Why Buy a Greenhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Greenhouse Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Plant in Your Summer Greenhouse

What to Plant in Greenhouse in Summer Gothic ArchGreenhouses are well-known options for starting and nurturing seedlings in preparation to move them to outdoor gardens, especially when the warmer temperatures of summer start to arrive. But a summer greenhouse is well-suited for growing many heat-tolerant crops.

If your greenhouse goes relatively unused during the summer months, you may want to incorporate these plants in your growing rotation to maximize your yield.

Herbs. Many varieties of herbs flourish in hot and dry conditions, making them ideal for a summer greenhouse environment. Allow them to dry out between waterings, but be careful not to let them get overheated. Although, the heat in a greenhouse makes it easy to dry and preserve cuttings. Try your hand at rosemary, lavender, sage, oregano, thyme, marjoram, mint, basil, parsley and chives.

Okra. Built for the heat, okra is native to tropical Africa so it thrives in higher temperatures. When planted in the summer, okra will produce until the weather starts to cool off. Seedlings should be thinned out—about a foot apart—once they start to get a couple of inches tall. It is recommended that pods be harvested frequently, when they are about 3 inches long, for best quality. But some varieties may stay tender longer.  

Eggplant. Oriental types of eggplant stand up especially well to the heat, particularly in mid-to-late summer. Varieties that yield long, narrow fruit or larger fruits flourish in the summer. Give them plenty of space when planting to grow. Keep an eye on the skins of the plants as an indication of when they should be harvested. When the skin starts to dull, harvest immediately, regardless of the size.

Hot Peppers. More tolerant of heat than, say, bell peppers, hot pepper varieties prefer warmer temperatures for seeds to germinate. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. You can harvest when peppers are green or have reached their full color at maturation. The heat in the greenhouse gives you the option to harvest peppers for your consumption—fresh or dried—or to sell.

Melons. Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon, for example, flourish under warmer growing conditions. They can be raised in summer greenhouses, and while they require little space at first, you can easily expand their growing area. While melons and other plants mentioned prefer warmer temperatures, you want to be considerate of your local climate and take care that proper ventilation protects them from overheating.

Interested in utilizing your greenhouse for summer planting? Gothic Arch Greenhouses has all the supplies you need to get started! Visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com or call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 for assistance.

How to Get Started with Hydroponic Gardening

Getting Started With Hydroponics Gothic ArchHydroponic gardening offers a unique growing experience, utilizing a soil-less technique that has been proven to increase yield and conserve water.

Not only is this a practical approach to gardening, but also it’s an ancient one. Just think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the Floating Gardens of Ancient China.

Despite these extravagant examples, this approach to gardening is as accessible to the novice grower as it is to large-scale commercial operations, and its setup is even ideal for those in urban settings who may lack outdoor space.

Many hydroponic systems or kits are available in various sizes to accommodate your space needs and your yield expectations. But if you’re wondering about how you should get started, consider these fundamentals.

Select your system. Four common hydroponics systems include: the classic ebb and flow, which is easy to build yourself; the top drip system, which is the most common; the deep water culture system, the most economical; and the wick system, which is the simples. Important things to consider when selecting a system are space, cost and the time required to maintain it.

Learn about lighting. If your hydroponic garden is indoors, lighting is a must. Lighting kits can be purchased to complement your system, and it’s recommended that you purchase all the components together rather than individually. In this way, the ballast, lamp and bulb wattage will match.

Research nutrients. Choose the water in your nutrient solution carefully. Reverse osmosis, spring, distilled or well water is recommended, then mix the fertilizer at the manufacturer’s recommended rate. Monitor the pH of your nutrient solution with a pH adjuster, aiming for a reading between 5.5 and 6 for all growing mediums.

Choose your medium. Though hydroponics doesn’t use soil, a growing medium is still needed. Coconut coir and Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) are recommended as good starter mediums. The former excels at absorbing water, and is recommended for all systems but ebb and flow. LECA excels at drainage, so it is ideal for the ebb and flow system.

Pick your plants. Select plants that set you up for success, particularly if you are a first-timer at hydroponics. Good starter plants include: greens, like lettuce, spinach and kale; herbs, including basil, parsley, mint, oregano and cilantro; tomatoes; strawberries; and hot peppers.

If you still have questions about where to begin with hydroponics or need more specific guidance about your existing system, call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for hydroponic gardening supplies.

Most Energy-Efficient Ways to Cool a Greenhouse in Summer

 

Kool_Cel_003

A greenhouse’s ability to trap heat makes it ideal for providing necessary warmth to plants in cooler winter months.

But managing that heat in the warmer summer months can present a challenge for the grower.

That’s why understanding and employing proper greenhouse cooling methods is necessary to ensuring your continued gardening success throughout the year.

As warmer temperatures start to arrive where you are, keep these cooling techniques in mind so your greenhouse doesn’t overheat—and your plants don’t suffer!

Shadecloth. An easily added option that works well in all climates, shadecloth cools by keeping heat out of the greenhouse. It’s recommended that you use a light meter to determine what your light levels are, then selecting an appropriate shading factor for optimal efficiency. For best results, install the shadecloth on the outside of your greenhouse to prevent additional heat from entering the structure.

Ventilation. Active (mechanical) or passive (natural) ventilation methods are a low-cost and low-maintenance option for cooling greenhouses, but they may need to be paired with another option in an extremely hot climate. Whether your system involves vents and/or fans, use cooler outdoor temperatures to your advantage whenever possible to maximize their efficiency. Even in very hot climates, this may only happen at night.

Evaporation. Misters, wet walls and evaporative cooling systems help bring temperatures down as vaporized water absorbs heat from the air. Commonly found in large commercial operations, evaporative cooling can work on a smaller scale in residential greenhouses. These systems are ideal in dry climates, but technology is at work to develop wet wall options for humid environments.

Not sure which cooling method will work for you? Or do you need some advice to create a custom system? 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.

Spotlight on College-Level Horticultural Programs

Greenhouses in Schools College Horticulture Programs Gothic ArchWhen a child is introduced to gardening, a seed is planted that may lead to a lifelong interest—or career—in horticulture. But even more opportunities about in this field than those that may quickly come to mind when you think of greenhouse programs in schools.

The lessons or experiments grow more sophisticated from elementary to high school programs, but taking a look college-level horticultural programs provides a glimpse into all the doors that can be opened by cultivating a passion in gardening.

These are just a few of the many post-secondary programs that provide students with the education and hands-on experience through research to prepare them for diverse careers in horticulture.

University of Hawaii – Tropical Plants and Soil Sciences

Students and faculty at the University of Hawaii are taking an active role in shaping the decisions of land use planners, farmers, researchers and others through their study of the state’s soils. By classifying and interpreting how each type of soil should best be used, both students and the public benefit from research conducted and the feedback it generates.

University of Arkansas – Turfgrass Science

Improving turfgrass production and management for golf courses, sports fields, and commercial and residential lawns is the focus of this program at the University of Arkansas. Students gain a well-rounded education by learning cutting-edge techniques and applying them in a unique laboratory setting that allows for studying warm- and cold-season turfgrass species.

Rutgers University – Horticultural Therapy

Gardeners know the many benefits of nurturing plants, but programs like the one at Rutgers University in horticultural therapy are helping translate that same experience in vocational, social and therapeutic programs. Such therapists may work as part of a team and help patients achieve a sense of accomplishment or independence through customized activities for people with a wide range of abilities.

Central Carolina Community College – Sustainable Agriculture

Students in the sustainable agriculture program learn about more than better growing methods. They also gain the business and technical skills required to manage profitable, environmentally-sound and community-based farms or agricultural operations. An organically managed outdoor classroom, which includes a greenhouse, provides invaluable hands-on opportunities for research, production and demonstration.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses has long been a supporter of horticultural programs in schools, from elementary programs through college settings. To learn more about designing a greenhouse program for your needs, please call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

How to Prepare Your Greenhouse for Spring

Preparing Greenhouse for Spring Gothic ArchOne of the most important preparation tasks you can do to ready your greenhouse for spring involves a deep cleaning.

Not only is this a nice way to give yourself and your greenhouse a fresh start as you approach a new growing season, but also—and more importantly—it helps rid your gardening space of any lingering pests.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking a cold winter has killed off harmful insects. Slugs, aphids and other pests can survive in the comfortable warmer temperatures inside the greenhouse and wait for your spring planting to attack.

So how can you be sure that your greenhouse is really ready for new growing season? Follow these steps to ensure your space has had a thorough spring cleaning that sets you up for growing success!

Clean on a warm day. This allows you to completely empty the greenhouse so no trace of your greenhouse is untouched. If the weather is warm enough, you can set your plants outside without any protection. If it’s still a little cooler, you can wrap them, especially if they are more delicate.

Start with the floors. Sweep out the entire greenhouse, paying particular attention to the corners where pests can linger and hide. Fix any low spots in the floors where water could accumulate, and be careful to remove any dead plant matter.

Scrub the glass. This will break down any algae or mildew that has built up on your greenhouse. This step is particularly crucial because you don’t want this to limit the amount of sunlight your new seedlings are getting early on.

Disinfect everything. That includes pots, planters, shelves, benches, hose nozzles and garden tools. You can use hot soapy water or an eco-friendly disinfectant, but just be sure you give everything a thorough washing and rinsing.

Replenish the soil. Take care to give your potting media a reset as well. Soil can easily become depleted of nutrients—and all the more accessible to pests—if not. It only makes sense as you give your greenhouse a fresh start on the growing season to give your plants one as well.

Check the outside. Inspect the perimeter of your greenhouse for any signs of pests and treat them. Now is also a good time to repair any tears or openings that may allow insects to make their way inside.

Still have questions on how to prepare your greenhouse for spring? At Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we’re happy to help! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to find everything you need for a successful growing season.

What Studies Say About Greenhouse Ventilation Methods

Greenhouse Ventilation Gothic Arch GreenhouseManaging temperatures in a greenhouse is of utmost importance to growers, particularly when they start to rise in the summer.

Several greenhouse ventilation methods are available, but selecting the one—or the combination—that is best suited for your efforts is dependent upon local climate and even the type of crops you are growing.

With that in mind, these are the most commonly used ventilation methods and a summary of what research says about each one.

Natural Ventilation. This is the most economic option for cooling a greenhouse, but depending on your local climate, natural ventilation alone might not be the most effective. Vents and louvers help aid in allowing warmer air to naturally escape a greenhouse to keep the temperature at a desired level. Roof and side vents—at a recommended 15 to 20 percent of the floor area each—assist in drawing in cooler air and pushing warmer air out of the structure. To take advantage of this, the greenhouse orientation should be such that the normal summer wind direction passes over the ridge. Additional options to maximize natural ventilation include taller greenhouses that draw hot air higher above plants or even open-roof greenhouses that have the potential to save on energy and irrigation costs.

Mechanical Ventilation. Employing mechanical ventilation, such as through the addition of fans, can complement natural ventilation in a greenhouse. To maximize their effectiveness and energy efficiency, you must consider the volume of the greenhouse, the ventilating efficiency ratio (VER) and motor size of the fans. The VER is the ratio of the volumetric rate of air movement to the rate of energy consumption, and fans with a VER rating of 15 or higher are desirable. Slightly larger fans operating on smaller motors can also help save on energy costs. A thermostat will be an invaluable investment to help you monitor the temperature, and placing a thermostat near the center of the greenhouse at plant height is recommended to give the most accurate reading. Also consider alarms that will notify you of high temperature or power failure, as in hotter summer months just a few minutes without proper ventilation can result in excessive heat inside a greenhouse.

Evaporative Cooling. Two types of evaporative cooling systems are fan-and-pad systems and fog-mist systems. Fan-and-pad systems are more common and work by fans drawing air through wet pads to cool the environment. Approximately one square foot of pad is needed for 20 square feet of floor area. Clean water with low mineral content is recommended to prevent clogging and coating of the pads to yield optimal performance. Fan-and-pad systems tend to be preferred by growers in humid conditions, but a fogging system is another option. Some of the advantages of the latter option include that it uses less water, it not only cools, but corrects the vapor pressure deficit, and that it can be installed with little to no structural modifications.

Wondering what ventilation system might work for you or what accessories you’ll need to keep your greenhouse cool? We at Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help. Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to get started.

6 Tips for Growing Orchids

How to Grow Orchids Gothic Arch GreenhouseOrchids are well-known for their exotic beauty and the meticulous care it takes to grow them.

So much so that there are multiple societies and publications devoted to their conservation and cultivation.

But despite all of this attention given to the orchid, growers shouldn’t be too intimidated to try their hand at nurturing these beautiful blooms.

Like every other plant, it helps to understand the specific needs and conditions they require to grow and thrive.

With that in mind, here are seven fundamental tips to follow when growing orchids—whether you’re experienced or you’re just getting started.

Know what grows best. With nearly 30,000 species of orchids, there is a variety that is well suited for your growing area. Unless you have a greenhouse and have control over humidity and light, being able to offer the orchid conditions in which it naturally thrives is a successful place to begin.

Repot your orchid. Some suggest repotting annually; other say every other year. The most important thing to note is the condition of the potting media. If it starts to break down, becoming more like dirt and less like bark, then it’s time to give your orchid a reset. Wait until after it blooms so as not to disturb its growth cycle.

Water orchids with care. Orchids need to be watered in accordance with a wet-dry cycle that mimics their tropical nature. A drenching once a week to soak the bark in the potting media and the required humidity to dry it out is generally ideal, although you should take into account your growing conditions (such as space) and the needs of the variety. Typically orchids should be watered when the potting media is unmoist, not when bone dry.

Don’t overdo the fertilizer. While you can add nutrients to help support orchids, do it sparingly. These exotic flowers receive very little fertilization naturally, so it is recommended to use fertilizer at half strength—even those labelled as being orchid-specific. Add once a week with water, but take at least one week off per month.

Monitor airflow—and pests. Orchids need ample space to ensure proper airflow. While this is a concern primarily for growers with many plants, allowing air to stagnate can lead to the development of pests. Airflow can dry orchids out more quickly, so check the soil regularly to determine

Make sure orchids get plenty of light. Orchids love the light, which is no surprise because of their tropical nature. For best results, 12 to 14 hours is recommended, and this can include both natural and artificial sources. South- and east-facing windows are often the best options for receiving enough sunlight indoors, but full-spectrum bulbs are a good all-around pick for many orchid varieties.

Have questions about your orchid-growing needs? We at Gothic Arch Greenhouses can help you select all the supplies and accessories—and even greenhouses—to get growing. Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to get started.

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.