Category Archives: Greenhouse Supplies

Gothic Arch Greenhouses provides quality greenhouses kits and supplies designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding gardeners. Learn more about our Greenhouse supplies here!

Guide for choosing grow lighting

Shedding “Light” on Grow Lighting

Shedding “Light” on Grow Lighting

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.

Understanding Spectrums

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?

Grow Lighting growth chart

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.

Grow Lighting Requirments

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?

Grow Lighting

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.

We recommend:
Container plants

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:
Herb lighting needs

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.

Best Lean-to Greenhouse kits

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!

 

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!

 

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.

potting greenhouse plants

Using Ground Cover to Protect your Plants

Ground cover and low tunnels help growers transition between seasons with ease. Gardeners can prepare for late cold snaps and early heat waves that would otherwise devastate their crops.

Fortunately, ground cover and low tunnels make it easier to manage these changes, as well as offer other benefits. Growers can extend their growing seasons for warm or cool season crops easily

Ground cover and low tunnels are available in multiple widths, lengths and thicknesses to suit a variety of needs. With properly secured edges and careful maintenance between seasons, many covers will last through two growing seasons.

Many growers live in climates that have at least one or to harsh weather months each year. Learn about the types of protection available for your crops and plants and protect your investments year round.

Ground Cover for Heat Retention

If you need more time for warm season crops, plastic, heavy weight row covers will help to trap heat and maintain ground moisture levels. By trapping heat and moisture in the soil, plant roots will grow more quickly. This type of cover is also great for reducing weed growth by blocking the sunlight on the surface of the soil. Rolls of plastic ground cover, plastic mulch and paper mulch are all types of heat retaining covers.

Ground Cover for Heat Protection

Crops like lettuces, broccoli and squash need long-term protection from harsh heat. Growers can use low tunnels to achieve this protection.  A low tunnel consists of a set of wire hoops that bend over the plants. Plastic sheeting is then placed over the hoops to filter out UV rays while still allowing proper air flow.  Low tunnels are available with solid sheeting, or with slitted sheeting for more ventilation.

Your low tunnel hoops can also be covered with protective shade cloth. This adds another layer of protection for your most tender plants. Shade cloth can block up to 80% of the sun’s harsh UV rays creating a much cooler growing area. This is particularly great for seedlings and young plants that require more soil moisture to thrive.

Whatever your reason for using ground cover, we can help! Contact us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com so we can assist you with your order.

Grow Lights Greenhouse Gothic Arch

How Grow Lights Affect Greenhouse Plants

How Light Affects Plants Greenhouse Gothic ArchLight is essential for plants to survive, but the color of grow lights can have a significant impact on how they develop.

With the help of LED grow lights technology, multiple experiments are being conducted to determine how plants react to light when exposed to different colors of the spectrum in terms of height, weight, color, texture and more.

Additionally, shade cloths come in a variety of colors and have the same effect on plants. Colored films are being used on the growing areas of the International Space Station as well!

Below is the general performance of plants when exposed to a particular spectrum of colored grow lights:

Spectrums Available in Grow Lights

Ultraviolet

Prolonged exposure to UV light can be harmful to plants, just as it is to humans. A study confirmed that when UV light exposure is eliminated, plants experience enhanced growth.


Violet

Violet light exposure intensifies the color, aroma and taste of plants. It also improves the antioxidant functions of plants, which naturally helps prevent cell damage.

Blue:

The most influential of all hues, blue light has the most powerful effect on plants. It encourages plants to accept more energy, reduces their water loss, and increases their growth and maturity rates. At least a minimal intensity of blue light is needed indoors for normal plant growth. Plants grown under blue light are shorter and have darker, thicker, and greener leaves than those not exposed to blue light. These attributes may be desirable when growing ornamentals, for example.

Green

Not surprising, since most plants are green, this color has the least effect on a plant’s growth. Green light does, however, enhance the production of chlorophyll and gives plants a greener color. Yet, some research shows green light can have positive effects on growth and flowering. 

Green light plays an important role in gardening, particularly as it relates to people. Without the presence of green light, plants do not appear green to the naked eye. Green light reduces eye strain for employees and helps detect any problems or pest issues. The good news is that white LEDs combine green, red and blue light, which provide the benefits of all three colors.

Yellow

Because yellow isn’t far off from green in terms of wavelength, it also doesn’t have much effect on plants. It has no influence on photosynthesis and, as a result, reduces growth.

Red

By itself, red light can help plants yield more leaves than blue light alone. But together, the combination of red and blue significantly improves plant growth, making it an optimal choice for development.

Far Red

Like red light, far red light plays an important role in plant development. Specifically, far red light affects germination and flowering. Essentially, this light encourages flowering because plants require less time in darkness.

Questions about light in your greenhouse or other growing settings? Let us know! When you call Gothic Arch Greenhouses at 800-531-4769, you’ll always get a friendly representative ready to help you. You can also visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for more information.

Commercial Greenhouse Operations

How to Make Natural Ventilation Work in Your Greenhouse

Natural ventilation has become a preferred option for larger growers, in particular, as energy costs of fan cooling rise. This ventilation method works by supplying cooler air, such as through vents or an open-roof design, to allow the lighter, warmer air to be pushed out. All greenhouses built prior to the 1950s featured a system of louvres and vents to help allow excess heat to escape by pulling cooler air in.

More and more, new greenhouse construction is utilizing these same methods, but retrofitting an existing greenhouse is not significantly more than installing fans and shutters. In many cases, it can be about the same or even less.

Relying on natural ventilation alone will not work if the heat is too great. In that case, evaporative cooling systems are a simple and relatively inexpensive alternative.

Both, however, will require mechanical ventilation through the use of pads and fans, or a fogger system utilizing nozzles through the greenhouse. Mechanical systems can be used in smaller greenhouses, but the larger structures benefit from natural ventilation methods as much as possible.

Besides the energy efficiency and reduced costs it offers, natural ventilation allows for more even crop cooling. Crops are spread evenly throughout the greenhouse, and the grower can adjust the vent openings as needed. This will result in a more consistent crop, which in turn can improve sales and the bottom line.

Naturally cooling large gutter-roof greenhouses has traditionally been a challenge in Southern climates, specifically due to lack of sidewall space and relying on roof vents alone can result in uneven cooling.

Open-roof greenhouse designs eliminate this issue. To combat the heat on particularly hot, sunny days, a shade system can provide additional protection and keep temperatures lower. 

Natural Ventilation Considerations:

Size of Vents

The total combined area of roof and sidewall vents should be the same. They should also be at least 15 percent to 20 percent of the floor area. Gutter-connected designs will need larger roof vents or otherwise an open-roof cooling option.

Location of Vents

Sidewall vents are recommended to be located above bench height to allow outside and inside air to mix before it reaches plants. Again, for gutter-connected designs, roof vent location is more important.

Greenhouse Height

The trend toward taller greenhouses helps improve natural ventilation. This create the buoyancy effect, where lighter, hotter air rises, and also helps keep this air well above plant level.

Greenhouse Orientation

If possible, position your greenhouses where the summer wind follows along the sidewall. That helps use the natural flow of air. To make that more effective, ensure that trees, buildings and other greenhouses obstruct it as little as possible.

Have questions about your greenhouse’s ventilation system? We can help! Call us at 1-800-531-4769, and you’ll reach a friendly, knowledgeable representative every time.