Glass or Polycarbonate Greenhouse

How to Choose Between a Glass or Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Glass or Polycarbonate Greenhouse

If you’re ready to start a greenhouse, one of the most important decisions to make will be what to cover your greenhouse with. Both glass and polycarbonate options have advantages, but which one should you choose? Understanding the advantages of each style is a great place to start! Read below to learn whether you will benefit from a glass or polycarbonate greenhouse.

Advantages of a Glass Greenhouse

Durability

Glass is the strongest of all greenhouse materials. Partly due to its weight, which makes it strong, glass greenhouses can provide many years of service—40 to 50 years or more! Glass greenhouses are permanent, and though they may cost more than polycarbonate styles, the value they add to your property makes them worth the investment.

Appearance

Glass greenhouses are prized for their beautiful appearance. For many, they are considered to be the iconic image of what a greenhouse is supposed to look like. One of the many reasons they are so popular is because the clarity of the glass can give the feeling of being outdoors while being sheltered indoors so the beauty of both can be enjoyed.

Light Transmission

Glass greenhouses transmit the most light, nearly 100 percent, and maintain their clarity for many years if cleaned regularly. Single-layer or double- or triple-planed glass is available to help improve insulation and ventilation, making it more competitive with what polycarbonate greenhouses offer.

Advantages of a Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Durability

Polycarbonate greenhouses are more durable and 200 times stronger than glass. When polycarbonate needs to be replaced, it’s easy to remove the panels individually to make repairs. Though polycarbonate is durable, it should be treated with UV protectant to prevent it from turning yellow or breaking down. With proper care, polycarbonate can last about 10 years, a fraction of how long glass lasts.

Light Transmission

Polycarbonate greenhouses help diffuse light more evenly than glass greenhouses, which helps plants thrive and even grow faster. Polycarbonate protects plants from excessive sunlight or radiation as it naturally offers UV protection. This material provides better insulating properties, though double- and triple-paned glass can do the same for glass structures.

Cost

Polycarbonate costs less than glass, but consider the investment over time. Polycarbonate has a lifespan of about 10 years. Factoring this into your long-term investment plans is important when choosing a greenhouse covering.  Less expensive covering options may require more repairs that will add up to higher costs.

Shatter-Resistant

Polycarbonate greenhouses are shatter-resistant, and though glass greenhouses are strong, they can’t withstand impacts from hail, rocks or other hazards. Tempered glass may offer more protection against cracks or breaking, but there is still an element of risk.

Whether you choose glass or polycarbonate, make informed decisions about costs, durability and practicality. For example, glass greenhouses, for example, may be ideal for hobby gardeners, but impractical for commercial growers.

Have more questions? Call Gothic Arch Greenhouses at 800-531-4769, and let our friendly staff assist you in finding the right greenhouse for you or your operation!

 

Growing Roses in a Greenhouse

Growing Roses in a Greenhouse

Growing Roses in a Greenhouse

Roses are as iconic as they are beautiful, so it’s no wonder that many hobby gardeners and commercial growers are intent on cultivating them. These fragrant flowers have been fixtures throughout history—from the Bible to the works of Shakespeare and even the White House Rose Garden, where they are celebrated as the national flower of the United States. If you want to try your hand at growing roses in a greenhouse, this article will take you step-by-step through the process.

Steps for Growing Roses in a Greenhouse

Choose your roses. As with choosing any plant to grow, consider your climate and the size of your greenhouse when making your selection. This will set you up for success! Growing roses in a greenhouse will reduce exposure to pests and diseases they would be subject to outside. There are also rose varieties that are naturally resistant to disease, making it easy to keep them healthy.

Pot Rose Plants

 Remove your rose plants from shipping pots or bags and place them in new containers. Add fresh potting soil (preferably rose-specific), but drape root cluster over the soil to encourage the growth of healthy new roots. Planting in the fall is recommended using containers at least 9 inches across. Placing small rocks or pieces of broken china in the bottom of the pot will increase drainage and prevent root rot.

Place Containers in the Greenhouse

Take your newly potted plants in your greenhouse, and place them where they will get enough sun. At least six hours of direct sunlight every day is what your roses will need to thrive. Give them enough space so they don’t cast shade on each other. We recommend placing containers at least six apart so that air can flow freely between them.

Prune the Bushes

Using pruning shears, trim branches back to about 3 inches from the main stem, including blooms and buds. Plants with the fewest stems and leaves can create bigger blooms. Remove all dead branches (those that are brown on the inside), and trim away the branches that block the middle of the plant. This allows for better air circulation which is important for preventing moisture build-up.

Water and Fertilize Plants Sufficiently

Water your rose plants enough so the soil is moist. The amount will vary based on your weather conditions. On hotter days they will need more; on rainy days less. Keep water from touching the stems or the leaves. Add high phosphorus fertilizer when you see new growth from leaves, buds or branches, then reapply every two weeks or as recommended.

Maintain the Right Temperature

A greenhouse regulated to a daytime temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 40 degrees at night are the ideal conditions for your roses. Use a combination of compost and shredded leaves to mulch your containers to maintain soil temperature and humidity. Supplemental lighting can help keep your greenhouse warm during the colder months.

Staying actively involved in maintaining the growing environment is the best way to successfully grow roses inside a greenhouse. We offer a variety of greenhouses and environmental controls that will help you grow beautiful blooms year after year. Wherever you are in the rose-growing process, call us at 800-531-4769 for exceptional recommendations, prices and customer support!

 

Protecting Your Greenhouse Plants In Winter

Protecting Your Greenhouse Plants in Winter

Protecting Your Greenhouse Plants in Winter

As the weather turns colder, you may be wondering what steps you can take to protect your greenhouse plants from frost, and other harsh winter conditions. Greenhouses are ideal for controlling the growing environment year round. The types of coverings you use, equipment in place, and insulation all play a role in maintaining your greenhouse temperature. Read below to learn more about protecting your greenhouse plants during the cold winter months.

Greenhouse Coverings

There are multiple covering types for greenhouse including glass, polycarbonate, polyfilm, and fiberglass. These coverings not only range in price and durability, their heat retention capabilities also vary.

Glass- Because glass is almost 99% transparent, more sunlight is allowed to pass through and into the greenhouse. Plants and greenhouse flooring absorb the sunlight and it is converted to heat. The heat is then trapped inside the greenhouse and helps create a warm environment, even at night.

Polycarbonate- Polycarbonate multi-wall panels provide greenhouses with better insulation and higher heat retention that glass coverings. Because sunlight passes through the panels, and is also absorbed by the panels themselves, polycarbonate greenhouses tend to stay warmer for longer periods of time as compared to glass greenhouses.

Insulation

Just as you insulate your home, you can insulate your greenhouse. Insulating your greenhouse allows for less heat loss and lower energy bills. There are several ways to insulate your greenhouse that are safe and economical. One way is through the use of bubble wrap. Bubble wrapping your greenhouse panels, or placing bubble wrap over the plants themselves, is an inexpensive way to trap heat inside your greenhouse. Another way to insulate your greenhouse on a more permanent basis is to use sealants around all over the joints and corners of your structure. Check the spaces around doors, windows, and vents to potential air gaps. Filling in the nooks and crannies of your structure keeps warm air from “leaking” out of your greenhouse.

Greenhouse Heaters

Though supplemental heating is not necessary in all parts of the country, using greenhouse heaters can be highly beneficial to growers that live in colder areas that receive heavier snow throughout the winter. Several types of greenhouse heaters are available to meet your specific needs. Using a BTU Heat Loss Calculator will help you determine how strong of a heater you will need to fit your greenhouse.

Before choosing a heater, you will want to check the existing capabilities of your greenhouse. Depending on the existing services, you can use natural gas, propane, or electric heaters to help maintain a warm environment in your greenhouse. Heaters can be ceiling mounted, placed on the floor, and even portable depending on your space and needs. Make sure to check your local ordinances and building codes before purchasing a heater for your greenhouse.

Automatic environmental controls and monitors allow you to program your heater to maintain a consistent temperature. This ensures that your greenhouse will never get too hot, or too cold, without having to check on it constantly.

More Tips for Protecting Your Plants in Winter

  • Install greenhouse grow lights as a supplemental heat source for your plants
  • Line greenhouse walls with polyfilm to trap cold air before it gets to your plants
  • Place open containers of water around your greenhouse to absorb sunlight during the day that will release warm particles at night
  • Use portable kerosene heaters as  a backup heating source in the event of a power failure
  • Keeping plants misted with water helps prevent freezing
  • If all else fails, bring your plants indoors until it is possible to create a warm growing environment inside your greenhouse.

Protecting your greenhouse plants in winter doesn’t have to be hard. Gothic Arch Greenhouses offers a wide selection of insulated greenhouse coverings, heaters, and other temperature control solutions. Call one of our experts today to discuss heating options, or look us up at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to view our high quality products that make greenhouse growing easy.

irrigation systems

Drip Irrigation Systems vs. Flood Irrigation Systems

Ensuring your plants get enough water and nutrients is an essential part of greenhouse production. Multiple irrigation systems are available, ranging from simple, such as watering by hand, to more sophisticated computer-based irrigation control systems. 

This article will more closely examine the benefits of drip irrigation and flood irrigation systems for greenhouses.

Drip Irrigation Systems

In drip irrigation systems, water travels through a system of tubing, pipes and valves and is released as a steady “drip” of moisture near the base of the plant. This type of system localizes the watering and fertilization process and delivers the precise amount of water and nutrients to the plant. These are some of the many advantages of drip irrigation systems.

Advantages of Drip Irrigation Systems 

Efficient Water Use

The precise delivery of water in a drip irrigation system prevents water waste. As a result, these systems use up to 50 percent less water than traditional watering methods, such as sprinklers, according to multiple studies.

Lower Disease Risk

Drip irrigation systems keep foliage dry, which reduces damp conditions that are a breeding ground for disease and harmful powdery mildew. 

Fewer pests

Like disease, bugs love wet foliage. Because a drip irrigation system directs all water into the soil, pests can’t get to it, which creates an environment where they don’t feel welcome and thrive. 

Discourages Weeds

Along with reducing disease and warding off pests, localized watering helps discourage the growth of weeds as well. Since water is placed in a specific area around the plant, weed seeds don’t get nourished and are starved.

Better Plant Health

When plants receive water uniformly, they can thrive! Drip irrigation systems space out and extend the watering period and water gets well into the root zone, which helps improve growth and results in better plant health.

Saves Time

Drip irrigation systems eliminate the need to move sprinklers or hoses around to make sure everything gets watered. Some kits make it possible to install timers so watering is automatic. 

Flood Irrigation Systems

Flood irrigation is one of the earliest forms of watering crops. Several different irrigation styles make it possible to utilize this technique in a greenhouse, including capillary mats, troughs, flood and drain trays, and flood floors. These sub-irrigation options allow watering to happen from the bottom up, and they are generally considered to be more effective and efficient than systems that water from the top down. Here are some of their advantages.

Advantages of Flood Irrigation Systems

Saves Time

Some flood irrigation systems incorporate existing benches to reduce cost and save time on their setup and operation. 

Uniform Plant Growth

Plants can thrive in sub-irrigation systems because each one gets the same amount of water, resulting in uniform plant growth. Flood floors are popular with larger growers for this reason.

Efficient Water Use

Delivering water from the ground up, flood irrigation systems stays in the water rather than evaporating into the air.  Like drip systems, sub-irrigation methods can save 50 percent or more water. 

Less Fertilizer Use

Sub-irrigation systems use water and fertilizer more efficiently. Up to 50 percent less fertilizer can be used in these systems because water is collected, stored and reused. 

Lower Humidity

Supplying water from the bottom up reduces water evaporation, which means less humidity. Therefore, you have one less thing to monitor in your greenhouse!

Lower Disease Risk

This system stores and re-circulates water so little water moves between containers, trays, or troughs. This helps lower the spread of disease in your greenhouse.

Increased Space Efficiency

Placing trays and troughs throughout your greenhouse allows your plants to grow and thrive. Easy to move trays and troughs allow you to place the containers where you need them.

Which system is right for you? Let our knowledgeable professionals know if you have questions. Call us at 800-531-4769, and we’ll be happy to help you with your irrigation needs!

How to Repot Your Plants Step by Step

Container plants can get a much-needed boost if they are repotted. Most healthy container plants outgrow their pots. They can show many signs that they need rejuvenation, so pay attention to your plants and take action when you see them. Learn how to repot your plants step by step. 

When to Repot Your Plants?

Notice if your plants look like they’ve outgrown their container, their roots are growing out of the drainage holes or roots are pushing the plant up and out of the planter. Plant growth may also be slower than usual or the plant may become top heavy.

Check the soil, as well. If water is sitting on top of the soil and not being absorbed, if the plant dries out quickly or if the soil looks dry or is falling apart, these are signs that your container plant needs to be moved to a new home.

There is no exact timetable to follow on when to repot your plants. Typically, every 12 to 18 months is a good rule of thumb, though some plants are happy to be in the same container for years. The best time to repot plants is in the early spring, right before the growth season begins, but it can be done whenever you notice that it needs to be done.

When the time comes to repot your plants, follow these steps.

Select a Container

When moving a plant from a smaller to larger pot, choose a container that is only a couple of inches larger in diameter than the original. A small plant placed in a container that is too large could suffer in excess wet soil. Containers should have sufficient drainage and a tray underneath to catch excess runoff. Keep in mind that repotting doesn’t always mean moving a plant to a new container. A previously used pot should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed so no lingering disease is transferred. Most importantly, repotting means fresh nutrients to give your plant a new start.

Water Thoroughly

Before you go through the repotting process, water your plant in the old container thoroughly. Plan to do this a day or two before you move the plant. If the soil is damp, it will hold together better and allow you to remove the plant with ease. Check the new potting soil, and if it feels dry, add some water to it too.

Remove the Plant

Turn the container sideways, hold the plant gently by the stems and pull it out. You may have to tap on the sides or the bottom of the pot or give the stems a gentle tug. A root-bound plant usually slides out in one piece. But if a lot of loose soil comes out with, that may be a sign it doesn’t need to be repotted. Take a look at the roots to be sure. They should be white or light in color. If they are dark in color or smell, that may indicate disease. To remove a stuck plant, run a knife around the edge or gently press the sides of the pot if it is a flexible plastic to encourage it to come out. 

Loosen or Cut Roots

Once the plant is removed from the container, loosen the roots and unbind or cut through tangled ones. This helps promote better nutrient absorption. Trim extra long roots, even removing part of the root ball if necessary. You may even make some vertical cuts in the root ball and cut through roots growing in a circular pattern to revive the plant when repotted. 

Prepare the New Container

Remove about a third of the old potting mix, then pour a layer of fresh, pre-moistened potting soil into the container. Place the plant on top, then fill in with potting mix until the plant can stand on its own. Don’t overdo the amount of soil or pack it in tightly. Allow the roots some space to breathe, and leave about an inch from the top of the planter unfilled. This will allow water to be absorbed, rather than running over the edge of the container.  

Water Your Repotted Plant

To complete the process, water your plant in its new container thoroughly and add plant food. It’s best not to stress the plant after moving it, so maintain the temperature, light and watering it gets. 

Looking for new containers for your repotting needs? Call our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 for assistance or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to view our selection!

Most Efficient Ways to Water Plants in Your Greenhouse

Greenhouse Irrigation Most Efficient Ways to Water in GreenhouseMany different types of greenhouse irrigation can be used to properly water the plants in your greenhouse. This article will give you tips on how to efficiently water the plants in your greenhouse regardless of the irrigation method you use. 

Automated greenhouse irrigation systems can help uniformly water plants in a greenhouse, but these systems may not be practical for a hobby gardener or a small grower.  

There are several factors that determine when and how much you should water your plants. Consider these tips to ensure you are doing that most efficiently.

Greenhouse Irrigation Tips

Tips on When to Water:

The color or the moisture level of the growing medium is a good indicator of when a plant needs water. As the surface color becomes lighter, it’s usually time to add water. Another test is to squeeze some of the growing medium in your hand, and if little to no moisture is present or if it falls apart, the plant should be watered. Use this as a general guide, as crop type, time of day, current season and weather also affect when water is needed.

Tips on How Much Water to Apply:

Growers can apply less water at more frequent intervals to avoid saturating the growing medium. The growing medium can also be purposefully saturated to retain more water. Either way, the growing medium will need sufficient time to dry. Shallow watering helps prevent root disease, particularly earlier in the plant’s life cycle. Too much water can result in root disease or slower growth rates. The challenge with each method is providing plants the same amount of water.

Tips on Watering by Season:

Day length, sun intensity and temperature determine how quickly growing medium dries out. During sunny spring days, plants may need more water because the medium will quickly dry. On cloudy and rainy days in the spring, plants may need less, especially closer to the evening. Plants that don’t have a chance to dry out can be susceptible to mildew and fungus. In winter, plants need even less water because the growing medium dries out slower. Plants watered earlier in the day will be able to dry before the sun sets.

For hobbyists and smaller growers, hand watering may be sufficient. It allows the gardener to evaluate the condition of their plants and take action if any signs of disease or pests are present. Irrigation systems help ensure that plants receive the amount of water they need when they need it. 

Gothic Arch Greenhouses has the irrigation systems you need! Call us at 800-531-4769 and let our knowledgeable experts help you select the one that’s right for your operation.

 

How to Protect Your Greenhouse Plants from Pests and Disease

How to Protect Plants from Pest and Disease Gothic Arch GreenhouseGreenhouse growers aim to create an ideal environment in which plants can thrive year round.

Along with managing temperature and humidity, keeping pests out and preventing the spread of disease are important.

The best way to protect greenhouse plants from pests and disease is by keeping it clean and consistent.

By not only controlling the greenhouse environment, but also what you introduce into it, you can set yourself up for a successful growing season.

Keep Greenhouse Environment Clean

Pests and disease can spread quickly in an untidy environment. As part of your regular maintenance routine, wash all surfaces, clean pots and disinfect tools. Remove dead leaves and other old plant matter to eliminate insect food sources. Get rid of all standing water. When working with plants, wash your hands before and after. Promote air circulation by giving each plant plenty of room to grow. Growers can empty their structure annually to clean all surfaces, check all doors and supplies for damages, and make repairs. 

Keep Greenhouse Environment Consistent

Keeping the environment consistent throughout the greenhouse helps eliminate the hot, humid conditions in which pests and disease thrive. Some experts suggest natural ventilation systems are an ideal way to create those uniform conditions. Not only does the fresh air help control temperature and humidity, but it also contributes to transpiration and cell wall strengthening, beneficial for creating healthy plants. Automated climate controls can also have the same effect by creating consistent temperature and humidity to prevent the spread of pests and disease.

Inspect Greenhouse Plants Regularly for Pests

As a gardener, one of your most important tools is observation. Make time to inspect your plants regularly to identify and address signs of pests or disease before they get out of hand. Check your plants–or at least a smaller group of them–every day. Take note of spotted leaves, insects, insect skins, groupings of dying plants or unusual growth. If you suspect any plants are infested or diseased, remove them from your greenhouse and dispose of them right away.

Isolate New Plants in Greenhouse

Pests can also enter the greenhouse when you introduce new plants to the environment. When bringing in new plants, keep them isolated in an aquarium with a tight-fitting lid for up to two weeks to ensure no signs of bugs or diseases are present. Once you are sure that no pests or disease are present, you can safely transplant your new plants into your greenhouse. 

Use Barriers and Traps in Greenhouse

Growers can use barriers, screens and traps to protect plants from the vast majority of pests. Insect screens over vents, windows and other openings are effective, but they limit the amount of sunlight that gets inside the greenhouse. Floating row covers and sticky traps are commonly used to provide protection. Sticky traps placed under benches, close to vents and near windows and doors will help you monitor pest activity.

Tips for Using Pest Controls in Greenhouse

Choosing between chemical or organic methods of pest control is a personal choice. While some insects can be harmful to your plants, others are natural predators to those pests. Not all insects are bad! If using chemicals, start by using the least toxic methods of pest control first so there is less damage to those beneficial insects.

Pests and disease target stressed and damaged plants. The best defense against pests and disease is keeping your plants healthy. We can help! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for the supplies you need to protect your plants today!

 

How to Design Greenhouses for Your Climate

How to Design Your Greenhouse for Your Climate Gothic Arch Greenhouse Greenhouse for Dry Climate Greenhouses forGreenhouse design is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Areas with low sunlight and heavy snowfall require different structures than a tropical climate marked by extreme heat and high humidity. We will help narrow down the best greenhouses for your climate. 

By understanding their local climate, gardeners and commercial growers of any size can make fundamental decisions about their greenhouse setup. Doing so will allow their plants to thrive and also extend their growing season.

Because a greenhouse provides protection from external elements, determining how the weather and climate in your area affects your plants is essential. Ultimately, the design of the structure is influenced by whether it is shielding them from wind, rain, heat, snow, etc.  

Whether you’re considering a new structure or want to optimize an existing one, these design suggestions—based on the four major climate types—will help you maximize production year after year. 

Greenhouses for Dry Tropical or Desert Climates

For climates marked by extremely high temperatures, low humidity and high winds, a minimalist structure works best. A simple shade structure using insect screen as sidewall protection is the most practical option to manage costs. A misting or fogging system can help increase humidity inside the greenhouse, while also helping to reduce temperatures well below the arid conditions outside. It can upgrade this economical design to include automated cooling systems for even more control over the greenhouse climate.

Greenhouses for Humid Subtropical Climates

Hot, muggy conditions day and night, coupled with heavy rains, require flexible greenhouse designs, as simple as a plastic roof with roll-up sides covered with insect mesh for protection against pests or a more substantial greenhouse that can withstand higher winds and scorching sunny days. Even larger greenhouses may feature open-roof construction to allow for natural ventilation. Heating systems and insulation aren’t much of a concern in this climate, but misting systems, circulation fans and movable screens can help manage temperature, air flow and light intensity.

Greenhouses for Temperate Climates

Temperate climates exhibit seasonal variations in temperature and moderate rainfall year round. An optimal greenhouse design features fully clad walls, roof and sides with large areas to encourage ventilation. A double layer of insulation can significantly reduce heating expenses. Commercial growers in these conditions may find it most efficient to manage heating, ventilation, irrigation and lighting with environmental controls.  These controls help easily maintain optimal greenhouse conditions despite the changing weather. 

Greenhouses for Cold Temperate Climates

In cold, snowy climates, greenhouses should be sturdy enough to handle heavy snow.  Polycarbonate walls and a steep roof pitch will help prevent snow from collecting on top of the greenhouse. Adding supplemental lighting and keeping vents closed will help keep the greenhouse warmer, particularly during colder months.

The experts at Gothic Arch Greenhouses will help you choose the right greenhouse for your climate.  Please call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to view our selection of greenhouses.

What You Need to Know About Caring for Hydrangeas

Caring for Hydrangeas Gothic Arch Greenhouse Mobile ALHydrangeas are prized for their big, colorful blooms, and if cared for properly, they will thrive, and their natural beauty will be enhanced.Even if you don’t have much space, you can still enjoy these flowers. Hydrangeas are suited to be grown as shrubs, in containers and in gardens. Just make sure they get enough morning sun (afternoon sun is too hot) and shade (but not too much). Base the amount of sun they are exposed to be where your garden is located. For example, hydrangeas that are further north need more light than those in the south.

If you understand the unique needs of hydrangeas, you can help nurture beautiful, healthy flowers that come back year after year.  

General Care for Hydrangeas

Though hydrangeas may appear delicate, they don’t require a lot of specialized care. They need plenty of water, one inch per week during their growing season. Deeply watering the plants is recommended three times a week to help encourage root growth. Be sure not to get moisture on leaves or the blooms. Providing this much water will protect plants from wilting on hot days.

Adding mulch to the base of the plant will also help keep the soil cool and moist. Plus, as the mulch breaks down, it will provide nutrients and boost the soil texture, especially if it is organic mulch. Finding the right fertilizer for your hydrangea variety will also boost growth and promote the health of the plant.

Hydrangeas tend to be pretty resistant to pests, but inspect your plants often. Typically, the best defense against aphids and red spider mites (pests that can infect hydrangeas) is giving them the proper care.

Hydrangea Pruning

Pruning hydrangeas properly can result in a more plentiful plant. Routinely trimming back dead leaves, flowers and branches will allow enough room for new growth. If your hydrangeas have enough room to grow, your only concern is to prune to remove dead wood and spent flowers. If a whole branch is dead, be sure to cut it off at the base of the plant.

With regular dead-heading, hydrangea plants are encouraged to produce more and bigger blooms. But pruning is important too. There is a growth-inhibiting chemical released by terminal buds at the tips of stems, so without this maintenance, fewer flowers are produced.

Dead-heading will help your plants bloom into the fall. Avoid pruning past August. By then, any new growth may be cut short by an early fall freeze. Allow any early fall blooms to simply fade away on their own, or cut your blooms and enjoy them! Hydrangeas make beautiful arrangements in bunches on their own or with other plants and flowers.

Changing the Color of Hydrangeas

You can change the color of your hydrangea blooms, but don’t expect it to happen right away. The process can take weeks or months! It’s recommended to wait at least two years before trying to make any change, so the plant has enough time to recover from the shock of its initial planting.

Please note that not all varieties can change color. Soil acidity influences the color of the flower—acidic soils (less than 5.5 pH) produce blue flowers; soils with a pH above 5.5 produce pink flowers. Changing the color from blue to pink is easier than changing pink to blue. Also white hydrangeas are unaffected by the pH level of the soil.

If your goal is getting pink hydrangeas to turn blue, don’t get discouraged. It will happen! One recommendation is to cover the base in pine straw, which adds a natural acidity. Other options to lower the pH and increase acidity include adding coffee grounds, eggshells and other compostable items, such as citrus peels. The addition of sulfur or peat moss to the soil can also result in blue flowers, whereas ground limestone can bring forth pink blooms.

To accurately determine which direction to go in, conduct a soil pH test. As you change the soil, continue to test it. A pH level above 7.5 can cause damage to the plant. When fall gets closer, all hydrangeas start to fade, but don’t worry! The plant’s bright, colorful blooms will return in the spring.

Need hydrangea help? We offer containers, nutrients and supplements, benches, carts and more. Please let us know if we can support your gardening efforts! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

When to Upgrade Your Commercial Greenhouse

Commercial Greenhouse Upgrade When to Upgrade Gothic Arch Greenhouse Mobile ALMaintaining your commercial greenhouse can mean more than sealing doors, greasing hinges, and fixing tears or cracks in coverings. For commercial greenhouses, proper maintenance also means making necessary upgrades to keep your operation efficient and your workforce effective. Not only can this result in healthier plants, but also better profit margins.

Commercial greenhouse technology changes quickly. For that reason, consider that a greenhouse has about 10-15 years of useful life in it in terms of its systems, such as heating, cooling, etc. The structure itself may last a lot longer, but planning to upgrade the working parts of your greenhouse operation is necessary to stay competitive.

Planning ahead for greenhouse upgrades can help manage overall costs and keep your greenhouse running at maximum efficiency. Keeping a running inventory of your supplies and equipment will help streamline your upgrade process. 

Commercial Greenhouse Upgrades

Below, you will find several types of supplies and equipment that can be upgraded within your commercial greenhouse, often at a low cost. Upgrading your equipment now will save you money in the long run.

Benching

Benches are great for creating more growing space and keeping your greenhouse organized.  If you have stationary benches, making the switch to movable or rolling benches can help you increase your production area by up to 25 percent. Using benches as shelving for your plants allows you to group them in a way that makes them easier to find and sort. 

Glazing

Glazing, or greenhouse coverings, are becoming more effective at helping to maintain greenhouse temperatures. Manage heating costs by reviewing your glazing. It’s likely you regularly reglaze, but be especially mindful of acrylic and glass, which dulls easily. A greenhouse grade glaze that diffuses light, coupled with an infrared layer that adds energy efficiency is ideal.

Heating

High efficiency heaters help reduce how much energy your heating system uses. Growers can also use horizontal air flow fans to help move warm air throughout the greenhouse. There are many natural gas and propane options to choose from. Other natural fuel sources can be used to boost efficiency even more. 

Ventilation

Making the move to natural ventilation will have a significant impact on your energy costs as well. Roll-up side walls, large roof vents and open roof designs make this a widely available option. Switching to energy efficient fans is an easy way to save money. 

Controls

Controls allow you to manage the temperature and other environmental factors in your greenhouse. Some of the latest technology now combines heating and cooling in one device. By streamlining the monitoring, this helps the systems work more efficiently, that the environment maintains consistent temperatures. 

Irrigation

Upgrading your irrigation systems can be a great way to lower costs. Keeping your irrigation system on a timer so that it comes on at certain intervals helps manage water usage. There are also ebb and flood products available that help recycle water to use over and over again. 

Materials Handling

Automation is one of the newest greenhouse trends. Using automated systems can greatly cut down on your labor costs over time. Many automated options are available, including rotating basket systems, container filling, potting and labeling, etc. Also consider conveyors and carts to move plants, as they offer the most inexpensive option.

Have questions about a particular system or upgrade cost? We’re greenhouse experts! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.