lot of competition with your products, or if there is too much diversity away from your focus,  it may be difficult to find success in that farmers market.

Consider the spectrum of what you can offer. Fresh produce pairs well with local honey, dried herbs, cured meats, fresh cut flowers, artisan-made vases and pots, seedlings, nuts, baked goods, hand-made soaps and candles—you may find an outlet for many of your home-grown hobbies!

3- Evaluate Community Support for Farmers Markets

Farmers Market Success

Farmers Market Success

Community support is necessary for a strong farmers’ market. Local residents, government, and area businesses help a market to contribute to the community. Without community resources, a market and its vendors may struggle. In addition to the number of farmers, also look at participation from local gardeners, craftsmen, chefs, artists, and community garden organizers to give an indication of interest.

If there are too few farmers and too few customers to make a market viable, look for a single, stronger farmers market, even if it is a farther distance. Several communities partnered in one market can be a more exciting venue for customers and a more profitable market for farmers.

4- Check Market Rules and Bylaws

Most farmers markets have rules, and many operate as cooperatives with bylaws. Be aware of your responsibilities as a part of the farm market community. In addition to fees for your space at the market, you may also be expected to participate a certain number of times per month, to provide your own displays, to secure your merchandise when the market is closed, or purchase a vendor license. Some markets may even require a buy-in for advertising dollars, or require sales tax accounting.

5- Decide on Payment Options

Fresh Grown Goods

Fresh Grown Goods

Plan ahead to determine the best payment options to prepare for farm market sales. If you’ll be a cash-only operation, you’ll want plenty of small bills to use for change. Many people now also offer credit card processing via their cellphone, for those spur-of-the-moment buyers who may not have cash on hand. Paypal, Venmo, ApplePay and the like are also options to consider.
Another option that helps your local community is to participate in government programs, which can help local economies by increasing sales, while helping those in need.

  •  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–administered by USDA Nutrition Program
  • Farmers Market Women Infant Children (WIC) Program–administered on a state level by the Department of Agriculture
  • Senior Farmers Market Prog– administered on a state level by the Department of Agriculture

As with any business decision, there are many things to consider when entering the direct-to-community farmer’s market arena. With wise choices, a little planning, and a crop ready to sell, you can have great success in a farmers market. Ready to get growing? Shop Gothic Arch Greenhouses today for everything you need to ensure a bumper crop and a happy harvest!

Best Greenhouse Guide

8 Steps to Planning Your Best Greenhouse

8 Steps to Planning Your Best Greenhouse

The best greenhouses are the ones that are not only beautiful but are also functional and are planned with an eye towards the future. Whether you grow for pleasure or for profit, these tips can help you to get the most from your greenhouse and your investment in it! Here’s how to plan for your best greenhouse!

1. Choose the Best Greenhouse Location

Many people put a greenhouse wherever they have the space and easy access to utilities. Others may plan a site that has the best light and exposure. When planning around the surrounding structures and landscape elements, there are several additional considerations. Trees and shrubbery will grow, affecting light, but you also want to plan for future beds to transplant seedlings to, and possible additions to buildings. You may even later add into your greenhouse, or add a barn or shade house!

Best Home Greenhouse Kit

Home Greenhouse kit

2. Boost Your Greenhouse’s Curb Appeal

Greenhouses don’t have to be generic lookalikes, or simple working structures. They can be custom designed to reflect your home or business’ style and taste. Custom knee-walls to match your architecture, roof peaks, finials, and more can add style and value to your property.

3. Connect Greenhouses  Buildings

Beautiful connections can be made between your greenhouse and home, your garden center and retail store, your farm market and production area—the possibilities are limitless. Use a gazebo, a porch, a shade house, or lean-to to create vestibules, sitting areas, potting sheds, or multi-use spaces that protect you and your plants from inclement weather.

Best Lean-to Greenhouse kits

Greenhouse attached to building

In retail use, “A rainy weekend at the end of spring can drop sales up to 80 percent,” according to horticulture expert Chuck Sierke. “If you can cover more area with canopies and awnings, that is the biggest potential for up-sales even in inclement weather.”

4. Install the Right Greenhouse Doors

Entry and exit doors should be wide and easy to manipulate. When hands are full with tools, supplies, and plants, an easy-open door that can accommodate carts, wheelbarrows, and equipment will ease your day.

5. Open Up Interior Greenhouse Space

An easy way to create an open feel is to reduce the number of columns, using beams instead. Fewer posts increases growing space and allows for better retail bench layouts.

6. Choose Durable Covering Materials

Polycarbonate versus polyethylene gives long life, and a more permanent look. It lasts 20-plus years rather than four or five, though it is a greater initial investment. Glass improves further, with excellent light transmission and longer life still. Rigid coverings take far less maintenance than films, also, and have excellent R-value.

7. Consider Greenhouse Air-flow

Many growers prefer more natural ventilation as opposed to fans, utilizing open-roof designs, sliding doors or roll-up curtain walls. However, insects and pests are more difficult to keep at bay with open designs, and humidity extremes can also be more difficult to manage. A greenhouse professional can help you to decide what is right for you.

Best Greenhouse Irrigation

Irrigation System

8. Rethink  Greenhouse Irrigation

There are many options for water management besides traditional overhead watering systems. A sub-irrigation system with automated pump and tank can flush out salt buildup and allow better water absorption. Hydroponic systems also root-feed water and nutrients to plants, which results in losing water only due to evaporation, saves labor, and makes for a less-damp environment.

Greenhouse growers large and small can benefit from considering these 8 things in when planning or refurbishing their growing space. Planning not just for today but for tomorrow’s harvest can help you to choose the best greenhouse for how you grow. Gothic Arch Greenhouses’ 70+ years of experience can help you plan, design, and grow, whether you need a simple kit or a 1,000 acre solution. Call our experts today!

Poinsettia Care

Poinsettia Care Plan for Reblooming

Poinsettia Care Plan for Reblooming

Poinsettias have become a holiday tradition, causing many people ask, “How do I care for Poinsettias year-round?” Gothic Arch Greenhouses is here to help, with Poinsettia care advice that will have your blooms recurring year after year!

Poinsettias are sensitive to light and temperature, and do best indoors year-round in many climates. With proper care, they can continue to delight each season. To ensure your poinsettias rebloom, we recommend:

Poinsettia Care Plan for Late Spring

Poinsettia Care Guide

Poinsettia Care Guide

• Replant in new soil
• Trim to 6”
• Water regularly
• Add fertilizer every 2 weeks (We recommend a 30-10-10 mix)
• Place outdoors in a sunny location
• Maintain a temperature range of 60°-75°
• Pinch tips off new shoots when 6” – 8” long
• In late July, cut back to 5” – 6”

*Keep in mind that hotter climates may require plant to be moved indoors during hotter times of day—ideally, a greenhouse can provide perfect temperatures with plenty of solar exposure*

Poinsettia Care Plan for Late Summer

• Bring indoors before evening temperatures begin to drop.
• Place in full sun, with 3 to 6 hours of direct sun daily
• Continue to fertilize every 2 weeks

Poinsettia Care Plan for Fall

• For poinsettias to bloom, they need 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily for 40 days
• Place in a dark place or cover completely at dusk, then remove the next morning so that the plant is kept in total darkness. Continue daily.
• Do not fertilize November 1 through December 30

With a light deprivation schedule, a poinsettia should bloom by holiday time. Even as little as 10 minutes of artificial light during the blackout period can delay blooms by weeks or even months, so stay vigilant and enjoy your poinsettia all winter long! Happy Growing!

 

Unique Holiday Gifts

10 Unique Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

  • 10 Unique Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

    Does the plant and flower lover in your life have a stockpile of planters, seed packets, and garden figurines going unused year after year? Does coming up with a unique, useful, beautiful gift for the gardener in your life seem like a daunting task? If so, we are here to help! Read more about 10 unique holiday gifts for gardeners that will make this year’s holiday shopping a snap for every budget.

    Gardening Gifts Under $50

    There are a lot of inexpensive gardening gifts that every gardener will love, and use regularly. If you’re looking for unique holiday gifts that don’t break the bank, some of our favorites are:

    ·        Floating Plant Covers

    These affordable, practical plant covers have a variety of uses. From protecting plants from extreme heat and cold to helping soil stay moist, floating plant covers are something that most gardeners will need and use for years to come.

    ·        Hydro-bottle Watering System

    This fun gardening gift bottles to hemp maintain soil moisture. You can decorate the bottles to include photos, paintings, or messages for a more personal touch. Environmentally conscious growers will appreciate the use of up-cycled bottles as part of their garden decor.

    Hand-crafted Gifts That Keep on Giving

    For one-of-a-kind gifts for gardeners that will last for decades, we specialize in hand-crafted cypress wood items that are sure to please any gardener on your list.

    ·        Cypress Wood Gothic Arch Greenhouse Kit

    One of the strongest hobby greenhouses on the market, the eye-catching design of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse compliments all architectural styles. Made from sustainable heart cypress and made individually by our master craftsmen, this greenhouse kit is truly unique. The high peak and sloped edges make it ideal for areas with heavy snow and wind loads. This greenhouse will provide the ideal growing environment for your loved one’s plants and flowers year after year.

    ·        Cypress Wood Potting Bench

    Also made from sustainable, long lasting heart cypress, our potting bench adds a combination of style, and storage space to your greenhouse, porch, or garden. These potting benches are ideal for storing small gardening tools, displaying flowers, or using as a work space. Practical, beautiful, and affordable, our cypress wood potting bench is ideal for all plant and flower lovers.

    Gardening Gifts for Small Spaces

    Not all gardeners have the luxury of ample space to grow the plants that they love. Some growers are limited to patios, rooftops, and even small indoor spaces. Here are a few unique holiday gifts that we recommend for gardeners who are limited on space.

    ·        TAB Indoor/Outdoor Aquaponic System

    This growing system is great for its compact size, ease of use, and the ability to not only grow plants, but cultivate fish! If your gardener wants to experiment with trending growing styles but doesn’t have the space, this is an ideal gift. The plants and fish rely on each other to create a little eco system that is clean, sustainable, and affordable. This system also makes a great gift for schools, teachers, and community programs.

    ·        Elevated Planters

    Elevated planters are ideal for creating small gardens in small spaces. The elevation allows for better drainage, keeping plants healthier and happier. Elevated planters are also the perfect solution for people who love to garden, but cannot bend over to tend to plants growing in the ground. These planters add the beauty of foliage to any porch or patio décor.

    Helpful Gifts for Larger Spaces

    Some gardeners have large, outdoor growing spaces or greenhouses that can be difficult to manage at times. Here are a few items that can help manage and organize these spaces for your loved one.

    ·        Greenhouse Shelving

    Whether your gardener is looking for a place to display their prized blooms, or looking for way to stay more organized, greenhouse shelving is a great solution. Available in a variety of sizes and price points, greenhouse shelving is something that every gardener will use season after season, making it a practical and unique holiday gift.

    ·        Garden Help Cart

    In larger greenhouses and outdoor gardens, hauling plants, tools, and equipment back and forth can be a painstaking process. A garden help cart that easily glides between garden rows makes easy work of moving items from place to place. Ideal for commercial greenhouses, farmer’s markets, home gardening, and nurseries, the gift of a garden help cart is a gift that makes gardening life easier.

    Greenhouse Equipment

    If the plant loved in your life already owns a greenhouse, you can be sure that they will eventually need to replace or upgrade their greenhouse equipment in coming years. Help them stay ahead of the curve by gifting them with equipment upgrades. Here are a couple of pieces of equipment that we recommend replacing often, in order to maintain optimum growing conditions inside a greenhouse.

    ·        Greenhouse Heaters

    In most parts of the country, we recommend greenhouse heaters to help combat cold temperatures. If you are looking for a gift that will make your plant lover’s day, you can’t go wrong with a greenhouse heater. Whether they need a backup heater in case of an emergency, or are looking to save money by upgrading to a more efficient heater, the gardener in your life will appreciate your help in keeping their plants safe all year long.

    ·        Greenhouse Lighting

    More and more gardeners are becoming aware that grow lights in different spectrums, wattages, and configurations can help boost the growing cycles of their plants. With many options to choose from, some growers shy away from trying out new lighting techniques in their own greenhouses. Gift them with the opportunity to experiment with these newer technologies by giving them new bulbs, lamps, or complete greenhouse lighting systems.

     Looking for Something Else?

    While this is a list of some our favorite unique holiday gifts for gardeners, we understand that not all growers are looking for the same things. At Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we have a variety other tools, equipment, structures, and growing solutions that would also make thoughtful gifts for anyone who loves or works with plants. Call one of our experts today at 1-800-531-4769 and ask about the special holiday pricing and discounts available to you.

 

Winter Greenhouse Growing Tips

Winter Greenhouse Growing Tips

Winter Greenhouse Growing Tips

The changing seasons can be a challenge to home gardeners, commercial growing operations, and agricultural productions. One way to combat adverse seasonal changes is to utilize the controlled environment of a greenhouse. Greenhouses are very helpful for growing cold weather crops and plants. Read below to discover what makes greenhouses ideal for winter planting, and for some winter greenhouse growing tips to get you started.

Why a Greenhouse for Winter Growing?

Greenhouses offer protection from extreme temperatures, precipitation, birds, diseases, pests, and overheating. Because of this protection, greenhouses promote healthy plant growth. However, greenhouses also offer a controlled and consistent growing environment that is optimized to your specific crops. With greenhouse environmental controls, you can automatically maintain the ideal temperature, humidity level, the watering schedule, and lighting conditions. This means that your plants are in their healthy growing “sweet spot” for longer periods of time.

Prep Your Greenhouse

         Deep Cleaning

Having a properly prepared greenhouse is vital to successful growing any time of the year. If you are planting winter plants in a greenhouse, take some time to clean up after your fall harvest season. This process gives your winter plants a clean, fresh environment, and ensures that no left-over pests or diseases are present. To clean your greenhouse:

  • Remove all containers and supplies from the structure
  • Rid the space of all debris and organic matter
  • Scrub and disinfect all surfaces including walls, floors, and benching
  • Disinfect all containers and supplies before returning them back to the greenhouse

         Maintenance

Keeping optimal growing conditions depends on having a properly maintained greenhouse. Taking the time to check your greenhouse and equipment for needed repairs before planting your winter garden will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Making a checklist is an easy way to organize your maintenance schedule.

Remember to always follow the manufacture’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining equipment. Contracting professional, companies is the best way to ensure safe, regular equipment maintenance. You will want to:

  • Check your greenhouse covering for rips, cracks, gaps, and other signs of damage.
  • Make sure that your frame is in good shape. Check for loose or damaged bolts. For wood frames, make sure that there are no signs of rot or mold.
  • Inspect your greenhouse base and note any gaps that may have appeared.
  • Check door hinges, linkages, and sliding channels for blockages.
  • Clean gutters and check for leaks or damage.
  • Check that all parts of your ventilation system are in good working order, and that windows and vents close properly.
  • Check heating and cooling equipment for damage or operation problems.
  • Re-calibrate your environmental controls and sensors.
  • Clean or replace equipment filters.
  • Have your electrical system, plumbing, and gas lines inspected by a licensed professional
  • Check that all safety and first aid supplies are stocked and up to date.

Bonus Tip! Organize your greenhouse maintenance checklists by seasons to streamline your maintenance schedule!

What Grows Best in Winter?

For successful winter planting, you want hearty plants and vegetables with woodier stalks and stems, cruciferous veggies with leafy greens, and plants with strong, sturdy root systems. Here are some of our favorites:

Plants & Flowers

  • Begonias
  • Mint
  • Pansies
  • Thyme
  • Azaleas
  • Boxwoods

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Citrus
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Crab Apples

Start Early

One of the biggest issues we see in the greenhouse business is customers waiting until the last minute to purchase parts and equipment.  With today’s erratic climate and unpredictable weather patterns, having all of your winter greenhouse equipment in place early is essential. Once the first frost happens in your area, it’s too late to discover that you need a new greenhouse heater. Because production times, inventory, and shipping logistics are all factors that can cause delays in receiving your winter equipment, don’t put it off! Inspect your greenhouse as early as possible. This ensures that you have plenty of time to get your winter greenhouse in perfect working order.

Keep it Warm

Even plants that grow well in the winter cannot withstand freezing temperatures and frozen growing media for long. While the ideal temperature for a greenhouse is between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, many winter plants will grow beautifully as long as the temperature stays higher than 37F. Every plant is different. Therefore, it’s important for you check the requirements for each plant before deciding at which temperature to keep your greenhouse. Using programmable thermostats, heat lamps, heating systems, and sun absorbing materials will help you maintain that temperature.

Take Advantage of Controlled Lighting

Being able to control the lighting in your greenhouse is one of the most beneficial aspects to successful greenhouse growing. Though some plants thrive in full sun for long periods of time, others prefer a short day, long night lighting cycle. Natural sunlight is always best but not always an option. By using lighting to supplement the hours of sunlight available, you give your sun-loving plants more time to grow and thrive. For plants that traditionally grow during the fall, alternating spectrum lighting and light deprivation will mimic their natural growing conditions and can cause more frequent harvests.

 

Whether you are a hobby gardener or a large commercial grower, it is possible to keep your harvests abundant all year long. Our friendly staff at Gothic Arch Greenhouses will help you optimize your winter greenhouse with the highest quality greenhouses and the most reliable equipment on the market today. Give us a call at 800-531-4769 or check out our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to start your project today.

 

 

 

Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse

Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse

As of 2018, growing hemp as an agricultural product is now legal in the United States. Hemp is known for having wonderful health benefits, applications in building materials, and versatile uses in textiles. Hemp is traditionally grown outdoors. However, for the purposes of making health products such as CBD oil, growing hemp in a greenhouse can be beneficial to your production. Whether you are a new hemp grower or you are looking for a better growing environment for your maturing plants, Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help you customize a hemp greenhouse to meet all of your needs.

Benefits to Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse

Extend Your Growing Season & Increase Your Production

Greenhouses allow growers to control environmental factors surrounding their plants. Controlling temperature, lighting, humidity and other factors allows hemp to grow all year long. Typically only harvested once a year, greenhouse hemp is ready for harvest multiple times a year thanks to blackout systems.

Reduce Cross Pollination

Because of natural pollination processes, cross pollinating hemp and other crops can cause a decrease in some plant’s potencies. Federal regulations are in the works to reduce cross pollination between hemp and other plants. Stay ahead of the legal battle by containing your hemp crops inside greenhouses. Not only will this keep your crops from cross pollinating with others, it will keep unwanted pollutants away from your plants as well.

Fewer Pests

Pest management is vital to healthy crop growth no matter what you are growing or where you are growing it. However, growing hemp in a greenhouse greatly streamlines pest control practices. The highly controlled greenhouse environment is less susceptible to bugs than those crops grown in open fields. Properly sealed joints, and windows and vents covered with insect screens create little to no room for unwanted pests to sneak in.

EPA & FDA Compliance

A virtually pest free environment is ideal for hemp growing due to the federal restrictions on using chemicals on CBD grade hemp. With the hemp market booming, the EPA and FDA are still collecting data about safe levels of pesticides, fungicides, and other common chemicals used in hemp production. Until that data becomes available, it will remain illegal to use most chemicals on your crops. This preventative measure keeps ingestible hemp safe for consumers. Growing hemp in a greenhouse makes it possible to avoid the use of pesticides because your plants are less susceptible to pests. Keeping your chemical usage at a minimum now will make it easier to follow federal regulations and guidelines in the future, which can save you a lot of time and money.

Considerations for Growing Hemp in Greenhouses

Your Greenhouse

There are many types of greenhouses available today. Make sure that you choose the type that is practical for your growing needs. Gutter connected greenhouses can grow with your operation and are ideal for expansion. For areas with heavy snowfall, triple-wall polycarbonate greenhouses will hold up better than glass or acrylic structures. If you are on a tight budget, a cold frame or hoop house may be ideal.

Blackout Systems 

Hemp is typically a “fall” plant meaning that it requires longer periods of darkness and shorter day time hours to grow properly. Blackout systems allow you to fake the light patterns and trick your crops into maturing more quickly. Blackout systems can be as simple as a tarp that is manually pulled over a hoop house. However, for large or commercial operations, automated blackout systems are recommended. These systems are set on timers and programmed to automatically cover and uncover your greenhouse at the correct intervals. Automated blackout systems take the guess work out of light deprivation and save money on labor costs.

 

Legislation seems to be changing more every month and Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help keep your greenhouse and greenhouse supplies up to date and at maximum profitability. Give us a call today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.gothicarchgreenhouses.com.