Are you thinking of starting your own greenhouse nursery? Did you just install one and are thinking of what to grow or where to start? Then I’ve got you covered.
As a complete beginner, its ok to make mistakes. After all, the best way to learn is by trial and error. Patience is equally important.
A greenhouse nursery makes growing plants more exciting. But it’s very crucial to select plants wisely. If you’re a beginner, then choose easy to grow plants like tomatoes, peppers or herbs. Start by studying the conditions like temperature, light, soil and moisture needed for the plants you want to grow.
With a greenhouse, you can make the most of the sun by extending growing seasons. What’s more, it helps to grow high quality crops in a small space sheltered from harsh climate. Moreover, you can grow and harvest crops all year round.
Before you get your hands dirty, you need to do proper planning. Ensure that there’s enough space, water sources and power sockets in the greenhouse. With careful planning, you can overcome any problem.
In this article, I will explain how you can get started with a greenhouse nursery. And how to efficiently manage one. Over time, you will master the skill and grow the most unique plants in the greenhouse nursery.
Setting up your greenhouse nursery
While setting up a greenhouse nursery, you need to check the space you have. Whether you’re buying or building one yourself, it should have enough space for many plants.
Most owners regret not having a bigger space than they planned. Also ensure that you place it where there’s lots of sunlight. Moreover, get a tall one that’s got enough headroom for hanging plants, grow lights and water pipes.
You want to ask yourself the following questions while setting up a greenhouse nursery:
- What kind of plants do I want to grow?
- How much space do these plants need?
- How tall will the plants grow?
- What materials should I use for the walls, roof and foundation?
- What tools and supplies do I need for the plants?
- How much space do I need to move around easily?
- Is there enough space to move and maintain plants?
- Can I fit in vertical garden containers?
- Is there enough space for heating and airflow systems?
- How many water sources and power sockets do I need?
- Are the walls and roof strong enough for rain and hail?
- Does the greenhouse trap enough moisture and heat?
- Is my greenhouse in the perfect spot for sunlight or shade?
- Should I include trees that provide shade?
- Do I need an automated climate control system?
Types of Greenhouse Nurseries
Greenhouses are available for every budget. From a small ready to use one to a custom kit, they come in a range of sizes. And most of them can be built in a day. In general, there are two types of greenhouses.
- Attached greenhouse: As the name says, the greenhouse is attached to a wall of your house. So, you don’t have to build all four walls. In turn, it is sturdier and cheaper than a regular one. They are great for growing herbs and vegetables in a small space. However, sunlight can enter from three sides only.
- Freestanding greenhouse: These greenhouses are stand alone. As a result, you can place them anywhere on your property. Although they cost more than an attached one, it allows more sunlight in. Hence, it helps to grow plants more quickly. Moreover, it is a better option for air ventilation.
Where to place your greenhouse nursery?
Ideally, the greenhouse nursery should be placed near your house or garden in a sunny spot. Sunlight is crucial as UV rays boost plant growth. Besides, it helps maintain heat inside.
Before you start building, it’s vital to level the ground. Spread a landscape cloth over the area to prevent weed growth. Then cover the cloth with a few inches of gravel.
Also ensure that there’s electricity, water supply and a drainage line near it. And you’re ready to start building it.
Wherever you build it, ensure that it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Even during winter. Making the longer side face east gives full sun exposure. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, consider adding grow lights inside.
Speaking of grow lights, my favourite is the EZORKAS Grow Light. Order yours from Amazon today:
It works wonders for growing houseplants, microgreens, seedlings and much more. What’s more, it’s LED lights are efficient and consume less energy. For best results, add them directly above plant shelves.
Another great piece of advice is to place the greenhouse near deciduous trees. In the summer, these trees give shade. During fall, they shed leaves. Hence, your greenhouse can get enough sunlight during winter. Also ensure that there are no coniferous trees around it. Because they block sunlight in winter.
Benefits of a greenhouse nursery
A greenhouse nursery is a practical solution for growing plants in a small space. In addition, an indoor space gives you control on its environment. With that said, adding sensors in the greenhouse gives you more control. Check out this Wireless Monitor from Ambient Weather on Amazon:
It’s very useful for monitoring temperature, humidity, dew point, and heat index. What’s more, a fully automated greenhouse features gives control over irrigation and airflow too. So, you can save time and control it even when you’re not home.
In a nutshell, the benefits of a greenhouse nursery include:
- Environment control
- Longer growing season
- Practical solution for small spaces
- Better crop yield
- Higher quality of produce
- Grow many crop varieties
- Greater protection from pests and diseases
- Easy to maintain
Factors that affect growth in a greenhouse nursery
A greenhouse nursery gives you control over its environment. Especially, if you need a longer growing season. This in turn allows you to grow seasonal plants all year round.
Here are some of the factors affecting plant growth in a greenhouse:
You may have to insulate your greenhouse nursery to keep the plants warm. Especially, if you live in a cold climate. Although there’s enough sunlight during daytime, without insulation all the heat will escape at night.
By using a greenhouse, you already have a head start with temperature control. However, its always a good idea to get a heating system. After all, you never know when the climate changes. And the last thing you want is a chilled greenhouse.
Consider adding an electric, gas or solar heater. You can easily get one on Amazon:
In addition, use heat mats under beds to keep the plants warm. What’s more, you could hang radiant heat lamps over plants. A combination of these will enhance plant growth even further.
Ensure that there’s enough ventilation and the heating system is automated. That way, you won’t have to worry about it getting too hot inside.
During summer, you should keep the greenhouse cool for the plants. Regardless of what you’re growing, consider adding an evaporative cooling system. This will ensure your plants will make it through summer.
I recommend the Breezewell 2-in-1 Evaporative Air Cooler, which is available on Amazon:
Evaporative cooling is very effective in reducing temperature and adding moisture. Especially, in a hot and dry state like Arizona.
Generally, leaves release moisture into the environment through pores. That’s why moisture is nearly always at its peak in a greenhouse. Hence, it does a great job of convincing plants that they are in another climate.
Shade and Glazing
Sunlight is great for pant growth. However, too much can make the leaves dry. That’s why its vital to have some shade and glazing. Naturally, trees provide the shade you need during summer.
Otherwise, you could add shading sheets on your greenhouse. These sheets are dark, just like a window shade. What’s more, they can be rolled back during winter to let sunlight in.
Here are some materials that are used as a shade:
- Polypropylene shade cloth
- Vinyl plastic
- Wood or Aluminium roll-up screen
On the other hand, glazing traps heat while letting the sunlight in. It is a covering around the greenhouse frame. Besides, its a good protection from heavy rains and snow.
Glass is a good glazing material. But it is expensive and fragile. On the other hand, plastic sheets work great and are cheap. However, they wont last longer than a month.
So, the best option is to use polycarbonate. It is cheaper than glass and traps heat better than glass or plastic. Moreover, it is strong and flexible, making it ideal for curved surfaces.
Light is crucial for plants to grow. Even though a greenhouse allows light in, the length of day is beyond our control. Not every kind of light is the same. Plants react differently to intensity and span of light. And this varies by season.
As plants grow, its rising number of leaves demand more light. During photosynthesis, plants use light colours from the entire spectrum. Especially, red and blue light. And these are all present in sunlight.
While sunlight is plenty during summer, growing in winter is a challenge. So, LED grow lights or lamps can help meet your plants needs.
Most artificial light sources are not enough for plant growth. That’s why its vital to invest in good quality grow lights.
Unlike regular lights, they provide the right mix of light colours for plant growth. What’s more, they cover a large surface area and produce the full spectrum of light.
Whether you want to boost a plant’s growth or grow during winter, grow lights are very useful. Especially if you live in a cold climate and don’t get enough sunlight.
During summer, it can get very hot inside. Similarly, it may get too cold during winter. That’s why its crucial to have good ventilation.
All plants need airflow to grow properly. Just like us, plants too need fresh air. Make sure to add vents in the greenhouse.
While most air vents are hand cranked, they can be automated by hydraulics. Heat sensors detect when its too hot or cold inside. Hence, the vents can be opened or closed as needed.
Moreover, adding an oscillation fan improves airflow inside. Besides, this also helps stop the spread of disease and pests.
Every plant needs different amounts of water. Moreover, the frequency of watering also varies with the plant. Its vital to study the water requirements of every plant that you want to grow.
Examine each plant to ensure that it gets the right amount of water. If a plant’s leaves look light, it needs water. Likewise, dry soil is a sign that your plant needs water.
Keep in mind that it’s the roots that need water. Not the leaves. That’s why sprinkling water on leaves does not help. In fact, it may increase chances of disease.
Other signs of improper watering are uneven root growth, dry leaves, smaller shoot and immature plants. As a result, your plants may be of poor quality and have lower shelf life.
Most gardeners mistake these signs for disease and use pesticides. However, this will cause more harm than gain.
Another big mistake is watering too much or too less. Instead of making a watering schedule, learn the signs that a plant gives you. For example, dry soil or yellow leaves means your plant needs water.
Many people think that overwatering is when you give your plants lots of water at a time. Instead, it’s when you water so often that the soil doesn’t get a chance to drain.
You can stop this by adding an irrigation system. This way, you don’t have to worry if you’re watering the plants wrong. Most systems are automated. Which means you can control it by timer, even if you’re not home!
Check out this amazing irrigation system from Raindrip:
Whatever plants you choose, selecting the right soil is critical for plant growth. Ideally, the soil should have the right consistency to retain nutrients. Moreover, it should allow some drainage so that it’s not too moist.
Every plant has different needs. So, a quick google search is the best way to find the right soil for your plants. In general, soil can be of two types:
- Organic soil is an eco-friendly option. It has natural elements like decaying plant material and worms. In addition, the micro-organisms add nutrients and minerals to the soil.
- Conventional soil contains peat, manure and black humus. This soil needs to be replenished regularly with fertilizer and compost.
Always avoid using heavy soil. Because they are very compact for the roots to get some air. Heavy soil which has too much clay does not retain much nutrients. Besides, they drain poorly and can rot plant roots. For hanging plants, use a lighter soil. Especially if it is growing in the shade.
Coming to fertilizers, its best to use organic ones. Since growing with organic seeds is difficult, using natural fertilizers is a good option.
Different plants have varying nutrient needs. That’s why its crucial to know the perfect balance for your plant. Here are some tips on choosing a fertilizer:
- Use a nitrogen rich fertilizer for leafy plants. A high nitrogen mix ratio is 20-10-10. This ratio is often printed on the bag.
- Flowering plants need phosphorus. So, a ratio of 10-20-10 is good for them.
- For general plant growth and disease resistance, you need potassium. So, use a ratio of 10-10-20.
Remember to use fertilizer to replenish the soil nutrients every two weeks. There are many kinds of fertilizers available. A liquid fertilizer gives an even spread of nutrients throughout the soil. Consider buying a fertilizer sprayer like this one on Amazon:
Pest control in a greenhouse nursery
Now that you know all the ways to boost plant growth, its time to learn how to prevent diseases and pests from ruining your plants.
Most greenhouses do a fine job of protecting plants from pests and diseases. However, that does not mean that you don’t have to take care. With a few simple steps, you can minimize the risk of pests.
Indeed, it is easier to grow plants in a greenhouse nursery. However, this puts them at a higher risk of pests and disease spread. Because the densely crowded plants and humid nature attract pests.
Hence, its crucial to find pests and inspect the greenhouse regularly. This allows you to execute a proper plan for pest control. If its too late, the issue gets out of control and will burn a hole in your pocket.
An effective way to stop pests is to install insect screening around any open area. Such as air vents, exhausts, doorway, water system. This keeps the insects and mites from entering inside.
More importantly, keep separate tools and supplies for indoor and outdoor gardens. Unknowingly, you may bring in pests and diseases. Use a separate pair of gloves and garden boots when inside.
It’s very important to keep the greenhouse clean to avoid diseases. Pesticides should be avoided until necessary. Many growers avoid using them for indoor growth.
Easy to grow greenhouse nursery plants
Now that you have the greenhouse nursery set up, its time to get your hands dirty!
So, what should you start with? Even though you can grow almost any plant in a greenhouse, its best to start small. Keep in mind that some plants thrive easily. While others need more care.
As a beginner, start with a few easy plants. While it may be exciting to plant lots of them, its best to take it slow with a few plants. As you learn and gain experience, you can work with more unique plants.
Here are some simple plants to get started:
Growing your own vegetables is very rewarding. Having fresh produce in your greenhouse nursery is the best way to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow are:
A greenhouse nursery lets you grow a wide range of fruits all year round. Start with some easy fruits like:
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices add a unique taste to food. And a greenhouse nursery is a perfect place to grow them. Check out this herb kit from Garden Republic on Amazon to get started:
Some of the easy herbs include:
- Bay leaves
Flowers bring a garden to life with vibrant and colourful blooms. You can grow them all year round in a greenhouse nursery. Here are some of the easiest flowers to grow:
- Peace lily
- Morning glory
If you love gardening, a greenhouse nursery is a great way to start. With a little effort, you can set it up and be ready to get growing! After all, it’s your little retreat to nature. What’s more, it’s an effective and eco-friendly way to grow plants in a small space.
Besides, a greenhouse nursery improves crop yield and quality. As a result, commercial growers can increase their profits. And they can meet the rising demand for fresh produce in large cities.
Watching the seeds grow is nothing short of a miracle. In fact, caring for plants is a natural therapy.
I hope you are inspired to start your own greenhouse nursery. What plants are you thinking of growing? Let me know in the comments below.
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