Tag Archives: greenhouse supplies

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.

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.

6 Ways to Use Shade Cloth

Gothic Arch Greenhouse Shade Cloth UsesShade cloth is an invaluable commodity for lots of different applications. It is most commonly used to keep greenhouses cool.  But did you know it has wide variety of uses? As you can see on the list below, you can get creative with shade cloth while using it to reduce the intensity of sunlight!

Greenhouse Shade Cloth

Again, shade cloth is most widely used to reduce the intensity of sunlight (and therefore heat) in greenhouses. Different densities (indicated by percentages) and recommended materials based on what or where you’re growing. Lower heat means less energy use and more comfortable conditions.

Music Festivals and Temporary Structures

It’s common to use shade cloth to build temporary structures at music festivals and other outdoor events. Particularly, the events on beaches and in deserts can be difficult to withstand because of the heat. Aluminet Shade Cloth reflects heat instead of absorbing it. Experts recommend 80% Aluminet for events in full sun and in extreme temperatures.

Patio, Pergola, Deck, Swimming Pool Cover

Adding extra protection from the sun can extend well beyond plants. These outdoor areas can get hot fast in the heat of summer. Shade cloth can help make entertaining or enjoying the outdoors a little more comfortable.

Automobile Heat Protection

Using a shade system inside or outside of your vehicle will substantially decrease the temperature inside your vehicle. When it is 100+ degrees outside, your car can stay up to 25% cooler than the ambient temperature.

Livestock Shading

Animals are adversely affected by extreme temperatures and sunlight. Shadecloth can help provide an easy and cost-effective respite from the sun for outdoor animals, such as livestock and horses. It is also used to improve the movement of penned animals, and for protecting the handler.

Tennis Courts and Ball Fields

Installing shadecloth on tennis courts and ball diamonds can add privacy and wind protection to the field of play. It also provides a contrasting background so balls are more easily visible, and it upgrades the look of chain-link fences.

Unsure if shadecloth is right for the application you have in mind? Let us know, and we’ll be happy to assist you! Our friendly representatives are available by calling 800-531-4769, or you can find more information on our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

 

Greenhouse Supplies

Greenhouse Supplies to Get Now

Greenhouse SuppliesPreparing for the current season by stocking up on necessary greenhouse supplies is an efficient approach to your growing efforts. More than likely, you may think of having such supplies on hand should an emergency crop up during the winter, but being prepared is smart all year long. Of course, your needs will be different in the colder months, but there are some supplies you should think about getting before the weather heats up.

Greenhouse Supplies to Keep in Stock

Containers

As your plants grow, you may need to move them into larger containers or pots—which will mean they will need more space to continue to thrive. To accommodate these larger containers, you might have to rearrange your greenhouse or move plants outside.

Oil

When warmer weather arrives, you’ll probably open and close vents more often. Notice whether they show signs of sticking or wearing, and oil as necessary. Vents that aren’t properly functioning can cause air leaks or allow the temperature inside to get too hot.

Fan

Based on the climate in your region, having an extra circulation fan at your disposal might be helpful. Keeping fresh air moving through your greenhouse is important for the optimal health of your plants, so it’s worth it.

Thermostat

Don’t leave monitoring the conditions in your greenhouse to chance. If your thermostat goes out, you won’t be able to control temperature and humidity, which will put your plants at risk for overheating or worse. So, keeping an extra one on hand is always a good idea.

Shade cloth repair kit

Ensure your shade cloth can continue to filter the desired amount of sunlight that flows into your greenhouse by being prepared to fix any tears. A shade cloth repair kit is ideal for correcting minor and even major rips that can protect your plants until or if a replacement is needed.

Need assistance getting these greenhouse supplies or advice on making the right selections? Call us today at 800-531-4769 or visit us online at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com. We can help you get prepared for summer!

Applications for Cold Frames

Cold FramesCold frames are used in numerous agricultural operations but are particularly popular in commercial growing operations. A metal frame is constructed to fit over your crops. Usually, these frames are then covered with poly-film to protect plants from frost or extreme heat. While not meant to be used as permanent structures, cold frames are an affordable and versatile alternative to traditional greenhouses.

Applications for Cold Frames

Overwintering Plants

Fragile or tropical plants that may not flourish in the fall may benefit from being carefully tucked into a cold frame. This will give them enough protection in the cooler months to eagerly thrive in the spring. To adequately prepare them for a long winter’s rest, cut them back before the first frost. Place them in a container with enough soil to insulate the plant, and pack containers tightly into the cold frame. Water them enough to keep the soil moist, and protect them from sunlight so as not to encourage growth.

Starting Seedlings

Whether you plan to transplant seedlings from the greenhouse to the cold frame or start seedlings in the protection of a cold frame, it’s recommended that you have the portable structure in place for at least two weeks to help warm the soil you’ll be using. Unlike when overwintering plants, you’ll want to welcome sunlight into your cold frame to help encourage active growth. Transparent covers, such as clear plastic or glass, are recommended.

Hardening Off Young Plants

The transition of seedlings from the greenhouse or indoors to your garden can be a delicate one. You may opt to move plants out, then back in over a period of time. Or you may want to utilize a cold frame to help. Ideally, you want to wait until the temperatures have stabilized so your plants don’t experience shock in their new environment. Cold frames allow you to open and close to gradually help your plants acclimate to the outdoors. Check for new growth and thick, dark foliage—these are good signs!

Extending the Growing Season

Regardless of when the first fall frost arrives, you can use a cold frame to protect your plants. Because cold frame options are portable, you can take the coverage to the plants even if you can’t move them. Constructing hoop tunnels, then stretching plastic over the frame is a simple way to protect plants from cooler weather and frost. During the day, it’s recommended to pull back the cover as plants are well-adjusted to the outdoors, provided temperatures don’t drop below freezing.

How can you use a cold frame to your best advantage? Contact us and let us know if we can help! Our friendly representatives are available at 800-531-4769, and our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, is always open.

 

 

 

Seed-Starting Must-Haves

Seed Starting Must Haves Gothic Arch GreenhousesIf you’re anxious about the start of spring, there’s no better way to prepare than to focus on starting seedlings for a new crop of plants right now!

To ensure your success from the beginning, use quality supplies that are designed for the seed-starting process. Not only will you see results from your efforts, but also your enthusiasm and passion for gardening will continue to grow.

As you’re getting ready for the spring, keep these seed-starting must-haves in mind as you start this rewarding, yet sometimes challenging task.

Seed. Begin the process by selecting quality seeds that are fresh or have been stored properly, such as in a cool, dark location with low humidity. If you have questions about seed viability, you can soak them in water. Generally, living seeds will sink, while dead ones will float. Of course, it goes without saying that you should choose seeds that thrive in your region’s general growing conditions.

Seed-starting pots or flats. Plastic pots or containers are preferred over clay because they allow for retaining moisture seedlings need. Flats, larger, rectangular containers that hold many seedlings, can also be used. It’s important to start with clean, dry containers, especially if using empty yogurt containers and margarine tubs. Be sure to add holes in the bottom of recycled pots for drainage. Wide, shallow containers are preferred because they prevent overcrowding and prevent too much moisture build-up around young roots.

Seed starting mix. Give your seeds the support they need with peat moss, compost or a designated seed-starting mix. Plain garden soil is not recommended, but as plants sprout their first leaves, they should be transferred into a nutrient-rich potting mix. Commercial brands (as long as they don’t contain synthetic chemical fertilizer) can be used, or you can make your own organic mix.

Label plants and take good notes. Track your (and your plants’) progress by properly labeling your seedlings and taking notes about their journey. Especially if this is your first time starting seedlings, be sure to take good notes so you can make improvements the next time around. The Center for Historic plants recommends recording when the seeds are sown, the germination date, the success rate and when seedlings are ready for transplant. Not only can you evaluate the timing of your production schedule, you can also track the quality of the seeds used. Be sure to make note of that as well!

Light and supplemental lighting. Seedlings need a lot of light, in terms of intensity and time—as much as 16 hours a day. While you can invest in a grow-light system, you can also use the long fluorescent lights available at hardware stores. Keep the tubes clean so there is nothing that impedes the intensity of the light. It is recommended to start with fresh new bulbs when starting seedlings as the light does become dimmer over time.

Heating mat. Most seedlings thrive in warm soil. In that case, setting your containers on top of heating mats allows the seedlings to get the heat they want and need. Using a heating mat also gives you the control of the temperature, such as if a control unit is attached or it is equipped with an automatic thermostat. Keep an eye on the seedlings, though, because as soon as they sprout their first leaves you will want to remove the use of the heating mats, as then they plants will grow better in a slightly cooler environment.

What seed-starting supplies do you need? Call one of our friendly representatives a 800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and we can help you get ready now for spring!

 

Common Greenhouse Maintenance Issues and Solutions

What’s the best way to prevent common maintenance issues in your greenhouse? Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news? Simply keep it clean. The bad news? It’s an ongoing task, and the more consistent you are, the better.

Most common maintenance problems can be traced back to one of two things: a lack of cleanliness or faulty equipment. But cleanliness is one that can easily be overlooked.

To be most effective at preventing maintenance issues in your greenhouse, you’ll want to create a schedule of cleaning tasks and frequency. While you’re at it, include inspections and tests of your equipment, so it’s possible to address problems before they become more serious.

When making your list of essential greenhouse maintenance tasks, keep the following in mind:

Everything gets dirty. Soil gets everywhere, condensation can cloud up glass and the structure will need repairs. With these in mind, regularly clean floors, wipe glass and inspect the greenhouse for areas that allow pests or (even more) dirt inside. Between seasons when the greenhouse is more empty, plan a deep clean of the inside (including the frame where possible) and clean out the gutters.

Equipment gets weathered. Regardless of season, check your doors, windows, seals and other ventilation equipment. Frequent use and the elements can cause them to break down. Make any necessary repairs or replacements before the cold weather sets in and you need to count on this protection.

Test temperature control equipment. Whether it’s fans in warmer weather or heaters during the colder months, maintaining the temperature in the greenhouse is key to your success. Give your heater a test run, inspect the components and have extra fuel on hand before the coldest weather hits. Clear both heater and fan components of any dirt build-up and lubricate moving parts.

Keep irrigation systems running. Examine tubes, hoses and other water carriers for any leaks or cracks. Make sure water can flow freely through nozzles, checking for any dirt or debris build-up. Allow yourself some extra time when looking over your irrigation system. Sometimes leaks can be hard to detect, but you’ll want to be thorough for your peace of mind and for your plants’ sake.

Shine a light on everything else. Yes, it’s time consuming, but inspecting every single inch of your greenhouse will pay off. Test your lights and have replacements on hand. Run your backup power supply (if you have one) to make sure it works. Take a look at wires for any type of damage or deterioration, and make necessary repairs or replacements.

Do you already have a maintenance checklist? If there’s anything you need, let us know! Call us at 800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.

How to Get Started After Buying a Greenhouse

Getting Started With A Greenhouse Gothic ArchInvesting in a greenhouse is an exciting first step to take your gardening efforts to the next level. But once you’ve bought your greenhouse and set it up on your property, what next?

Of course, learning how to manage temperature control (based on your growing region) and irrigation needs (based on what you’re growing) play an important role, but when it comes down to just getting your greenhouse up and running, these are some essential beginning steps.

Supplies. You can’t get started without the basic greenhouse growing supplies, like pots, plants, gloves, tools and a watering can or garden hose. Because monitoring temperature is so crucial, add a thermostat or thermometer to that list.

Select crops. Keep in mind the types of flowers, vegetables or herbs that thrive in your region, and start with those to set yourself up for success. As you become more comfortable or experienced—or even if you want to experiment—you may want to expand your selection.

Prepare for planting. Get everything ready to begin. Make sure your greenhouse is clean, your pots and tools are properly sterilized, even your potting soil is free of pests and bacteria (especially if you are mixing your own).

Start your seedlings! Move your seedlings into planting pots so they can grow and thrive! Be careful not to introduce outside pests into your greenhouse environment, and give your budding plants room to develop.

Be aware. Inspect plants for any signs of pests, overwatering or overheating. Make notes in a journal if that helps you track temperature (relative to time of day) and the amount of water your plants are receiving.

Keep things neat and tidy. As your plants start to flourish, you’ll need room to spread them out—or add to your greenhouse—so keep it well organized. This can also help you maximize your work area and discourage pests.

Try a “greenhouse-only” plant. While it’s advisable to grow plants that are suitable for your growing region, you should also try your hand at one you can only grow in a greenhouse. Tap into the power of your new investment and challenge your green thumb!

Network with others. Before you spend too much time and money in experimentation, reach out to other local or regional gardeners, whether through community groups or online forums. Learn from seasoned growers about what works and what doesn’t—and grow your gardening circle in the process!

Whether you’re in the market for a greenhouse or you’re ready to stock up on greenhouse supplies, contact us today at 1-800-531-4769 or visit www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com!

13 Must-Have Greenhouse Supplies

Must Have Greenhouse Supplies Gothic ArchRegardless of how long you’ve been a greenhouse gardener or the size of your operation, every grower still needs the same essentials to be successful.

Of course, some of your necessary greenhouse supplies will be dictated by your local climate, your growing goals and even what you’re planting, but these basics will never go out of style.

While preparing for a new planting season, put these must-haves on your supplies list (or check to see if you need to replace or upgrade what you’ve got on hand!):

Pots/Containers: A must whether you’re just getting seedlings started or you’re creating a container garden. A wide range of everything from seedling trays to plastic pots to biodegradable growing mediums are available to meet every gardening need.

Gardening Tools/Rack: Trowels, hand forks, pruners up to wheelbarrows and rakes may be necessary to tend to your greenhouse growing. Just as important as the tools themselves will be a rack or storage area to keep everything organized.

Potting Bench: A dedicated space to prepare your pots with seeds to flourish is essential to working efficiently. Consider one that is easily portable, yet provides a large, flat surface and is sturdy enough to support the weight of your plants.

Benches or Shelves: Maximize the space in your greenhouse by organizing pots on benches or shelves. Either will do to get plants off the floor. Painting wooden surfaces with a semi-gloss paint to protect against mold and make cleaning easier is recommended.

Sinks/Washing Tubs: Speaking of cleaning, bring a sink or washtub in the greenhouse to wash veggies, rinse garden tools and soak pots on the spot. That will not only help prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria, but also boost efficiency of your gardening tasks.

Cleaning Supplies: Insecticidal soaps, bleach and disinfectant spray should also be on hand to help prevent pest growth and damage. Keeping the greenhouse and your gardening tools clean is an important step to avoiding pest problems.

Irrigation System and Drainage: Plants need water to thrive, whether a larger operation using drip irrigation system or a hobby gardener using a watering can. In addition to proper irrigation, adequate drainage is necessary to prevent water buildup, which can become stagnant and lead to algae, disease and insect growth.

Ventilation: Prevent plants from getting too hot or too cool by installing vents or even fans to help release built-up heat and humidity during the summer or bring in warmer air on sunny days during the winter.

Heating/Cooling: Maintaining the proper balance between heating and cooling by using heaters or evaporative coolers will be the single most important thing you can do to get the most out of your greenhouseespecially if you intend to extend your growing season. Of course, what you use will be determined by your local climate.

Thermometer: Having a good thermometer is the single most important tool you will need to have precise control over your greenhouse temperature. A high-low thermometerone that shares the lowest temperature at night and the highest one during the daycan be especially useful in determining your heating and cooling needs.

Lighting: If your plants aren’t getting enough sunlight or they need the benefit of longer days, consider bringing in artificial light. Many greenhouses need extra lighting. Fluorescent lighting is an option, particularly for smaller operations if greenhouse lights are cost-prohibitive.

Shade Covers: Often used by commercial operations, shade covers help keep large greenhouses cool during long, hot summers. But shade may be needed, especially to nurture plants that don’t need a lot of light to flourish.

Flooring: This can serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose. For example, the walkways should allow for easy walking and cleaning, while underneath the benches can be a porous material to help add humidity if needed and/or allow for easy drainage of water.

Have more questions about which basics you should buy? Call our friendly, knowledgeable representatives today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 or visit our website, www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com, and let us put our more than 70 years of experience to work for you!

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