Tag Archives: greenhouse supplies

How to Use Ground Cover

Transitions between seasons can be a challenge for gardeners who aren’t prepared for a late cold snap or an early heat wave, for example.

But fortunately, ground cover fabrics and high tunnels make it easier to manage these changes, as well as offer other benefits.

Ground covers and high tunnels can easily be used to extend growing conditions for warm or cool season crops.

If you need more time for warm season crops, heavy weight row covers designed to trap heat will protect plants, but be aware of how you use them.

For example, short-term protection may simply require you to loosely cover plants (so they have room to grow) and secure the perimeter of the fabric using anchors, such as staples, soil or rock.

But if long-term protection is needed, a supported structure is recommended. This will allow for optimal air flow and room for your plants to thrive. In this case, pull the cover tautly over the hoops to keep fabric secure. That will also help reduce damage that can potentially be caused by unsupported fabric blowing in the wind.

When using ground covers and high tunnels, check in on your plants often to ensure they aren’t overheating. If you see signs of wilting, leaf damage or blossom drop, remove the covering or open the ends to help regulate the microenvironment you’ve created.

Some plants require insect pollination, so that may be another reason to temporarily lift or completely remove the covering to allow nature to do its work. Hand-pollination is an option, but can be time-consuming.

Lighter weight fabric can be used to protect your plants from insects until they are ready for harvest. But the use of such garden fabrics will require monitoring as well. If insects or their eggs become trapped inside, the cover can provide an environment for them to spread and concentrate damage to plants underneath.

Inspect the leaves of plants for any signs of insect activity. If insects are present, treat the plants with pesticide or remove infected ones. It’s recommended to also replace your covers. When used properly, garden fabrics can break insect life cycles and prevent infestations.

Row covers are available in multiple widths, lengths and thicknesses to suit a variety of needs. Many last one to two seasons depending on how often they are used. They can last longer if their edges are properly secured.

To help extend their life, store them when dry up away from the ground. This will also discourage rodents from making nests in them.

When stored, take a little extra time to make notes about each piece of cover that includes lengths, widths and other details, such as their condition or level of wear. Before discarding well-used covers, consider repurposing them as weed barriers or to protect newly seeded lawns from erosion.

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.

Seed Starting Tips for Greenhouses

Taking the first steps in the seed-starting process tends to mean spring is not far away. But with greenhouses, growers can start that process any time.

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!

Seed. 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 in a warm place. Inspect the seeds and add moisture as needed. After the germination period, count the number of germinated seeds to determine the percentage of germination.

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 invaluable—particularly in the warmer months—to help manage the temperature in your greenhouse.

By keeping heat and humidity under control, that can not only result in a more ideal environment for your plants so they thrive, but also it can make your greenhouse more energy efficient.

Available in various densities and made of different materials, shade cloth is most commonly used in greenhouse applications.

But did you know it can have a 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. Again, shade cloth is most widely used to reduce the intensity of sunlight (and therefore heat) in greenhouses. Different densities (indicated by percentages) and materials may be recommended based on what or where you’re growing.

Garden Shade. If there aren’t a lot of tall trees in your garden to provide natural shade, you can use shade cloth to help prevent your plants from getting too much sun. Shade cloth is also available in many colors, so you are sure to find one that will complement your garden.

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.

Carport/Shed Protection. Consider protecting your carport cover or outdoor shed or storage with shade cloth. This can add an extra layer (literally) of protection for the exterior from the harsh heat of the sun.

Livestock Shading. Shade cloth can help provide easy and cost-effective respite from the sun for outdoor animals, such as livestock and horses. It can also be used to improve the movement of penned animals, as well as for the protection of the handler.

Tennis Courts and Ball Diamonds. Installing shade cloth 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 shade cloth 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 to Get Now

Gothic Arch Greenhouse SuppliesPreparing for the current season by stocking up on necessary 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 these are some supplies you should think about getting before the weather starts heating up.

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 and evenly reaching every part of 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.

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!

Most Effective Cold-Frame Applications

Cold Frames Best Cold Frame ApplicationsGreenhouse or cold frame? Both are used to help commercial operations and hobby gardeners extend the growing season, but they have distinct differences.

Unlike greenhouses, cold frames extend the growing season by only a few weeks, and they just use heat generated by the sun—no controlled sources.

Given these unique features, cold frames are recommended for the following applications in which they are most effective.

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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7 Essential Steps to Winterize Your Greenhouse

how to winterize your greenhousePlunging temperatures and winter storms could threaten your plants if you’re not careful.

But you can protect and extend the efforts of your green thumb this winter.

Winterizing your greenhouse helps ensure your vegetables and flowers can survive and thrive despite the frightful weather outside.

Follow these seven essential steps to help ward off everything from frost to pests this season:

  1. Clean your greenhouse. Start with a clean slate by removing everything and giving the structure a good scrubbing. Don’t forget to wash any pots you are moving into the greenhouse during the winter to prevent introducing pests.
  1. Inspect and make any necessary repairs. Your ultimate goal during the winterizing process is to keep cold air out, so now is the time to replace any broken glass and ripped coverings, and caulk or seal any openings—even those that are thin or small.
  1. Test your heater and the accuracy of your thermostat. Give your heater a test run before you have to rely on it. Perform any needed maintenance and even stock up on key parts that may be needed for routine service. While you’re testing your heater, check the accuracy of your thermostat to ensure all systems are functioning properly.
  1. Determine the warmest and coldest areas in your greenhouse and plan accordingly. You can make use of the naturally warmest areas of your greenhouse if you know when and where it reaches an optimal temperature. By also knowing the coldest areas, you can isolate plants, even raising them off the ground or covering them with blankets if needed.
  1. Store heat from the sun or heaters to maximize efficiency. Lower your heating costs naturally by making use of planters filled with soil or even large closed containers of water. Both options store heat, providing you with even more ways to seal in warmer temperatures inside your greenhouse.
  1. Add circulating fans. Make sure the heat you’re working so hard to create is circulated properly with circulating fans. Besides moving heat, circulating fans also help minimize mildew and mold and create a healthier environment for your plants.
  1. Have an emergency plan. Despite your best efforts to plan, emergencies can happen. Develop an emergency checklist and have needed supplies on hand in the event of a freeze. Invest in things like a backup heater, temperature alarm, extra poly coverings and repair tape just in case you need them.

Need help winterizing your greenhouse this year? Gothic Arch Greenhouses offers a wide range of the greenhouse supplies you need.

Call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 to talk with one of our representatives or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.