A greenhouse’s most important function is to provide the perfect environment for plant growth. Storing the sun’s energy and harnessing it to benefit your crop is the key to all good greenhouse design. Ventilation is essential for balancing an indoor climate that makes the most of the powerful solar spectrum, while keeping an optimal temperature and air quality to help your plants thrive!
Air exchange is important not only for providing the carbon dioxide and fresh air that plants need for photosynthesis. It also helps keep the temperatures inside your greenhouse regulated. In Winter, a greenhouse’s function is to store heat from the sun, creating a warmer temperature in the greenhouse versus outside of it. But in the Summer, an unventilated greenhouse can turn into a furnace, holding withering heat instead of protecting your plants from the elements.
Cooling a greenhouse on a hot day is a difficult task without a good ventilation layout. The most effective greenhouse ventilation system is will use exhaust fans, setup to blow hot, stale air out, and intake shutters mounted opposite, to bring fresh, cooler air in. (Shown in picture)
An exhaust fan system should be able to make a complete change of air in 1 to 3 minutes in summer to keep temperatures in the greenhouse at a reasonable level. One minute or less is best for small greenhouses; Two to three minutes is acceptable for large commercial-sized greenhouses.
Plants require fresh air year-round, which is why it is important to have equipment with options like louvered fans, motorized shutters, and variable speed motors that will help prevent heat loss when it is cold outside.
Roof and side vents are also helpful to supply fresh air to plants and cool your greenhouse. This is also ideal for venting during cold months, because if used with automatic vent openers, fresh air can be supplied to plants gradually, reducing any “temperature shock”. HAF circulation fans are highly recommended for use with side and/or roof mounted vent systems. These fans move air throughout the greenhouse, eliminating hot and cold spots. The increased air movement helps to expel hot air out of the window vents and provides fresh air for plants.
Air movement, cooling, and some additional humidity can be provided by an evaporative cooler. It will provide additional active ventilation, bringing in cooler air and exhausting the hotter air through existing roof vents. Evaporative coolers can be used in conjunction with exhaust shutters like in the diagram below.
A combination of shade, proper ventilation, and an evaporative cooling system, misting system, fogger, or wet wall can be very effecting for regulating high temperatures. A greenhouse allows you considerable control over your growing environment; however, even using all of the items mentioned above, you can expect a greenhouse to still not be much cooler than the outside temperature in extremely hot, humid areas.
Many plants thrive in warm, humid environments, but this is not the optimal climate for all plants. Researching your particular crops’ needs can help you to find the right combination to keep your plants healthy and happy. The effectiveness of your ventilation, your cooling, your humidity, and your outdoor ambient temperature are all very important factors to keep in mind when choosing your greenhouse crops for mid-summer. For expert advise to guide your greenhouse ventilation plan, give the experts at Gothic Arch Greenhouses a call today. We’ve got the knowledge and experience to help you make the most of your growing space, all year round.
Unlike Steel, which rusts due
to the presence of iron in its composition, Aluminum does not rust. When
continually exposed to oxygen and water, the surface of steel gradually becomes
pale and brown, and it loses its aesthetic value.
Even galvanized steel isn’t
completely immune from rusting, as the paint will wear off (especially around
the joints) with time due to the effect of weather extremities, thereby only
delaying the inevitable. You’ll have no such worries with aluminum.
Aluminum is naturally resistant thanks to the protective layer of aluminum oxide that forms around it when it interacts with oxygen and water. This layer shields the insides while also rendering corrosive elements inert, thereby ensuring the framing retains its visual appeal for years.
2) Less maintenance
Since it doesn’t splinter, crack, rot, or rust, an aluminum frame requires little to no maintenance work. That saves you both time and money. Steel frames also don’t have too much work save for the periodic painting- particularly necessary in cold climates plagued by snow and ice- which brings labor and material expenses.
3) Aluminum is lighter
Steel is about two and a half
times denser than aluminum, so it makes for a more massive frame that requires
some effort to build and repair. The
opposite is the case for the latter, which is light and malleable.
So what will it be?
An aluminum or steel frame,
what will it be? Both are solid options and your choice will largely depend on
your specific needs and how much you are willing to spend.
An aluminum or steel frame, what will it be? Both are solid options and your choice will largely depend on your specific needs and how much you are willing to spend.
All vegetable crops that produce a fruit need pollination to produce food. In contrast to leafy greens, legumes, roots, and tubers, fruit-bearing plants require pollen to produce an edible crop.
If your vegetables are not yielding fruit, or the flowers are not developing healthy, maturing fruits, it could be due to poor pollination. Some typical causes of poor pollination are late frosts, prolonged rain, unseasonable cold, lack of humidity, or no access to pollinator insects.
Pollination in a greenhouse
When growing inside a greenhouse, the ability to completely control your growing environment is always your greatest asset. When it comes to pollination and growing food crops, there are elements of that environment that need special consideration.
A dry atmosphere can lead to poor pollination, and malformed fruits, berries, and vegetables. Be sure that your indoor environment is humid enough to encourage healthy pollination and growth. For larger greenhouses, a mist irrigation system can be a great solution.
Insects can be scarce in a greenhouse environment. It is easy to forget that insects do the important job of pollination, and if you are rid of them completely, your plants can suffer. One solution is to leave your greenhouse door open on days with favorable weather. Pollinator-friendly companion planting can be done around the perimeter of your greenhouse to encourage the insects you want to visit.
Another solution is to pollinate by hand. Self-pollinating plants (those which have both male and female parts within the same flower), can be gently shaken to loosen pollen and encourage fertilization. A more reliable way to pollinate is by using a soft paint brush to brush the inside of each flower, moving pollen from the stamens to the stigma.
For plants that produce both male and female flowers, pick a male flower, which will have three to five stamens with pollen- producing anthers. Strip back the petal to rub the stamens against the stigma of a female flower. Female flowers have a swollen ovary or fruit at the base of the petals, which male flowers lack.
For some plants, you’ll want to avoid pollination. Vegetables that are produced for their greens, bulbs, or roots, should not flower and seed. Once plants have flowered, they produce fewer leaves and concentrate their energy on seed production. This can make the leaves taste tough and bitter, or reduce the size of the edible root or bulb.
Companion planting for pollination
To encourage pollinator insects to visit your garden, plant flowers nearby to your food crops. or outside of your greenhouse area. Some flowers that encourage a broad range of helpful insects are comfrey, geranium, lupin, cosmos, borage, buddleia, lavender, and sunflower.
Basil, if left to flower, attracts several types of bee and improves the flavor of tomatoes and lettuce. Dill, oregano, sage, and thyme planted throughout the garden and allowed to flower can also brighten the flavor of many vegetables.
Trellis climbers and hanging potted strawberries benefit from hummingbirds. You can attract them with large, colorful flowers such as zinnias.
Calendula grows well with summer squash, and cosmos companion with cucumbers. These attract not only bees but also garden flies. Their larvae are predatory to aphids, leafhoppers, and other garden pests. Stone fruits, grapes, fennel, carrots, and beets are beneficial fly favorites. Plant alyssum, buckwheat, chamomile, and parsley to increase their numbers.
Butterflies love zinnias, batchelors button, coneflowers, daisies, marigolds, and wildflower mixes, but will visit any brightly colored flower they can perch on. They are passive pollinators, transferring pollen as they look for nectar.
Flowers that are open during the night will attract pollinator moths. Try Evening Primrose, Moonflowers, Four O’Clocks and Gourds.
Bats also enjoy night-blooming flowers. Bats passively pollinate, and will also eat small flying pests, including mosquitoes. If you add a bat house to your garden area, you will likely notice a drop in mosquitoes as soon as a bat takes residence. A single can eat up to 1200 mosquitoes per hour, and will usually dine on 6000 to 8000 insects per night!
For self-pollinating plants, repelling damaging insects can be more important than attracting pollinators. Marigolds are one of the most effective repellents, and can be combined with all of your garden vegetables. Geraniums, lavender, and mint also repel damaging insects.
Ensuring Gardening Success
Whether you’re growing inside a greenhouse or outdoors, Gothic Arch Greenhouses has a wealth of products to help you along the way. Our top-quality equipment, supplies, and greenhouses will stand the test of time! Call our friendly staff today for help selecting the tools you need to fulfill your gardening goals. 800-531-4769.
Though we may be a little bit biased, here at Gothic Arch Greenhouses, we believe that growing in a greenhouse is the best way to ensure success, no matter what your gardening or farming goals. Greenhouses can help you get bigger blooms on your prize-winning flowers. You can harvest more fresh veggies year-round. With a greenhouse, you’ll have fewer pests and disease issues. You can even grow plants that wouldn’t thrive under outdoor conditions in your climate.
If you’re considering a greenhouse, or even if you already have a greenhouse but haven’t yet unlocked its full potential, then read on! We’ve compiled the best reasons to grow in a greenhouse, and we’ll even address a few potential drawbacks (though, really, we think the benefits far outweigh them). We hope we’ll have you growing in a greenhouse the second you finish reading!
Extend Your Growing Season
One of the best reasons for growing in a greenhouse is the potential to extend your growing season. The controlled environment inside a greenhouse keeps air and soil temperatures stable, allowing earlier planting and later harvesting. You can also delay planting, or plant to harvest repeatedly, in cycles.
Stable temperatures cause less stress to the plants and promote strong growth throughout the year. With a greenhouse, you are truly in control of your cycles and growing seasons.
Even in an unheated greenhouse, many greens and vegetables will not only survive the cold, but require a cold period for maximum flavor. Some plants started in fall will not grow much, if at all, when it’s cold. For those cold-hardy varieties, they will continue the growth cycle, even in freezing temperatures, and be ready for harvest when the temperatures rise.
Starting seedlings early in a greenhouse to later move to an outdoor bed will give you a great advantage when planning your gardening calendar. A greenhouse gives a great start to your plants at their most vulnerable stage.
Eating from your greenhouse year-round is a great benefit for growers!
Create a Consistent, Protected Environment
Growing in a greenhouse allows you to create a consistent environment for your plants, safe from weather extremes. Excessive rains, withering heat, sudden frosts or temperature drops, drought, and high winds will not affect your crops.
You can get more consistent results from your crops in a consistent environment. You can also grow plants not native to your climate. As long you understand the ideal conditions your crop requires, a greenhouse allows you to adjust your climate to produce a perfect harvest.
Bigger, more rapid blooms or harvests come with the ability to increase the humidity and temperatures to the levels plants love. Not only can you increase surface transpiration rates, but you’ll also conserve water while doing so!
Catch the Sunshine!
Our Gothic Arch Greenhouses motto is, “Catch the Sunshine!” Growing in a greenhouse truly gives you the ability to capture the sun’s energy, heat, and light spectrum. You can diffuse the harsher, withering summer rays effectively, keeping plants healthy while stimulating growth.
A greenhouse gives you the ability to control light with the use of shade and blackout cloths, so you can also control flowering, seeding, and fruiting cycles of your plants. Proper shading can also help avoid heat stress and burns from powerful summer rays.
Capturing solar heat energy rather than using traditional manufactured heaters is a great greenhouse technique. This involves creating thermal solar mass, using natural materials that readily absorb, store, and release thermal heat.
The powerful, full light spectrum of the sun feeds plants during the photosynthesis process. With proper ventilation plus plenty of sunlight and water, plant growth can be dramatically increased in a greenhouse due to diffused full spectrum light reaching the surface of the leaves.
Protection from Pests
Outdoors, crops are often at the mercy of common insects and other pests. Indoors, it is much easier to manage seasonal pests like caterpillars, locusts, mites, and many more.
Predators like moles, deer, rabbits, and birds won’t be able to eat or attack plants growing in a greenhouse. This reduces the need for toxic pesticides or chemicals, and gives you the advantage of being able to keep a close eye on your plants.
Best Use of Growing Space
Greenhouses allow growers to make excellent use of their available growing space. Planning your planting space in a greenhouse gives the advantage of growing tall along sidewalls, and trellising crops easily. You can grow on multiple levels in-ground and with benches and baskets.
Being able to grow out of season plants also makes your greenhouse a year-round rather than only a seasonal growing space. Rather than having a garden plot that lies dormant half the year, your greenhouse can produce throughout the seasons.
When growing in a greenhouse, you have the added benefit of variety. You can plant anything that you like in it! From vegetables & fruits to flowers & herbs, even cactus and bonsai can grow in harmony. Without planting directly onto your garden soil, many varieties can co-exist easily.
Disadvantages of Growing in a Greenhouse
There are some possible “cons” in a list of many “pros” when deciding on a greenhouse purchase. We’ll discuss a few of those now.
Upfront Cost of a Greenhouse
The primary disadvantage for many people looking into a greenhouse for the first time is upfront cost. A solid, well-built structure that will stand the test of time is an investment, and operating costs for heating, cooling, and air circulation can seem daunting.
The good news is that Gothic Arch Greenhouses has financing options for qualified commercial growers and residential growers alike. A greenhouse can increase your long-term property value, and in the short term can save you money, by supplementing your food stores and reducing your grocery bill, and by saving money on spring plants and decorative landscape items.
Tough economic conditions cause higher costs for vegetables, flowers and fruits. Growing in a greenhouse can provide you and your family with a consistent supply, year round. Many growers recoup their costs on a greenhouse with the savings from planting their own crops within one year or two.
Lack of Know-how
Another consideration is that you may feel you don’t have the know-how to get started with growing in a greenhouse. The cost involved may cause you to feel that it is not justified for a “hobby” level grower to build something substantial and permanent, or you may be a long-time outdoor commercial grower who is not comfortable moving into a more technical growing set up.
A wonderful thing about the gardening and growing community is the willingness to share their knowledge. Modern greenhouses have been in use for hundreds of years, and the wealth of information for tackling most any type of problem is astounding!
How to handle whiteflies, identifying disease early, planning for a particularly harsh winter– these are questions every gardener faces. Proper air exchange for best plant growth, when and how to add supplemental lighting, and when to add nutrients are similar challenges that are more specific to growing indoors, but all of these are topics which have great solutions online and in gardening publications. You can get more precise advice by calling your local agricultural extension office or your greenhouse supplier. We here at Gothic Arch Greenhouses are always happy to help.
Get Growing in a Greenhouse!
As news of supply chain challenges, farm labor difficulties, and unusual patterns of fresh produce demand have become part of our daily lives, greenhouse growing is getting more and more consideration. From farmers who want the ability to automate their harvest to homesteaders wanting to decrease their dependence on grocery stocks, a greenhouse can help keep a steady supply of healthy nutrients ready for harvest year-round. If you’re ready to plan the best greenhouse for you, get in touch with Gothic Arch Greenhouses today.
With the economy on everyone’s minds, finding ways to cut expenses as well as converse precious resources is good for both the earth and for your bottom line. Water is vital to plant growth, but in many areas can be in short supply and high in cost.
Greenhouse growers use as much as 61% less water than outdoor farmers. This is due to reduced evapotranspiration rates, drip and flood irrigation methods, closer crop spacing, and shorter crop cycles. Growers also cite sustainability, more frequent harvests, ease of pest control, and more control over their growing environment as additional reasons they are choosing to move crops traditionally grown outdoors in. Water-borne disease is also easily reduced.
Just within the United States, 38 percent of our fresh water consumption used for crop irrigation. Worldwide, 80 percent of our fresh water supply goes to crops. Irresponsible watering practices can create a huge strain on water supplies, can contribute to disease, and can affect the quality of the water supply.
Growers with an eye towards the future are more and more turning to greenhouses to protect their crops, protect our natural resources, and protect future generations’ world. As many areas face water shortages, decreasing water loss when tending for crops is vitally important.
A recent study of tomato growers showed, pound for pound of yield, greenhouse producers used approximately 61% less water than an open-air farm. Additionally, frequently cycling crops gives more harvests, while having fewer heavy-watering days within each cycle.
Within the greenhouse, water quality can be managed with ultraviolet light purification, which reduces instance of disease and pathogens. Water filtration can also help growers in areas where groundwater has increased salt intrusion or heavy mineralization.
Gothic Arch Greenhouses has everything the commercial grower needs to start saving resources and bring bigger yields. From greenhouses to equipment, we can help you move your crops indoors, while still catching sunlight for healthy plant development. Call our experts today to see what we can do for you. 800-531-4769.
Waiting for a garden crop to produce its first edible reward can seem to take an eternity. If your aim is a quick harvest, consider growing these fruits and veggies. You’ll have a bounty in no time flat!
Microgreens can go from seed to harvest within 2 to 4 weeks. Microgreens are young and nutritious vegetable and herb plants, packed with vitamins and flavor.
Popular microgreens include radish, chard, kale, endive, mizuna, basil, amaranth and cilantro but you can use anything that has edible leaves and stems.
They are best grown in shallow trays or containers, making them a great choice for people with limited space.
Sprouts, similar to microgreens, grow quickly in a sunny spot with a shallow container and plenty of moisture.
Beans, broccoli, alfalfa, lentils, and even almonds can be sprouted, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. They produce quickly, and can add punch to your salads and sandwiches.
Radishes are one of the fastest growing plants you can grow.
They go from seed to harvest in just 22 in most climates, though some varieties can take up to 50 days.
They are easy to grow, and add a kick of peppery flavor to your fresh salads and sides.
Delicious green onion stalks can be harvested just 3 or 4 weeks after planting. After planting onions as bulbs, in around 6 months they will produce full-size onions.
Leaf lettuces such as Romaine or Cos can begin to be harvested in as little as 30 days after planting.
Pick lettuce leaves when the leaves reach at least 3 inches, rather than harvesting the entire head.
Other lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 60 days.
Delicious, tender baby carrots can be harvested after about 30 days. Other carrot varieties take between 50 and 80 days to mature
Spinach is easy to grow and requires little care aside from watering. It is versatile and is ready in as little as 4 to 6 weeks after planting.
Cucumbers are delicious fresh or prepared, in salads, on sandwiches, and pickled.
Cucumbers vine and run, so trellising with plenty of space to grow is the best way to raise them.
Baby cucumbers for pickling can be harvested as early as 50 days after planting. Well-cared for cucumber vines will produce again and again throughout the season.
Kale, mustard greens and watercress are super healthy greens that are fast growers. Most take about 50 to 65 days to mature, but baby leaves can be picked as early as 25 days.
Arugula can be grown annually in nearly all zones and can be harvested after 30 days.
Bok Choy grows well in moderate climates, and the individual leaves can be harvested after 21 days. The whole head is mature in 45 to 60 days after planting.
Snow peas take only about 10 days to germinate and are ready for harvest in about 60 days. Plant more than you think you will need, though– they can be tricky!
Most varieties of bush beans are ready to harvest within 40 to 65 days from planting.
Yellow summer squash can be ready in as few as 35 days from planting.
Many varieties of squash, including zucchini, are ready in 60 to 70 days.
For best flavor, harvest squash when they are still small. They will reproduce so quickly that you should have daily harvests all season long.
Broccoli is a hearty veggie, and can withstand a dip in temperatures better than most in the garden.
It is a good choice for very early season planting.
It can generally be harvested in 7 weeks time.
This variety of strawberries will fruit well in containers or hanging baskets. They produce several medium harvests over the course of the season, the first in roughly 50 days.
Strawberries will produce runners, which look nice when cascading down the side of a pot, but take energy away from the plant, reducing yield.
Snip runners with sharp hand pruners as they appear to encourage maximum fruit production.
Raspberries and blackberries
Cane fruits like raspberries and blackberries have a tendency to take over the garden with their aggressive growth.
New compact cultivars, like Raspberry Shortcake raspberries and Baby Cakes blackberries, have changed that.
They reach a maximum height of roughly 3 feet, and have thornless canes. They will produce in approximately 50 days.
Encouraging faster growth
To see results even faster, the controlled environment of a greenhouse can do wonders to your food production. Supplementing light, keeping weeds from stealing valuable nutrients, controlling pests, and having optimum conditions night and day helps plants to reach their full potential quicker.
If a greenhouse sounds right for your growing endeavors, our greenhouse experts are here to help. Call or email today for answers, advice, and experience to help you find the perfect greenhouse to suit your needs.
Amid the global crisis of staying healthy as a pandemic threatens our daily lives, food security is more on our minds than ever. Having access to your own supply of fresh, nutritious food when stores and supply chains are unreliable can give you peace of mind, as well as a healthy diet.
This year, we began a blog series to promote year-round growing, not knowing what would lie ahead. Many of our recommendations have given advice on how to grow food not just in a large garden or greenhouse, but also utilizing containers indoors, balconies, raised beds– really anywhere you can add a little green to your life. Now, with quarantines and supply chain disruptions, we understand that growing food for yourself may soon be more than a hobby, and might impact your overall food security. With that in mind, please enjoy our top recommendations for quick starting your food production and getting your plants to start producing ASAP.
How to Stimulate Quick Plant Growth
Like all living things, plants will thrive in an environment that is suited to their needs. Nourishment, light, water, and optimal temperatures are needed for seedlings to develop into healthy, bountiful crops. The absence of any one of these components can disrupt the plant’s ability to grow. Practicing good gardening methods and creating the healthiest environment for your plants will result in hearty yields and increase your own food production.
Soil for quick plant growth
Soil is the best place to start when planning your planting. Different plants have different soil requirements, so plan your in-ground bed arrangements to be able to separate your soil additives. If you are growing in containers or in a greenhouse, this becomes much easier to plan.
Start with a soil testing kit to determine what your soil is composed of, and what it may lack. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, organic matter, and other soil additives can enrich your plant’s soil and nutrient profile.
Your seedlings may prefer rocky or sandy soil, or richer, more dense soil, so be sure to check a Farmer’s Almanac or other sources for your specific plants’ needs. Your local Ag. Extension Service an excellent resource to assist in your gardening endeavors.
Lighting for quick plant growth
A plant’s primary food source is light. Whether natural or artificial, without adequate light, plant growth can be stunted and slow, due to limited photosynthesis. Plants use all spectrums of light to create sugars for their survival, as well as to trigger growth responses.
A greenhouse is the best way to capture the sun’s power, promoting growth while keeping your plants protected from pests and adverse conditions. Greenhouses can also be outfitted with supplemental grow lights, or with blackout tarps and covers, both of which can be used to affect plants blooming, flowering, and fruiting cycles.
When growing outdoors or inside your home, planting on a south-facing slope, or in a southern exposed window where the sunlight pours in will generally speed up growth and fruiting. In any growing environment, if you can give extended light periods (in your greenhouse or under lamps) that will boost production immensely and reduce both weed and pest invasion.
As with soil, different plants also have different lighting requirements, so check online for the best advice for each crop you are growing. Researcher partners from the John Innes Centre, the University of Queensland, and the University of Sydney found that using lights that are optimized for increased photosynthesis in specific plants increased crop production threefold.
Temperature for quick plant growth
Maintaining the perfect temperature for your plants can be difficult. Making use of hoop houses, covering when there is a cold snap, and adjusting watering schedules can help, but more perfect control can be obtained within a greenhouse setting. Maintaining the correct temperature for specific plants encourages growth and prevents damage. Know which temperatures your plants thrive in to encourage faster and healthier growth, and plan your planting calendar to take the best advantage of natural weather patterns if you are not growing inside of a greenhouse.
Increasing Food Security in Your Community
An idea that is taking hold in many communities is cooperative growing. Friends and family plan their crops together to take the best advantage of their own resources and can grow a greater variety of foods to share together. If you have a greenhouse full of juicy tomatoes, but your neighbor’s sandy soil is more suited to cilantro and root vegetables, then cooperative growing might be a great solution to increase your food security.
Staggering plantings and harvests with friends and neighbors will also help decrease your labor. If you plant two crops with similar light, soil, nutrient, and watering needs, and your co-op partner plants two different crops, then you can both optimize your feeding and watering efforts yet still have a variety of fresh, healthy food sources.
More Growing Tips for Maximum Food Security
In the coming weeks, our blog will focus on more growing tips, on seed starting, on crops that grow quickly, on different growing methods, and on different types of greenhouses and the best crops for them. We hope you all stay well and continue to support your health with the best from your edible garden.
If you’d like to discuss how a greenhouse can support your food security, our experts would love to speak with you! Call 1-800-531-4769 or send us an email today. Happy Growing!
Horticulture has been around since the beginning of mankind. Either as a hobby or as a profession, horticulture spans all aspects of growing, producing, and using plants to their maximum capabilities. Therefore, careers in horticulture will always be a necessary and continuous part of modern society. Whether we are using beautiful ornamental plants as decorations or benefiting from the nutrition that home-grown fruits and vegetables offer, horticulture touches our lives, in some aspect, every single day.
the Horticulture Industry
In recent years, the horticulture industry has been in growing in popularity. In fact, a recent report published by the horticulture industry’s leading analysts stated that they forecast the Greenhouse Horticulture market to grow at a rate of 10.79% between 2018 and 2022. This expected growth will likely contribute to more job opportunities all over the world. Since horticulture is always in demand, careers in horticulture will always be available.
So, what jobs does the horticulture industry offer? Whether you love working with your hands, have a love of nature, or even a keen eye for salesmanship, there is probably an employment opportunity waiting for you inside the vast, versatile field of horticulture.
Production Nursery workers grow plants from seedlings or cuttings to sell, usually at the wholesale level. Fruit trees, berry plants, deciduous trees, and evergreens are some common types of plants grown in production nurseries. There will always be a high demand for food, therefore,
Landscape Nursery employees help prepare sites for landscape
projects. Everything from new neighborhoods, shopping centers, hospitals, and
schools require landscaping that not only beautifies, but that also meets the
codes and requirements of the area.
Landscape Maintenance involves the upkeep and wellness of
landscaped areas. Whether you are helping your community maintain beautiful
lawns, or you work with a large team to maintain the landscape of an industrial
complex, this job is always in demand. It is also a great opportunity for
starting your own business or creating side jobs as a means for extra income.
Garden Centers are retail shops and nurseries that sell to
the public. These businesses often become a central source for gardening
supplies, landscaping materials, tools, and equipment for hobby growers and
larger growing operations.
Arboretums & Botanical Gardens
Arboretums & Botanical Gardens are popular community attractions in most big cities. Often centered on local flora, guests can learn about what grows in their area while enjoying a self-guided tour throughout the collections of plants. These types of gardens often use conservatories and greenhouses to protect delicate and endangered plant species from the elements. Students, scientists, and growers use these gardens to research plants and the environments.
Each of these landscaping related careers in horticulture can offer a variety of employment opportunities, including:
Inventory and Control Personnel
Managers and Salespeople
Shippers and Traffic Managers
Superintendents of Operations
Plant & Flower Production
Plant & Flower Production is an opportunity for small hobby growers to earn extra income, and an opportunity to expand to or work within a large, wholesale growing operation. Catering to florists, greenhouse managers, grocery stores, garden centers, & many other customers in the horticulture industry means that plant and flower producers will stay in high demand.
Wholesale Florists usually handle the cut plants and flowers
that garden centers and grocery stores often rely on to stock their own floral
departments. These careers often also handle the distribution of dry goods such
as growing containers, and other florist supplies.
Retail Florists often own, manage, or work in florist shops. These shops are the most common retail outlets for the public purchase of fresh flowers, houseplants, wedding bouquets, bereavement arrangements, and many other every day and special occasion flower needs.
Garden Centers and other retail stores often have smaller areas within their departments that sell fresh-cut flowers, gardening supplies, houseplants, and other horticulture equipment. Discount stores usually have garden centers that offer competitive pricing on everyday gardening needs.
Employment in the floriculture field can offer a wide variety
of career opportunities, including:
Working with Fruits and Vegetables
Production of Fruits and Vegetables
Production of Fruits and Vegetables can involve working in smaller, independent orchards, and vineyards, or in large commercial operations. These careers are sought out by college-trained horticulturists because of the highly mechanized, technological aspects of producing these plants. Whether you are looking to start a family farm, or work for an established, corporate-owned business, fruit and vegetable production careers will always be available.
Marketing careers have become some of the most highly sought after jobs of the modern era. The marketing of fruits and vegetables is no exception. Informing customers of improved growing practices, safe alternatives to pesticides, organic techniques, nutritional values, and sustainability of fruits and vegetables takes considerable effort and finances. These careers attract employees who want to use their creativity and people skills, while also potentially earning a high salary.
Factory & Warehouse Supervisors
Marketing and Promotional Organizers
General Managers & Executive Directors
Education & Research
Horticulture Specialists work for the government usually or on college campuses. Specialists often work in all aspects of horticulture and agriculture. However, they can also have a more focused specialty wherein they work with a specific plant, habitat, ecosystem, etc. These jobs involve getting outreach groups, 4-H clubs, student communities, and other youth-driven organizations involved with horticulture training programs.
Consultants are self-employed horticulturist who offer help and advise individual growers, federally regulated farms, and anyone else who needs help with their operation. Private consultants apply their knowledge to help educate growers about pest and disease issues, soil nutrition, and economical control methods.
Communicators help organize and present seminars, webinars, educational meetings, and other group events wherein the attendees will learn about horticulture. They often also write blogs, articles, and columns for horticulture publications.
Teachers of horticulture are working from preschools grades through doctoral programs. Certified teachers can work in private or public schools as either full-time teachers, part-time lab teachers, or adjunct professors. Non-certified teachers can often work in public gardens, early childhood development centers, nature reserves, and community centers.
Research Scientists are an important part of horticulture. Studying, breeding, and developing new techniques for growing plants helps keep the horticulture industry effective and profitable. These scientists can work as independent consultants in the private sector, or for federally funded schools and programs. Therefore, the knowledge of how to use the latest sophisticated technology usually makes this career a high earning one.
Plant Inspectors work at the federal and state levels, ensuring that facilities are up to code and implementing best practices. Some inspectors from private companies perform independent testing to combat bias.
While the list of career opportunities
connected to Education and Research facet of the horticulture industry is vast,
some jobs available include:
Teacher or Professor
State or Federal Inspector
Promoter or Presenter
There’s no doubt that horticulture is a huge part of our everyday lives and careers in horticulture are readily available. So, if you are interested in starting a horticulture training program in your area, call us today at 1-800-531-4769 to discuss your goals.
Throughout history, people have added conservatories to homes, schools, health facilities, and botanical centers to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces. These beautiful additions are usually buildings or rooms encased in glass walls and roofs. And while the decorative, sometimes ornate, structures add style and value to properties, did you know that there are also health benefits associated with conservatories?
Because of the health benefits of sunlight, doctors recommend that we get between 10-15 minutes of sunlight every day. This helps lessen a variety of health risks and helps increase our overall physical and mental health.
Vitamin D Creation
Conservatories are often used as sunrooms, or “solariums.” Latin for “place of sun[light],” these rooms permit abundant amounts of sunshine to enter into the building while also providing shelter from adverse weather. Sunlight is one of the best sources for keeping our Vitamin D levels at a healthy level. When exposed to sunlight, our skin creates Vitamin D. Healthy levels of Vitamin D can help prevent bone density loss, muscle weakness, cancer, and other health risks.
We all have something called nitric oxide in our skin and blood. Nitric oxide reacts with sunlight by widening blood vessels. Therefore, regular sun exposure can lower your blood pressure which can help decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Have you ever wondered why you seem happier in the spring and summer than you do in the winter? This is a common mental health issue that many people face called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Doctors believe that sunlight increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is the hormone we associate with feelings of happiness. The shorter days of winter paired with people being indoors because of the cold weather can cause serotonin levels to fall. This often means that you feel less happy. Having a solarium is an ideal way to spend time in the sun year-round.
What about Too Much Sun?
Using a conservatory to reap the many benefits of sunlight is also a way to combat the dangers of overexposure to the sun. We know that too much sun exposure can cause skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer. Because sunrooms are made with glass that prevents harmful UV rays from seeping indoors, the sun’s rays filter through in a less harmful way. You can have a sunny, beautiful area to enjoy all the benefits of sunlight without the fear of overexposure.
Whether you cultivate plant clippings inside a greenhouse, are starting plants from seeds, or are turning an indoor corner into an area to grow herbs, supplemental grow lighting can have enormous affect on your success as a gardener. In this issue, we will shed some “light” on the ins and outs of grow lighting to help you understand the science behind and the benefits of supplementing the sunshine in your garden spot.
What We Know About Plants and Light
Most of us remember learning sunlight is important for plant growth because of photosynthesis. Plants derive energy from sunlight in order to create their own food to survive. And yet, there is much more to this process than we learned in the third grade! Understanding some of the science behind lighting will help you choose the right grow lighting, and create the best lighting conditions for your plants.
Light and Plant Cells
The science of growth and light
Plant leaves contain cells called photons. Photons are important because, using chlorophyll, they create the energy necessary for plants to grow, make food, flower, and produce seed and fruits. The number of photons each plant depends on the amount of light it has been exposed to. Photons rely on light to grow and reproduce. The more light exposure a plant has, the more photons are produced. More photons mean faster photosynthesis, which in turn means more energy for growth functions. Grow lighting can help spur plant growth, even in gloomy winter conditions.
Different plants require a different quantity of photons to perform at optimum levels. Peas, parsnips, and violets love regular shade. Marigolds, lavender, and peppers require full sun. It’s all about the rate at which each plant produces photons, and how many photons the plants need to grow to their fullest potential.
You may also remember “ROYGBIV” from your third grade science class. It stands for the color spectrums that humans can see- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. This is called the visible spectrum. But, did you know that there are other spectrums that can’t be seen by us?
Changing the amount of red to far red exposure versus blue exposure can affect plant growth factors
Let’s start with the basics. We know that chlorophyll gives plants their green color. We also know that chlorophyll is vital to photons producing energy during photosynthesis. Now we get a bit more technical. Chlorophyll absorbs light that is part of the PAR spectrum. PAR stands for photosynthetically active radiation. This spectrum contains light that benefit plants, but can’t be seen by humans.
One common type of grow light produces perceived “white light.” These lights actually cast off the full range of both the visible and PAR spectrums, which looks ” white” to the human eye. These lights can vary from very stark, meaning there are higher percentages of blue frequencies, to very warm, indicating higher levels of red waves. Because these lights contain the full spectrum, they are very useful in promoting plant growth. However, isolating the colors that plants respond to the most, red and blue, can help promote faster, healthier plant growth.
Research shows that blue spectrum lighting, or cool lighting, is beneficial to help leaves and stems grow. Red spectrum lighting has been found to assist in flowering and root growth. Grow lighting that casts a pink or purple glow are giving off a blend of red and blue wave colors. These lights are known as dual band lights. This type of grow lighting is particularly helpful in shaded spaces, light deprivation greenhouses, and in medical growing.
How Much Light?
So, if the human eye can’t see the whole spectrum, how do we know if the lighting we provide our plants is bright enough (or too bright) to be efficient? Simple answer, we don’t. Which means that it is vital to learn about the plants you’re raising.
Knowing about plants’ native conditions can help to know how much light to supplement
A great place to start is to ask, “What are the conditions like in their natural habitat?” Cactus prefer dry, very sunny conditions that mimic their desert homes. Tropical plants like warm, humid environments with longer periods of day light. Knowing your plant’s “roots” will point you in the right direction in terms of their lighting requirements, and you can then optimize the growing conditions you are providing.
Large scale and commercial growers use expensive instruments called quantum flux meters. However, these can be expensive for home gardeners. More affordable (though less elaborate) light meters can help give an idea of how much light is in each area of your garden at a given time. With this information, and a careful eye to plant responses, additional tweaks to your grow lighting plan can usually be easy to discern.
What About Darkness?
Some plants cannot complete their growing cycles unless they spend a substantial amount of time in the dark. Plants like mums, hemp, and zinnias all respond to the lack of light by putting more of their energy into flowering or fruiting. Knowing whether you are growing “short-day” or “long-day” plants will help you create the best lighting conditions, as well as the best periods of darkness, for your plants.
This is why light deprivation greenhouses have become so popular in recent years. Knowing your plant’s growing cycle combined with being able to manipulate lighting to “trick” plants into cycling through their growing processes more quickly, is ideal for producing larger yields, more frequent harvests, or flowering on your schedule (such as poinsettias at the holidays).
Which Grow Lights Are Best?
Some of our lighting options
There is no simple answer when it comes to choosing grow lighting. Taking into account the natural lighting available, the orientation of your growing space, the types of plants you are growing, and many other factors. For example, seedlings require a much higher volume of light to thrive. They are trying to develop healthy root systems, stems, and leaves full of those all-important photons. This requires a lot of light energy. Once your plant matures a bit, it probably won’t need as much light to grow. The best way to know exactly what kind of lighting your plants need is through observation, trial and error, and patience. Observing your plants regularly will help you adjust your grow lighting if they are getting too much light (brown, singed leaves) or not enough light (pale leaves and elongated stems).
Though there’s no one answer to the question of which grow lights are best, we do have some guidelines and recommendations for where to start when choosing supplemental lighting and fixtures.
Indoor container plants can benefit from even a little extra light
• At least four 54-watt fluorescent tubes for seed starting; full spectrum vs. blue or red spectrum is up to you.
• If you choose full spectrum bulbs, look for “cooler” lighting that has a higher percentage of blue waves. These bulbs will be marked as 6500K (kelvin) and promote better foliage.
• MH, or metal halide, lamps provide more of the blue/green spectrum, are great for growing leafy plants like cabbage or peppers.
• HPS, or high-pressure sodium, lights are recommended to promote flowering in plants because of their higher red wave intensity
• Seek guidance from an experienced greenhouse expert whenever possible
We want you to know:
Indoor herb plants love sunny spots, and benefit from more light after pruning
• T5 grow lights are high output lights that are affordable and readily available. They commonly used in both hobby and commercial greenhouses.
• LED bulbs are more energy efficient than fluorescent lights.
• Quality is important. Spending a little extra on lighting now, will save you a lot of money (and frustration) in the future. Invest in high-quality grow lighting and fixtures whenever possible.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of lighting and lighting combinations. Just make sure to observe your plant’s reactions to the lighting changes.
• We are available to help you choose the best grow lighting to meet your growing needs.
Now that you know a little bit more about how plants are affected by light and spectrums, you may be ready to add some supplemental grow lights to your growing space. If we can help, give us a call at 1-800-531-4769, or visit our website GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and let our team help you find the right grow lighting to create an ideal environment for your plants.