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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!

 

Seeds in Greenhouses

Tips for Starting Seeds in Greenhouses

Taking the first steps in the seed-starting process means that spring is not far away. But with greenhouses, growers can start that process. Starting your seeds in greenhouses makes it easy for seedlings to grow and plants to thrive. Browse our seed propagation supplies to find easy solutions to starting your seeds. 

Thanks to the controlled environment they offer, greenhouses not only extend the growing season, but they also offer the right conditions for starting seeds in them year round.

If you plan to transfer seeds to an outdoor garden, for example, start this process about six to eight weeks before the first frost in your growing region.

Get your seed-starting supplies together and follow these tips to prepare your plants for success!

Seeds in Greenhouses

Beginning with fresh seed is the simplest way to get started. You can use leftover seeds, but you’ll want to test them for germination. To do so, place a specific number on a wet paper towel. Fold it over the seeds and place it in a plastic bag inside your greenhouse. Inspect the seeds and add moisture as needed. There are supplies that make germinating seeds very easy such as propagation mats, lighting, and plug trays. 

Growing Media

Balance the amount of air and water content in the mix you use. While air space is important to create healthy seedlings, too much water can create swelling and result in too much air when your mix is dry and not enough when it settles. Avoid compacting your mix by lightly filling trays with your growing medium and brush the excess away. To ensure the right amount of hydration, add water to your mix before adding it to your containers. It’s just right when it is damp to the touch, but not wet.

Containers

Trays and cell flats make ideal seed-starting containers—particularly for large vegetable growers—because they can be filled quickly, are easily moved and are reusable. But they do need to be cleaned before use the next season, and if the plant becomes root-bound in the container, it can lead to transplant shock when transferred. Biodegradable containers eliminate this concern, but they do need to be restocked every season and take up more space in the greenhouse. For hobby gardeners, commercial trays (if that is your preference) are recommended because they are more durable and available in more options than what you might find at a local garden center. They cost more, but last longer.

Sowing

When planting your seed, please note that the placement of it is important to its success. For example, if planted too close to the edge of the tray, it is likely to dry out. Typically, it is recommended to cover the seed once placed (ideally in the middle of the container) with a light layer of soil. Others suggest simply pressing the seed down into the soil without an extra covering. Either way, once the seeds are planted, water them evenly and gently. Plan to group your seedlings by their temperature needs, so you can use mats if needed to efficiently provide heat if required.

Ready to start your seeds? We’ve got the supplies you need—containers, trays, propagation mats and more! Call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses for more information.

Heat Your Greenhouse

How to Heat Your Greenhouse on a Budget

Gothic Arch Greenhouse snow runoffWorried about the cost of heating your greenhouse this winter? Rising fuel prices and extreme cold weather can add up quickly if you don’t know how to maximize every strategy that could help you cut your energy bill. Learn tips and tricks to heat your greenhouse on a budget. 

Relying solely on heaters to heat your greenhouse is expensive. Depending on your zone, there are things you can do to supplement heaters and help reduce heating costs.

How to Heat Your Greenhouse on a Budget

Paint It Black

Paint the outside of plastic containers with flat black enamel paint. Fill them with water and place them in areas where they will absorb the most sunlight throughout the day. When the temperatures fall at night, heat emitted from the water will help keep your greenhouse warm. This technique can maintain an average of 20-30 degrees warmer in your greenhouse than outside temperatures!

Gimme Compost

Get the most out of your organic waste by creating a compost pile. Tea bags, fruit and vegetable scraps, dryer lint, newspaper, grass clippings and egg shells make great compost. Compost helps provide essential nutrients to your plants, but also creates heat that is released during their chemical breakdown. Place your scraps and trimmings in 55-gallon drums or a ring of wire mesh. Be warned that they can create immense amounts of heat—well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit—so use caution when using this method.

It’s All About Row Covers

Garden fabric, also known as row covers, is a simple way to help turn up the heat when the weather outside demands it. Not only can row covers protect plants from cold and wind, but also they shield them from insects and prevent overheating in the summer. This fabric is either draped over hoops or secured to the ground. Row covers can be reused if handled with care, hence, reducing costs. Even if yours last one or two seasons, row covers have secondary uses such as  as weed barriers or covers during milder weather.

Seal It Up

Retain as much heat in your greenhouse by preventing as much warm air as possible from escaping. Seal all joints and gaps in the greenhouse with silicone caulking or installing weather stripping around doors, seams of glass and at the foundation. Repair any tears in film, coverings or cracks in glass to hold on to all of your hard-earned heat! Regular maintenance like this is one of the simplest ways to help you improve the energy efficiency of your greenhouse.

Heat What You Need

Particularly for larger greenhouses, heating the entire space can get expensive quickly, but the good news is that it might not all be necessary. Separating plants into zones inside the greenhouse with partitions makes it possible to heat the needed space more efficiently. Not only is this a more economical approach, but also it provides the grower with more control over the temperatures, which helps create a more ideal environment for each plant grown.

Got questions about preparing your greenhouse for the winter or what works best in your zone? Let us know! Call Gothic Arch Greenhouses at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

 

 

5 Benefits of a Gothic Arch-Style Greenhouse

The Gothic-arched greenhouse design is, as our name implies, our signature product. In the 1950s, relationships with the many ornamental nurseries in the Gulf Coast area helped steer the company’s initial import/export focus toward horticulture.

But it was through the eventual association with the agricultural colleges in Alabama that the Gothic arch became Gothic Arch Greenhouses’ flagship design.

While university programs could boast higher-end greenhouses featuring aluminum, steel or glass, secondary and post-secondary vocational ones could not. From that need for affordable, yet durable greenhouses, the Gothic-arch style became our initial focus.

Now decades later, we still stand behind this design for all of these reasons a Gothic-arch style greenhouse is a great choice for growers today.

Durability. The Gothic-arch design is well-regarded for its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy snowfall. The half-teardrop shape of the roof is ideal for allowing snow and rain to easily run off and preventing damage from substantial accumulation of precipitation or debris.

Efficient Construction. The arched roof of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse eliminates the need for structural trusses. This technique requires less construction material, which not only helps reduce costs, but also makes construction faster and easier.

Flexible Design. Because of the Gothic Arch Greenhouse design, you have some options when it comes to the installation. Whether you mount the greenhouse at grade level or higher on a foundation wall, you can decide how high you want to locate the structure.

More Overhead Space. The Gothic arch features more height from the high profile of the ridge in the center, which creates space for growers who specialize in or want to try their hand at taller specialty crops (like tomatoes and cucumbers), as well as many tropical trees.

Aesthetics. Many growers appreciate the simple beauty of the Gothic-arch design. A variation of the Quonset style—which features a semicircular frame—the Gothic arch, as its name implies, gets its graceful curve from the walls being bent from the base, making a graduating curve that peaks at the roof. 

Is the Gothic-arch style greenhouse right for you? If you still have questions, please contact our friendly representatives at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we’ll be happy to assist you with your purchase!