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GREENHOUSE
GARDENING FOR
BEGINNERS

EASILY START YOUR OWN GREENHOUSE AND GROW
FOOD ALL YEAR ROUND




JANET WILSON

Copyright © 2020 by Janet Wilson
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning,
or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: the publisher and the author make no
represe ntations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents
of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation
warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended b y
sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be
suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is
not engaged in rendering medical, legal or other professional advice or ser vices. If
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be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising
herefrom. The fact that an individual, organization or website is refe rred to in this work as
a citation and/or potential source of further information does not mean that the author or
the publisher endorses the information the individuals, organization or website may
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was written and when it is read.
ISBN: 978 - 1 - 951791 - 58 - 2

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Table of Contents

Introduction ................................ ................................ ......... 10
Chapter One: Fundamental Concepts of Greenhouse
Gardening ................................ ................................ .................... 12
Chapter Two: Buying a Greenhouse - Ideas and Factors to
Consider ................................ ................................ ....................... 20
Location, Location, Location ................................ ............ 20
Size of the Greenhouse ................................ ...................... 21
Watering System ................................ ............................... 22
Heating and Cooling Systems ................................ ........... 22
Greenh ouse Design and Insulation ................................ .... 23
The Strength of the Foundation ................................ ......... 24
Framing and Window Materials ................................ ........ 25
Ascertain the Level of Built - in Pest Control ..................... 25
Landscape and Logistics ................................ .................... 26
Reputation and Service ................................ ...................... 27
Chapter Three: Building a Greenhouse ........................... 29
Step One - Budget ................................ ............................. 29
Step Two - Choos e a Design ................................ ............. 30
Step Three - Location ................................ ........................ 31
Step Four - Covering Materials ................................ ......... 32

St ep Five - Construct the Frame ................................ ........ 33
Step Six - Temperature Control: Cooling and Heating ..... 35
Step Seven - Environmental Control Systems ................... 37
Step Eight - Additional Plans ................................ ............ 37
Chapter Four: Difference Between a Greenhouse and a
Polytunnel House ................................ ................................ ........ 40
Similarities Between a Greenhouse and a Polytunnel House
................................ ................................ ................................ .. 40
Differences Between a Greenhouse and a Polytunnel House
................................ ................................ ................................ .. 41
Chapter Five: How to Maximize Airflow and Cooling
Systems ................................ ................................ ........................ 46
Consider the Size of the Greenhouse ................................ . 47
Ventilating Greenhouses ................................ ................... 47
Shading ................................ ................................ .............. 48
Damping ................................ ................................ ............ 49
How to Avoid Water Stress in Plants ................................ 50
Evaporative Cooling ................................ .......................... 50
Mechanical Ventilation ................................ ..................... 51
Natural Ventilation ................................ ............................ 52
Cooling Maintenance ................................ ......................... 52
Chapter Six: Heating Systems ................................ ........... 55
The First Category: The Central Heating System ............. 56

The Second Category: The Heating System Replacement 59
Can a Greenhouse Become Too Hot for Safety? ............... 62
Chapter Seven: Process of Greenhouse Irrigation .......... 64
The Benefits of a Greenhouse Irrigation System .............. 65
How to Choose the Right Greenhouse Irrigation System . 66
Types of Greenhouse Irrigation Systems .......................... 69
Chapter Eight: Greenhouse Growing Methods ............... 75
Soil ................................ ................................ ..................... 76
Seeds or Starters ................................ ................................ 76
Containers ................................ ................................ .......... 76
Fertilizers ................................ ................................ ........... 77
What are the Factors that Affect Plant Growth in
Greenhouses? ................................ ................................ ............ 77
Types of Greenhouse Growing Methods ........................... 79
Should I Use Containers or Grow My Plants in the Ground?
................................ ................................ ................................ .. 82
Chapter Nine: How to Protect Your Greenhouse and Keep
It Secure Long - Term ................................ ................................ .. 90
How To Protect Your Greenhouse From Heat Waves ...... 90
How to Protect Your Greenhouse from Excessive Cold ... 92
How to Protect Your Greenhouse from High Winds ........ 93
How To Protect Your Greenhouse From Threats Caused by
Humans ................................ ................................ ..................... 94

Chapter Ten: Preparing for The Growing Season .......... 97
Step One - Declutter the Greenhouse ................................ 98
Step Two - Clean, Clean, Clean ................................ ........ 98
Step Three - Prepare the Soil for Planting ....................... 100
Step Four - Check the Coverings ................................ ..... 100
Step Five - Clean the Water Catchment System ............. 100
Step Six - Check the Water Sources ................................ 101
Step Seven - Reassess the Vents ................................ ..... 101
Step Eight - Shading ................................ ........................ 102
Step Nine - Check the Heating and Cooling Systems ..... 102
Step Ten - The Exterior of the Greenhouse ..................... 103
Chapter Eleven: How to Handle Disease and Pest Control
................................ ................................ ................................ .... 105
Some Common Greenhouse Pests ................................ ... 107
Most Common Greenhouse Diseases .............................. 109
Strategies for Pests and Disease Control ......................... 111
Chapter Twelve: How to Grow Great Yields All Year
Round ................................ ................................ ......................... 117
How to Achieve High Yields from Your Greenhouse .... 118
Planting ................................ ................................ ............ 123
Stringing or Supports ................................ ....................... 123
Check Your Plants Until Harvest ................................ .... 124
Organic Fertilization ................................ ........................ 125

Consistenc y Counts ................................ ......................... 126
Chapter Thirteen: The Best Cleaning Methods for
Greenhouses ................................ ................................ .............. 128
Why Should I Clean My Greenhouse in a Certain Way? 129
How Often Should I Clean My Greenhouse? .................. 129
How Can I Clean the Exterior of the Greenhouse? ......... 130
How Can I Clean the Interior of My Greenhouse Effectively?
................................ ................................ ................................ 131
How Can I Clean My Irrigation Systems and Water Holding
Tanks? ................................ ................................ ..................... 132
How Can I Maintain My Greenhouse Throughout the Year
if I Am Busy? ................................ ................................ ......... 133
How Can I Get Rid of Mold in My Greenhouse Through
Cleaning? ................................ ................................ ................ 133
How Can I Further Disinfect My Gre enhouse Effectively?
................................ ................................ ................................ 134
How Can I Disinfect My Plants? ................................ ..... 134
Chapter Fourteen: Greenhouse Gardening Mistakes to
Avoid ................................ ................................ .......................... 136
Growing the Wrong Plants in the Wrong Temperature ... 137
Excessively Reducing Light ................................ ............ 137
Watering: When It’s Too Much or Not Enough .............. 137
Lack of Soil Management ................................ ............... 138

Growers Who Ignore the Growth of Fungus in Their
Greenhouses ................................ ................................ ............ 138
Lack of Proper Ventilation ................................ .............. 139
When You Don’t Consider the Nearby Trees ................. 139
Failure to Control the Temperature ................................ . 140
Placing Grow Bags and Pots Directly on the Floor ......... 140
Effective Pest Management ................................ ............. 141
Lack of Research ................................ ............................. 141
Building Your Greenhouse Far Away from Your Home 142
Starting Your Planting Season with Complex Crops ...... 142
Having No Plan for the Greenhouse ................................ 143
Buying Fertilizers from Unaccredited Dealers ................ 143
Planting Too Much ................................ .......................... 144
Final Words ................................ ................................ ........ 146

10
Introduction

Greenhouse gardening is such an exciting experience,
especially if you love growing and nurturing plants. When you set
up a greenhouse, you will be able to provide plants with everything
they need to grow and thrive. By setting up the most optimal
environment, you will help them grow better and you will be
rewarded with a beautiful harvest.
A s exciting as the idea sounds, there is more to setting up a
greenhouse than building a structure and putting plants in it. Have
you ever heard the statement, “Anything worth doing is worth doing
well?” This statement is a true reflection of the kind of ef fort you
should put into your greenhouse gardening project.
Many people want to experience the joy of having a
greenhouse, but they are overwhelmed because they don’t know
how to start, or they have tried and got discouraged because they
couldn’t get it ri ght. If that sounds like you, don’t despair! This book
offers detailed insight into how you can make the most of your
greenhouse.
With the information you will find in this book, you will avoid
some of the challenges other beginners face when buying or
bui lding a greenhouse and then developing, maintaining, and
sustaining it long - term.

11
By implementing the ideas shared in this book, you will master
everything from the fundamental concepts of greenhouses and the
construction process, to irrigation and how to fight off pests and
disease. This book also provides comprehensive details about how
to prepare for the growing season and what steps to take for
exceptional plant yields.
This book will empower you with all the information you need
to get your greenhouse set up right from the start. Whether this is
your first greenhouse, or you have tried greenhouse growing and
want to do better, or you are an expert wanting to h up on the
fundamentals of success, this book is for you! This book will give
you the confi dence and skills to get it right because you will learn
what to do and how to apply your new knowledge.
This book covers every aspect of the greenhouse experience for
beginners and answers many questions common to the greenhouse
gardener. Once mastering th ese basics, you will advance in your
success as a greenhouse gardener. As you grow in your skills, you
may find that you return to this book often, and still rely on the
essential lessons you learned from this book.
Making a commitment to embark on a green house adventure is
a serious matter. Most people consider greenhouses as an
investment, which they are, due to the cost and effort required to
construct and maintain one successfully. However, despite the
“seriousness” of the venture, I urge you to relax a nd have fun while
learning. Together, we will make your greenhouse aspirations come
true.
Let’s begin your greenhouse adventure!

12
Chapter One:
Fundamental Concepts of Greenhouse
Gardening

The primary reason why people struggle with their greenhouse
project is that they never took the time to learn about the correct
process before getting started. Some of the challenges such people
face could have been easily resolved if they had adopted a
systematic approach that entails knowing before doi ng .
Whether you have tried and failed with a greenhouse project
before now or you have never tried to garden in a greenhouse, this
book will address the common initial errors and make the process
less complicated.
In this chapter, we will lay a solid foun dation for developing a
greenhouse that will be sustainable in the long term. You will read
an overview of what it means to get involved with greenhouse
gardening. The ideas and details shared in this section will form the
framework through which other con cepts will be explored in
subsequent chapters.
Greenhouse gardening is for anybody who loves nurturing
plants and taking care of them in a specialized environment while
enjoying the yields that spring forth. While there are no educational
requirements for starting a greenhouse, it is recommended that you
learn how to establish your greenhouse correctly from the start.

13
A greenhouse is a building where plants grow, and the structure
can vary in size from small to very large depending on the
gardener’s needs a nd choices. As a beginner, you may want to start
on a small scale using a modest structure you can easily manage.
Greenhouse gardeners who use larger structures are usually experts
who have been gardening for a long time; thus, they can handle a
more compl icated and high maintenance structure.
The first greenhouses date back to the Roman Empire under the
rule of Emperor Tiberius. Since then, greenhouses have evolved in
their design and uses, and greenhouses have become a common
feature of gardening culture.
So, how does a greenhouse work? A greenhouse reduces the
rate of thermal energy flow out of its structure, and this happens by
impeding the heat absorbed within from leaving its confines.
The material used for greenhouse roofing and sides is usually
eith er glass or plastic. This is because these materials enable the
easy penetration of sunlight to the plants. The sun is crucial to
warming a greenhouse especially because it heats the soil inside the
greenhouse. As it cools in the evening, the warm ground r eleases
heat inside the greenhouse, which provides warmth to the plants in
the confined space.
Greenhouses can also be wooden or metal structures that are
partially walled - in and covered by plastic or glass sheets. While
other materials can be used for gre enhouse construction, it is
essential that whatever is used allows for light and air to penetrate
and circulate. Generally, the building is shaped with four walls, a
roof and a single entry/exit area.

14
In some countries, greenhouses are built to a specified standard
and offered for sale to gardeners who do not want to go through the
building process. However, as a beginner, if you don’t have the
financial capacity to buy a greenhouse, you can construct yours just
the way you want it. This is easier if you ar e starting on a small -
scale. In Chapter Three, you will find more information on
greenhouse construction that you can use as a guide.
Greenhouses safeguard plants from excessive cold, heat, and
pests. Greenhouses make it possible to grow various types of c rops
throughout the year, including fruits, vegetables, and flowers. These
types of plants are some of the most popular ones grown in
greenhouses.
Since they can be installed anywhere, there are few climate
related restrictions on what type of location you need for
constructing greenhouses. The highest number of greenhouses are
found in high - altitude countries. An excellent example of such a
region is Almeria in Spain, where they have greenhouses on over
50,000 acres of land. The reason for this trend in su ch countries is
because they are concerned about maintaining a sustainable food
supply, and greenhouses help them meet the demand by extending
the growing seasons and allowing greater control on inputs. Since
greenhouse gardening makes the extension of the growing season
possible, growers can grow certain prized crops that usually can
only be found in areas with very long, hot seasons. For example, if
you love a particular flower or vegetable and you can only get it in
the summer, with a greenhouse, you may be able to enjoy the plant
all year round.

15
Greenhouse gardening is also one of the best ways of staying
connected to nature. Most people agree it is a fun and healthy hobby.
This idea of enjoying crops all year round is one of the most
prominent advantage s of greenhouse gardening. The rising cost of
food is a phenomenon that affects people in all countries. Think
about how relieved you will feel knowing that you grow your own
fresh produce. It is an exciting idea to imagine how it will help you
cut down on grocery shopping, provide you and your family with
plentiful organically grown vegetables. In addition, a greenhouse is
an investment that will give you increasing annual returns on your
harvested yields, and increase the value of your property.
You can build your greenhouse in various styles. Maybe it will
be very utilitarian and made with cheap or reclaimed materials, or
maybe it will be fancy using expensive materials and labor . Either
way, you have many options for how it will look. In decidin g on a
location for your greenhouse, however, you must determine the best
place for it to reside. Be mindful that while the structure can be
based on your preferred style and budget, the site must be ideal. We
will discuss more about picking the right loca tion in Chapter Two.
After deciding on a suitable location, you can start building
your greenhouse. You will start by selecting and building the size
of greenhouse that you want. However, the process doesn’t end with
building the greenhouse itself. The suc cess of your greenhouse
hinges upon the effectiveness of your greenhouse management. The
managerial aspect of setting up and maintaining a greenhouse is the
most extensive and detailed aspect of your work as a gardener, as it
encompasses every aspect of gr eenhouse gardening.

16
If you set up a beautiful greenhouse with the finest materials,
yet fail to manage it daily, the project will fail. As such, from the
start of your greenhouse experience, you must accept that
management s time - consuming but rewarding. M ost of the
successful greenhouses you may know about are operated by
committed individuals who learned a lot about greenhouse
management and consistently applied what they learned. In
subsequent chapters, you will learn various aspects of greenhouse
manage ment; from irrigation and pest control to greenhouse cooling
systems.
A greenhouse is also a long - term investment that can
consistently offer yields so long as it is properly managed. At first,
you may have to spend a lot of time trying to understand all t hat it
entails, but when you get used to it, you will realize that it is a
continuous process that requires extra space. Therefore, even if you
are going to start with a small greenhouse initially, your location
should be considerably larger than the struc ture.
Your location should have enough growing space to make
expansion easy when you start to outgrow the initial land inside
your greenhouse. You might want to add outdoor gardens, expand
the greenhouse or set up additional greenhouses or structures relat ed
to gardening. In most instances, greenhouse gardeners always need
more land than they initially thought, and if the area around the
greenhouse is not enough, they will eventually have a problem.
Even if you don’t feel like expanding at the beginning, yo u
should consider that you might want the option later. You will be
glad you did because of the many benefits greenhouse gardening

17
offers. Yes, there are financial benefits, such as providing your own
food, but most striking are the health - related benefits . Organic
plants you grow in your greenhouse are healthier for you than
commercially produced food. Furthermore, gardening is a robust
physical activity that is also soothing for the mind.
It is a generally known fact that most plants and foods we
purchase are grown with the addition of chemicals and preservatives
that are known to cause harm to the body. This realization has led
to an increased interest in organic greenhouse gardening. More and
more households, especially those with kids, are taking intent ional
steps towards establishing their greenhouses so they can have
unlimited access to healthier food.
Aside from being a cost - effective way to produce healthier
food, greenhouse gardening also offers tastier and more diverse
options for the foods you can grow and eat. This is especially true
of vegetables and fruits that you may only get frozen, in cans, in
restaurants or specialty shops, or not at all. These crops, when fresh,
are even more delicious than what you have ever tasted in canned
or frozen foo ds.
With all of the benefits highlighted thus far, I’m sure you are
getting excited at the prospect of learning how to get started with
your greenhouse gardening.
At this point you may wonder, “What is the difference between
a garden and a greenhouse, and why can’t I plant everything in my
garden and get the same organic yield?” The most concise answers
are:

18
● A garden is an outdoor environment and a greenhouse is an
indoor environment; and,
● A greenhouse gives you immense control over the growing
environme nt, which can result in better yields.
To explain more fully, one important advantage of growing in
a greenhouse is the reduced possibility of crops being negatively
affected by seasonal weather. When plants are exposed to harsh and
irregular weather condi tions, it can affect seed germination,
vegetative growth, and ultimately the proer ripening of the
vegetable or fruit.
Greenhouses enable plants to receive moisture to boost their
growth while providing temperature control so plants can grow
effectively in an optimum environment. Furthermore, if you were to
rely on an outdoor garden, pest control would be much more tasking
because the plants are vulnerable to attacks from pests in the broader
environment.
Additionally, the length of the growing season is extended with
a greenhouse, unlike with outside gardens. Those special vegetables
that are seasonal, or have long growing seasons, or really hot
temperatures will not grow in all gardens. Greenhouses offer a more
comprehensive and advantageous gardening pr ocess, and as we
continue on this journey, you will discover more reasons why this
is true.
Another fundamental concept to consider with greenhouses at
the beginner stage is the role of research. I must commend you on
getting this book because it is an im portant part of your research for
your greenhouse project. Any beginner who skips the research stage

19
with greenhouse gardening will miss out on a lot of vital
information, and consequently, have less success.
The best way to carry out greenhouse research i s through books
like this that offer detailed insight into what to expect when setting
up a greenhouse. Additionally, you can also reach out to other
people who own greenhouses to get more information about how it
works for them.
If you are keen on making your greenhouse experience an
outstanding success, you will make enough time to research. Think
about research as your first step, one that gives you a strong
foundation to build on. Just like planting a new seed, the process
starts humbly, but the seed wi ll grow into a thriving, nourishing
plant. A strong foundation of knowledge will lead to success with
your greenhouse, as you will be functioning with a complete
understanding of how it all works.

Well, there you have it, you have just learned the fundame ntal
concepts of greenhouse gardening. This chapter introduced some of
the key ideas that we will expand upon in this book as we build
towards really understanding the nature and operation of
greenhouses.
In the next chapter, you will learn about the facto rs to consider
when buying a greenhouse.

20
Chapter Two:
Buying a Greenhouse - Ideas and
Factors to Consider

When you decide to buy a greenhouse, you will be faced with
a myriad of options and choices that include location, size, design,
heating system, e tc. In most cases, when people lack a prior
understanding of what to expect from greenhouses, they end up
feeling overwhelmed by the numerous things they need to do. This
chapter’s objective is to provide an easy checklist of the ideas and
factors to consi der when you are ready to buy a greenhouse.
The fact that a building looks good or seems right for a
greenhouse doesn’t mean it is good enough for a greenhouse.
Moreover, some unscrupulous people are able to sell unsuitable
buildings as greenhouses because many buyers lack an
understanding of what to expect. The checklist below outlines the
key considerations to focus on so you can make the right choice.

Location, Location, Location
Regardless of the proposed greenhouse style, it is crucial that
the locat ion has adequate exposure to the sun. The sun is vital
because its natural UV rays are critical to a plant’s growing ability.
If your proposed site for the greenhouse doesn’t guarantee at least

21
six hours of direct sunlight, even during winter, then you may have
to consider purchasing grow lights.
The location of your greenhouse is also essential because it
influences every other consideration in the checklist.

Size of the Greenhouse
The size of the greenhouse will also be discussed in Chapter
Three when w e talk about construction because, just like location,
size greatly influences greenhouse purchasing decisions. Specific
factors will determine the size of the greenhouse you select, but the
most crucial factor of all is what type of plants you want to gro w.
While some plants are okay with smaller spaces, some others
require a larger area, and if you are going to plant numerous flowers
or vegetables, then you might need a bigger greenhouse. Another
consideration for size is if you plan to store your garden ing tools
and supplies in the greenhouse or if you have a separate storage area
for them.
If you already know that you are going to eventually expand
your greenhouse once you get comfortable with your first one, you
might want to get a greenhouse that can be extended or added on to.
With an expansion in mind, be sure to buy a greenhouse that can
grow to suit your long - term vision.

22
Watering System
Many gardeners prefer to use a watering hose to water the
plants in their greenhouses, and some have no other option but to
use a hose. Others may not even have a hose hookup and they water
with watering cans or buckets that they have to fill from either an
inside or outside water source. If you have no other option, of
course, do the best you can! However, you sh ould know, or maybe
you already know from experience, that this is not an ideal watering
system for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that you may
not always get out to the garden to water when it’s watering time.
This can have disastrous consequ ences for your garden. You can
even lose your entire season of work by forgetting or being late for
watering on a really hot day.
As such, you should consider a greenhouse that has an internal
watering system, or even irrigation, installed. This will enabl e the
efficient watering of plants on a prescribed schedule. You will learn
more about watering systems in Chapter 7 in the section about
greenhouse irrigation.

Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling systems are crucial factors to consider
when buying a greenhouse, as it helps maintain an optimum
greenhouse temperature. This optimum temperature aids the rapid
and healthy growth of plants. If you are paying a lot of money, you
should expect it to come with a proper heating and cooling system.

23
Heating and cooling systems are so vital that they are split into
two separate chapters in this book. Before we get there, you should
know that one of the best ways of ascertaining if the temperature is
correct in the greenhouse is through a thermometer.
T he greenhouse should have a pre - installed thermometer to
monitor the temperature. Your plants could die in the greenhouse
garden without proper heating and cooling systems; as such, never
negotiate on the quality of either of these critical systems.

Green house Design and Insulation
Design and insulation are both crucial, especially if you live in
a freezing climate with thick ice and snow during the winter. If you
are going to grow vegetables all year round, then your greenhouse
must be properly insulated .
For such situations, you will require multiple - walled
polyethylene, which provides excellent insulation for greenhouses.
Some also offer light diffusion due to the opacity. Polyethylene film
is a relatively cheap material for greenhouse insulation, howev er,
unlike the other insulation options such as glass, polyethylene film
is not durable, and it has a short life span. Polyethylene film may
seem easily affordable at first and suitable for any greenhouse
budget, but you will have to upgrade it consistentl y over time.
If you have a bigger budget, you can use tempered glass which
will not degrade even after many years of intense sunlight.

24
Another reason your local climate is crucial when considering
the design and insulation of a greenhouse is the wind. Str ong winds
can pull down weak greenhouse insulation, so if you live in an area
prone to high winds or heavy snow, regular polyethylene film will
not be ideal. You might need the more robust, thicker, textured
polyethylene film.
If you want to use glass in a cold area, consider if it has a heat -
retaining glass coating.
We will also talk further about insulation in Chapter Three
because it is a vital step in the construction of your greenhouse.

The Strength of the Foundation
Mo st potential greenhouse buyers focus on everything but the
foundation of the greenhouse. Some people assume that because the
greenhouse is not a structure with numerous rooms, the foundation
doesn’t matter. This is untrue! The foundation is essential,
espe cially if you are keen on keeping the greenhouse for a long time.
The kinds of materials used for the foundation will determine
its longevity. Many greenhouses are laid with concrete footings, and
some others are constructed using wooden posts or frames.
R egarding the foundation and the kind of materials you choose,
make sure you also consider the engineering regulations in your
community. There may be permits required for larger structures
with concrete foundations.

25
Framing and Window Materials
The gree nhouse window panels are also a very crucial
consideration as you think about the outer layers of the greenhouse.
There are three options for greenhouse panels: diffused, semi -
diffused and clear. These different options influence the extent of
light penetr ation into the greenhouse, and thus the amount of light
the crops will receive.
For this reason, you may want to consider what your growing
plans are. If you want to start seedlings to transplant outdoors, you
will require brighter light from clear panels that boost the seed’s
sprouting. You will notice that your plants spring forth faster and
are healthier. If you are going to grow plants to maturity, you will
need diffused light, as this helps plants gain optimum
photosynthesis over the course of their g rowth. You can always
discuss the options with your seller or other installation expert to
decide on what might work best for you.

Ascertain the Level of Built - in Pest Control
Since pests are a part of nature’s life cycle, you may never have
a 100% pest - free environment for your greenhouse. Despite that,
you can buy a greenhouse with some insect controls in place such
as screens for all open areas, including the doorway, the water
systems, and all vents. Simple screens are one of the best ways to
control pests in the greenhouse.

26
Landscape and Logistics
You previously learned that location is the first thing to
consider when planning for your greenhouse. If you get it right, you
will also take care of many other considerations at the same time.
For exampl e, you need to ensure proximity to a water source. At the
same time, you need to locate the greenhouse away from falling
hazards such as tree branches that may come down in a storm. You
need to be able to access it conveniently. A greenhouse can be a
beaut iful addition to your property, or it can be inconveniently
located and thus difficult to maintain. Visualize how it will look,
work through how you will use it on a daily basis, and then choose
the right spot to set it up.
Regarding logistics, there are various things to consider.
During construction, and regularly during the life of your
greenhouse, you will want to bring in supplies and take out your
harvest. Your location should be conveniently located where you
can drive up close enough to load or unl oad, then use a trolley or
wheelbarrow to carry your supplies if needed. When you are
harvesting, you will need to bring your harvest out from the
greenhouse, and either into your house or your vehicle. For this
reason, you don’t want to be too far away fr om your house, road or
pathway system.
In some communities, there may be regulations for buildings
such as greenhouses if they are of a certain size. If you want a very
large, glass walled greenhouse on a concrete foundation with
electricity, irrigation a nd plumbing, you may need to get a permit or
follow specific building codes. In some communities, you may have

27
to get permission from your neighbors or community association
before installing the greenhouse. Some communities may have
fewer or no regulation s for smaller greenhouses. This is especially
true in rural areas. It is your responsibility to discover these rules
before installing your greenhouse. Please make sure that before
buying or setting up your greenhouse that you know the relevant
rules and r efine your plans to ensure that you adhere to them.

Reputation and Service
Even if you are buying the smallest greenhouse, you may spend
a lot of money and effort to set it up. It is crucial to check the
reputation of the seller(s) and understand the ki nd of services they
offer. Make sure you understand the level of installation, if any, they
offer.
You will be helping yourself by learning about the company
before making a final purchase. You can start by doing research
about the product and the company on the internet. You could also
ask the opinion of someone who may have done business with the
firm before. You could also get someone you trust to give an honest
assessment of the seller and the product you intend to buy.
Technology has made fact - checking so much easier, especially if
you are trying to look up business reviews on the internet.
Find out if the company offers a warranty. If they do, how many
years do they offer and what are the kinds of issues that the warranty
covers? Get to know h ow long they’ve been in business and how
many of these greenhouses they have sold. Ensure you are dealing

28
with a known seller with a proven track record because even if a
company offers you an extended warranty, if they aren’t in business
in a few months, it’s your loss.
In addition, you need to know about their services. Do they
offer after - sales technical assistance? Are their representatives
available during weekends if you encounter an emergency? As you
ask these questions, remember to listen carefully to the answers and
use the data you gather to make an informed decision about whether
to proceed with the purchase.

If you don’t use a checklist and ensure that your greenhouse
satisfies your most important requirements, you might end up with
a unit that is constantly plagued with problems. Sadly, you may
have to spend more money trying to renovate and revamp the
greenhouse when you discover it isn’t right for your gardening
purposes or doesn’t perform the way you expect.
These comments aren’t meant to di scourage you! They are
meant to inform you so that you can avoid the common mistakes of
a beginner and have the best chance at success. As such, when you
are ready to make your first greenhouse purchase, please utilize the
checklist as a guide.
For some p eople, buying a greenhouse is the preferred option,
however, some others may prefer to construct a greenhouse.
Chapter Three offers insight into the greenhouse construction
process, so that you can consider which is best for you and make
your decision.

29
C hapter Three:
Building a Greenhouse

If you decide that you want to consider building your
greenhouse, you will want to know all the right steps to take, just
like when you were learning about buying a greenhouse. In this
chapter, we will outline the most important things you need to
consider. Although greenhouse construction is much more difficult
than just buying one, it is an achievable goal when you know what
to do.
Here, we will also expand upon some of the ideas you learned
in Chapter Two; however, t his time, it will be in the context of your
own construction plans. You have to be knowledgeable and hands -
on with every stage of the build. This is required for a successful
construction experience.
Let's learn how to build a greenhouse!

Step One - Bud get
You should absolutely have an idea of how much you can
afford to spend before getting started. The amount you spend will
depend on the decisions you make. The cost of greenhouse
construction will vary based on the kind of design you choose and
the kin d of infrastructure you implement. This includes the building
itself, as well as irrigation, cooling systems, etc.

30
After reading this chapter, you will know what to expect from
the building process. Then you can make some decisions about what
type of gree nhouse you want, and how much complex equipment
you want to run, if any. Price out various components that you want
and make decisions from there. Put together a budget that lists out
all the costs of the components you are considering. Don’t be afraid
to make several budgets that represent variations of your plan, so
that you can see how different options will affect the final price.
If you only have a specific amount of money, work on your
design concept until you are within those budget limits.
Regardle ss of how much of a budget you decide on, please
remember that it is the first and most crucial step when planning for
construction. If you don’t have your financial plan together, your
expenses might get out of control, resulting in a final cost that is
w ay more than expected.

Step Two - Choose a Design
Greenhouse designs are many and varied. They range from
simple tents draped in insect mesh that keeps a away to fully
insulated structures with power and plumbing.
Some of the different greenhouse desi gns that are available
include the barn - style greenhouse, which is inexpensive to
construct. There is also the hoop style greenhouse that is very
popular with beginners.
While some designs are expensive because of the extravagant
style and extensive const ruction and material costs, some are very

31
affordable and easy to set up. Your preferred greenhouse design
should be based on your climate, the kinds of plants you want to
grow and your future expansion plans, if any.
As we discussed previously, your budge t also influences the
kind of design you choose. You may not be able to afford your
dream greenhouse, but with a realistic budget in mind, you can find
a design to suit your needs.
There are other factors that affect design that you will want to
consider b efore finalizing your decision. These factors are outlined
in the steps that follow. Review them, and then come back to your
design ideas to incorporate what you have learned.

Step Three - Location
Depending on the land that you have available, you will want
to select the ideal location for your greenhouse. Your greenhouse
location should be one with access to good and consistent sunlight.
The ideal orientation for a greenhouse is facing the sun. If you live
in North America, then your greenhouse location should be facing
the S outh or S outh E ast. If you live in the Southern hemisphere,
your greenhouse direction should be N orth W est. This is ideal
because it can get full sunlight all day, but areas with less sun will
work depending on what plants you want to grow. As long as you
get at least 6 hours a day of su n, your plants should be fine.
In addition, you should pay attention to how the seasons affect
the location. Do not settle for a location near evergreen trees that

32
will cast a shadow on the greenhouse and prevent sunlight from
streaming in. Similarly, don’ t place your greenhouse under
deciduous trees that will shade the greenhouse, and then drop its
leaves all over the greenhouse and any adjoining gardens. Placing
the greenhouse on a windy hill will cause undue strain on the
structure, and cause breakage to the roofing material. Areas
subjected to seasonal flooding should be avoided.
Your greenhouse should have access to electricity, since most
greenhouses require heat and ventilation to maintain an optimal
temperature. It should also have easy access to a s ource of water.
Your greenhouse is ideally located in fairly close proximity to your
home so that you can tend to your plants easily.

Step Four - Covering Materials
Choosing proper coverage for the roof and sides of your
greenhouse is crucial for creatin g a productive growing
environment. Your coverings should be sturdy, non - toxic, and
durable. They shouldn't tear under harsh weather conditions such as
wind or snow.
For a greenhouse covering, you can use various types of plastic
film. UV - stabilized polye thylene, which contains BPA's, is very
affordable. Non - toxic LDPE grow tarps are also ideal because they
last longer. However, plastic films have to be replaced occasionally
as PET plastic has a shorter life span than non - toxic LDE plastic.

33
Another option for roofing and sides is hard double - walled
plastic such as multi - wall polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can be
curved around the greenhouse frame, it saves up to 30% energy and
is also double - walled, making it durable and an excellent insulator.
Polycarbonate is also more reliable than glass since glass is so
breakable. As such, it can easily chip or crack during construction
or at any time due to weather or an accident. Fiberglass is also a
great option, since it is very durable.
After deciding on your prefer red covering, the next step entails
the construction of the greenhouse frame that you will put your
chosen covering on.

Step Five - Construct the Frame
The frame of the greenhouse is what holds the structure
together, and it needs to be solid and well - c onstructed . The frame
should sit on some kind of foundation or base frame with sturdy
reinforcement so that it can withstand the wind. Some greenhouses
are built on a full concrete foundation, but some people prefer to
plant directly into the soil under th eir greenhouse.
You will start by marking out the perimeter of the location you
have chosen and digging a foundation there. Make sure it is deep
enough to take on the weight of the entire greenhouse. Start setting
up the frame by using strings and stakes to outline the ground where
you want the supports built.

34
For a hoop house, you can reinforce the structure with rebar
pounded or dug into the ground. This should be done every 4 feet
while leaving 28 inches protruding from the ground. After setting
up the rebar, place 20 - foot sections of tubing over the rebar to create
the frame. Run another long section of tubing the length of the
greenhouse along the inside roof line. Then stretch a non - toxic
plastic film over the frame and attach it to the beams at the b ottom.
Wooden framed greenhouses also benefit from a foundation or
reinforced foundation elements such as concrete piers or metal
screw pilings. If you are building a wooden frame greenhouse, you
will want to use pressure treated wood. If the wood is untre ated, it
will degrade after a few years. Learn more about treated wood by
asking the attendant at your lumber store.
While framing, you should also decide where you want the
greenhouse door. It can be either on the sides or at the front. Having
a door on both ends is also an option since it assists with ventilation
and humidity control.
Next, you will seal the openings in the roof and sides with
plastic, fiberglass , or glass depending what you have chosen for a
covering material.
Regardless of what style of greenhouse you build, you will have
to decide about the flooring. If you don’t have a concrete foundation
and/or floor, you can pour gravel evenly on the ground inside the
greenhouse, as this will allow for extra drainage. Ensure that you
place a sturd y barrier cloth under the gravel, or the weeds will just
grow up through it. If you plan to plant directly in the ground,
including in raised beds, you will want to prepare your ground

35
inside the same way as you would outside, by turning it well and
adding nutrients if needed .
After constructing the frame and covering it, you are almost
ready to start growing plants inside your greenhouse. You now have
a fully fitted structure in place. For some people and in some
climates that do not have extreme weather, you can stop right at this
stage and start growing plants. You will have to water by hand, and
you may need to place a shade cloth on your greenhouse on really
hot days. That being said, if you are starting with a tiny budget, this
will get you started.

Step Six - Temperature Control: Cooling and Heating
To optimize your greenhouse experience, and to create the ideal
conditions for plants, it is helpful to have a cooling and heating
system. These are very important to greenhouse construction. For
both co oling and heating systems, you should set up fans to create
airflow throughout the greenhouse. The fans should be able to
operate fully during winter, so the greenhouse benefits from the
circulation of warm air from the heater.
Vents can also be located at the top of the greenhouse for added
temperature support and to assist with the correct flow of air and
exchange of carbon dioxide. Adjustable vents are useful because
you can use them only when needed.
If you are planning to extend your gardening season o r even
garden all winter, heating is needed for all greenhouses. A steady

36
warm temperature is critical to the success of winter gardening.
Rapid cooling of the plants at night can cause a significant decline
in plant health, resulting even in crop failure if they are subjected to
frost. With the help of a ventilation system, heating systems can
circulate warm air around the greenhouse.
Heat sources can include a simple electric heater or a wood or
oil - based heater. Each option has its own safety considerati ons. For
electric, they include safe installation and operation, and for wood
or oil, they include proper venting outside, and safe storage.
If your greenhouse covering is made of glass, then you can
install a forced - air system, which provides the greenhou se with both
heating and cooling.
No matter what kind of heating or cooling system you use, don't
just install one thermometer to monitor the temperature. Have
several of them in case one malfunctions and gives inaccurate
readings. Also, having the thermo stats in different locations allows
you to observe the variations in temperature in different areas of the
greenhouse.
Cooling systems utilize mechanical and natural ventilation to
bring down the greenhouse temperature. They are vital because a
plant that is overheated will die. A good cooling system also makes
it more pleasant to work in the greenhouse. Most cooling systems
are like large fans that are installed on one of the end walls. Always
select an appropriately - sized cooling system that is just righ t for
your greenhouse.

37
Step Seven - Environmental Control Systems
Environmental control systems are a state - of - the - art way to
ensure the integration of cooling and heating systems with other
automated functions that optimize your greenhouse operation.
Other automated functions might include irrigation systems,
dehumidifiers, computers and lights, to mention just a few.
Co ntrolling all aspects of the grow th environment can ensure the
best results with your plants. When these systems are automated, it
takes a lot of work out of managing your greenhouse. It also ensures
that human error is removed from many of the critical op erations.
For example, if you go away for a weekend, your plants won’t die
because you weren’t there to water them. Greenhouse gardening is
all about your ability to control the planting environment for the
benefit of your plants. By being able to guarante e your growing
conditions, you are more likely to have a successful harvest.
With environmental controls, select the most energy - efficient
control system that you can. If you get the right control system, you
will find that they are straightforward to use and a reliable and
useful technology for your greenhouse. The biggest downside to
these control systems is the cost. These systems can be very costly,
and for most small - scale gardeners, they are priced out of budget.

Step Eight - Additional Plans
Addit ional plans entail other steps you might take after building
your greenhouse. Always keep this option open because there are
always ways to improve your greenhouse. If you are required to

38
follow specific permit guidelines, make sure that you adhere to all
stipulations .
There are many additional considerations. One of the most
important is your watering system. It must be reliable and easy to
use. Will you be watering manually, or will there be an irrigation
system? An irrigation system greatly reduces the work involved in
maintaining your plants, but some can be expensive and tricky to
set up and maintain. Some are very simple and affordable, so shop
around to see what options might work for you. If you plan to water
by hand, make sure that you have a hose that is long enough, and
that it has a good wand end that you can shut on and off while using.
If you are constructing raised beds inside the greenhouse, you
will have to get them built and filled with soil. You can also grow
in pots on slatted tables that allow water to drain through but plants
in pots require more precise watering. Some people get excellent
results by rototilling the ground under the greenhouse, adding soil
amendments and then planting directly into the ground.
You should also plan to pro perly finish the exterior of the
greenhouse structure. Check for openings that could become
passageways for pests and make sure all fasteners that hold the
covering together and on the structure are firmly in place.
Since you will be putting in a lot of effort into this project, it is
important that you ascertain the quality of the materials you are
considering at all stages of the greenhouse build. Cutting corners on
quality will compromise your greenhouse in the fut ure. If you know
someone who has already constructed a greenhouse, you can reach

39
out to them about their experience, ask them, what has worked for
them, and where they bought their building materials.
Constructing a greenhouse can be a very challenging pr ocess
for a beginner but it doesn’t have to be if you have done your
research. Now that you understand some of the fundamental
concepts and steps involved, you will be better informed about your
options, and you can plan and budget accordingly.
In the nex t chapter, let's talk about the difference between a
greenhouse and a polytunnel house.

40
Chapter Four:
Difference Between a Greenhouse and
a Polytunnel House

One of the primary reasons for the inclusion of this chapter is
because many people fail to rec ognize the difference between a
greenhouse and polytunnel. Buyers need to know the difference
between a greenhouse and a polytunnel house in order to make a
truly informed decision about what kind of structure to get.
Both structures provide a covering for plants that protects them
from harsh weather conditions and pests. Both are ideal for
extending the growing season. However, there are clear - cut
differences between these types of structures, and we will discuss
these differences in this chapter.
Before we outline the main differences between them, let's talk
about their similarities.

Similarities Between a Greenhouse and a Polytunnel House
Both types of structures are used to extend the growing season.
Both options give growers an early start in spring and a longer
autumn, such that plants have a longer growing season. This enables
you to grow a wide variety of crops.

41
Both options shield crops from the outside elements such as
rain and snow, which gives you control over the moisture levels in
the greenho use. This lessens the chances of destructive diseases and
pests. For example, Phytophthora root rot is a common disease that
affects plants when excessive rainfall occurs. Both polytunnel and
greenhouses protect plants from diseases related to excessive wa ter.
They also provide significant protection against animal and insect
pests that you may want to keep out of your greenhouse.

Differences Between a Greenhouse and a Polytunnel House
Site Preparation and Construction Details
With polytunnels, there are fewer requirements for site
preparation and construction. This makes them an attractive option
for beginner greenhouse gardeners. A polytunnel structure can be
constructed directly on the ground, even if it is uneven.
Furthermore, they don't take too long to set up. The biggest
challenge is connecting the polytunnel structure securely to the
ground, s o that it doesn’t blow away in a strong wind.
Greenhouses on the other hand, take a longer time to install,
and unlike with polytunnels, they must be placed o n a flat and
leveled surface that is permanently connected to the structural
foundation.
Furthermore, with polytunnels, the ground preparation process
doesn't take a lot of time, unlike with a greenhouse, where more
precision is needed to prepare the ground for the greenhouse
foundation, which is often concrete or gravel.

42
Purchase Price
Alth ough there are expensive, large polytunnels, these
structures are generally cheaper than greenhouses. This is because
greenhouses are more highly structured than polytunnels, and often
have integrated components like plumbing and electricity.
Polytunnels o ffer lower costs per square foot than greenhouses, yet
they still offer high yields.
If you have more money to spend, the cost of a greenhouse with
integrated components can be worth it if you really want to
maximize your greenhouse experience.

Transport ability
When you buy a polytunnel, you have the advantage of
knowing that you can move it from one spot to another without a lot
of difficulty. This is especially true if you are moving it to a location
that is close to the original site. They are very li ghtweight, so with
some help, you can just pick it up and move it.
When you buy or build a greenhouse, you will not be able to
easily move it, since they are usually constructed in place in
conjunction with a foundation. To dismantle it and move it is eve n
more effort than just building a new one.

Ventilation
Ventilation is crucial because it helps to control humidity, air
exchange and temperature. Most plants can dry out or freeze if the

43
temperature changes dramatically. Similarly, an excess of humidity
can provide the perfect environment for diseases such as powdery
mildew. The ventilation process is different in each type of
structure. Polytunnels provide better control over air circulation
since they often have large doors on both ends. This provides
substantial airflow through the tunnels. Furthermore, you can close
them up when you need to.
With greenhouse ventilation, the openings on the roof, door and
side vents are crucial to ensure the air gets in. Ventilation is greatly
assisted by fans.

Lifesp an
Greenhouses can last a lifetime. They are generally sturdy
structures with strong coverings on all openings. If you use glass for
windows and some of the roofing, you may have to replace panels
periodically due to breakage, but overall, the structures don't break
down. On the other hand, the covers for polytunnels need to be
replaced periodically, and they can be damaged by falling branches,
or the structure lifted away by the wind if their anchors are not
adequate.

Design
Greenhouses have a myriad of designs available for use, and
when put together nicely, it can create a stunning display on a

44
landscape. Design is generally related to the intended end use, the
number of integrated components and budget.
Polytunnels don’t have many design elements as t he structures
are standardized. They are often called hoop houses and the design
is very practical. They come in many sizes and are covered in
plastic. They don’t always come with ventilation openings or fixed
doorways.

Heat Retention and Shading
Both ty pes of structures protect crops from bad weather and
create a suitable planting environment. The plastic sheeting used for
polytunnels has less heat retention than a constructed greenhouse.
Green polytunnel covers allow less light into the polytunnel, whic h
can reduce the overall temperature and transpiration rate of the
plants. This can be advantageous for some crops.
Greenhouses in general provide maximum heat retention while
still ensuring adequate light transmission through the glass to the
plants. This is because the walls are made of stronger material.

Planting Crops
In greenhouses, plants are generally grown in pots on benches
that are raised to waist level, whereas polytunnels are usually used
to produce crops directly in the soil or in raised beds . That being

45
said, you can plant in any style using a greenhouse, depending on
the type of flooring or foundation you use.
This chapter taught you about yet another option you have for
greenhouse gardening. Now you know the differences between a
greenhouse and a polytunnel house. This book does not advocate
for one particular type of growing structure over another. It is up to
you to consider all the information and options and decide what
works best for you in your situation at this time.
If you have the money and are planning to stay in the same
location for an extended period of time, a greenhouse can offer a
longer lasting gardening experience than a polytunnel. A polytunnel
has its overall advantages for a beginner gardener. You can get a
season or two of growing experience, and then decide if you want
to invest in a more permanent structure.

46
Chapter Five:
How to Maximize Airflow and Cooling
Systems

Do you recall how growing up, you learned all about planting
a seed? You discovered the requirements to make the seed grow,
including sun and water. You may have even learned about the
importance of temperature for a growing plant. The temperature of
the g rowing space is critical, and if it is too hot or too cold, you can
kill your plants.
One of the greatest advantages of greenhouses is that you can
regulate the temperature inside them if you know how.
If you are successful at regulating the temperature, your plants
will not be vulnerable to extreme weather conditions that will kill
them. However, when regulating the temperature, you must
consider both the amount of heat needed when it's cold, as well as
how to cool off the greenhouse when it's too hot.
A t the height of summer, a greenhouse can be excessively
stuffy and steamy if it lacks proper cooling systems. The most
worrisome aspect of this is the damaging impact of heat on the
plants. For example, if you have tomatoes in your greenhouse, and
the temp erature gets too hot, you will cause heat stress, and this will
impact the health of the plant and damage the growing tomatoes.

47
The ideal is a steady, moderate temperature. This can be done by
regulating the cooling and ventilation systems in the greenhous e.
To function most effectively as an ideal growing environment,
greenhouses also need the right combination of shade, humidity,
and ventilation. This chapter focuses on the importance of
maximizing the opportunities for controlling your greenhouse
environ ment using cooling systems. After you learn about cooling
systems, the chapter that follows will focus on heat.

Consider the Size of the Greenhouse
Before making a final decision about your cooling system, you
must first consider the size of your greenho use, since this affects the
kind of cooling system you need. For example, getting a high
horsepower mechanical cooling system for a tiny greenhouse might
be overwhelming for the available space. Always ascertain the right
fit for any greenhouse components based on the size of your
gardening space, and the specific needs it has.

Ventilating Greenhouses
Another great way of cooling your greenhouse is through
ventilation. Ventilation provides a good flow of air through vents at
the rooftop or the sides. This air movement reduces heat and
humidity in the growing space. There are different ways to achieve
good ventilation, and we will discuss some of them below.

48
To successfully ventilate your space, the size of the floor area,
roof, and all sides must be consid ered so air can flow evenly. You
must get a sufficient volume of air moving through the space, not
just within the space. For example, one roof vent may only assist in
cooling a small area. You can get additional ventilation using side
vents, and by openin g the entrance.
Unless you are expecting frost or a very cool night, such as you
get at the beginning and end of the growing season, keep the vents
open all the time, including on warm nights. To prevent wildlife and
pests, install a screen or net over the door. Some greenhouses come
with automatic vent openers already installed.

Shading
Shading is another crucial technique for fighting off heat in the
greenhouse, and if you use it wisely, you will achieve the perfect
environment in your grow space. Your plants will grow to their full
potential when the greenhouse temperature and the intensity of the
sun are moderated by shading. Shading paints is a cost - effective
way of filtering excessive sunlight and preventing sunburn on your
plants.
You can also add l ayers of paint to the exterior of your building
as summer progresses and gets hotter. Shade paint is suitable for
most greenhouses. You can also shade your greenhouse using blinds
that can be installed either on the interior or exterior of the structure.
E xternal blinds filter sunlight even before it passes through the glass

49
and the heat gets trapped inside the greenhouse. The most affordable
blinds are sometimes made from mesh or netting.
When the weather is cooler and the sun is not as intense, you
can re move the shading material. However, you must be mindful
when you take off the blinds because the weather can suddenly
change.

Damping
During extreme hot weather conditions, you can keep the plants
fresher through the damping technique. Damping is when y ou wet
the greenhouse surfaces such as pathways, hard surfaces, and walls.
This raises the humidity inside the greenhouse because as water
evaporates, the moisture levels increase in the air, and this helps the
plants cope with the heat. One of the other b enefits of increasing the
humidity in the greenhouse is that many pests cannot thrive in such
an environment. On the other hand, high humidity will increase the
occurrence of diseases such as powdery mildew.
You may wonder, "How often can I damp my greenho use?"
You can do it daily when the weather is scorching, but it is best done
first thing in the morning. This creates an optimal level of humidity
throughout the day.

50
How to Avoid Water Stress in Plants
Plants with steady amounts of water grow better than plants that
receive water inconsistently. Thus, being dedicated to your watering
routine is crucial to the success of your garden.
When plants are very hot, they transpire. Transpiration is an
efficient way that plants keep themselves fresh; th rough the loss of
moisture in the leaf pore (the stomata). This heat loss cools the leaf
down on the surface just like when we sweat: imagine if you
couldn't sweat?
When moisture is lost, it must be replenished by watering. If
the leaf transpires and then has no source of water, when it overheats
it cannot sweat and it will start to wilt. To avoid stress in your plants,
you need to pay close attention to them to observe signs of heat and
water stress. If the plants wilt, become scorched or dry out, it mean s
there is a water problem.
When you become diligent and intentional about keeping your
plants properly moist in a greenhouse, you will prevent stress that
could result in decreased plant health.

Evaporative Cooling
Evaporative cooling has to do with the evaporation of water
from the greenhouse. This is typically done either through
recirculating evaporative pad cooling machines or high - pressure fog
systems. With evaporative pads, you use mechanical fans that pull
the air through a wet pad. As the ambient air passes through the pad,
the moisture cools the air.

51
Evaporative air coolers are self - contained units with
evaporative pads and a blower. These units are mostly used in
smaller greenhouses and mounted outside the structure. They blow
moist air into th e greenhouse through an opening on the sidewall.
Another option for evaporative cooling is high - pressure
fogging, which is useful for both natural and mechanically
ventilated greenhouses.
High - pressure fog is an effective way of cooling and
controlling the greenhouse environment as it uses less water than
the pad and blower system. This system doesn't only cool the air, it
also controls any vapor pressure deficit in the greenhouse.

Mechanical Ventilation
Mechanical ventilation is one of the most sought - a fter kinds of
ventilation for greenhouses because it is easily controlled. With this
option, you can get the benefits of natural ventilation and still
control the airflow through mechanical means if necessary.
Mechanical ventilation improves airflow by ext racting warm
air out of the greenhouse and allowing cold air in. To use
mechanical ventilation, you need first to consider the size of the
greenhouse, as this will dictate how many fans you will need to cool
the volume of air inside.
Fans are selected base d on the cubic feet per minute they will
move air, the fans' static pressure, horsepower rating, and size. After
setting up the fans, you can control its cooling rates using a
thermostat or an environmental controls system. This degree of

52
control and invol vement is essential with mechanical ventilation
because you don’t want to just leave the fan on without checking
that the greenhouse temperature is correct.

Natural Ventilation
This type of ventilation allows for natural air flow and
exchange within and outside the greenhouse space. For this kind of
cooling system, the greenhouse is designed in such a way that it has
multiple vents, making it easier for air to enter and exit the
greenhouse.
Properly placed vents maximize the natural airflow through the
st ructure, thus allowing excess heat to exit, enhancing the moisture
level, and optimizing the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
One of the reasons growers struggle with natural ventilation is
if they didn't consider it before building their greenhouses . Once a
structure is built, it is harder to add ventilation. When designing
your greenhouse, consider your cooling and ventilation needs.
Natural ventilation is a great supplement to other cooling
systems you may be considering. Natural ventilation is als o a great
backup if any of your mechanical cooling systems suddenly fail.

Cooling Maintenance
Lastly, you've got to ensure that your cooling equipment is
properly managed and maintained for long - term use. Regardless of

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the cost of cooling equipment, you should take good care of
everything to ensure optimal operation and prevent malfunctions.
You cannot afford a broken ventilator or cooling system when the
weather is scorching. Plants are so vulnerable in the heat that only
one day of overheating can cause a full crop failure.
All cooling equipment should be cleaned regularly, monitored,
and protected from sudden electrical surges. Keep the units free
from algae and keep areas where cooling systems are installed free
from weeds.
For evaporative cooling, ple ase make sure the doors to your
structure are closed when the fan is operational, so the air properly
circulates. If you leave the door open, the fan will be overworked
without yielding the right results. Randomly check the cooling
systems for changes in p erformance levels and fix any issues
immediately.
Cooling down your greenhouse is a compulsory aspect of
effective greenhouse management because regulating the
temperatures and protecting your plants from heat and water stress
is crucial for a successful growing experience.
There are many options to choose from when considering the
purchase and installation of a greenhouse cooling system. When you
are ready to buy your cooling equipment consider your specific
needs and budget.
There is another aspect to the greenhouse temperature narrative
that is just as important as cooling, and that’s heat! Yes, just as we
need to cool the greenhouse during summer, we also have to ensure

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that the greenhouse is warm enough during cold seasons, including
winter if you will be gardening year - round . We will talk about
heating systems in the next chapter.

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Chapter Six:
Heating Systems

Now that you understand the importance of a cooling system,
let's talk about heating systems, which can also be an essential part
of the greenhouse operation. Just as we try to cool the greenhouse
when it is hot, we should also ensure that it is warm enough at the
beginning and end of the growing seasons, and in winter if needed.
Growers must be intentional about maintaining the rig ht
temperature in their greenhouses so the plants can grow bountifully.
However, heating a greenhouse in the winter can be challenging,
hence the use of mechanical heating systems that enable a balanced
temperature to be maintained.
In times past, most gro wers didn't concern themselves with heat
system efficiency or emissions. They only ensured the heat was
available without considering its impact on the environment. As
interest in climate change increases, growers have started to pay
attention to the poten tial impact of their heating methods. Many
greenhouses use fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, or fuel oil for
heat. More environmentally friendly options are powered by
electricity.
Heating systems have to be affordable, safe for long - term use,
and e fficient. All heat sources should be close enough to the plants
to support their growing needs while maintaining enough distance
to be safe.

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Let’s consider two major categories of heating systems:
● Central heating
● Heating system replacements
Both categories of products can effectively heat greenhouses,
and there are various products within each category. Always
consider your needs and budget and then pick what will work best
for you.

The First Category: The Central Heating System
With a central heating sys tem, the heat is transferred from a hot
water pipe to an object. This is often referred to as "radiant heat."
This type of heating system utilizes boilers to heat water or to
produce steam, and the boilers can burn fuel like natural gas, coal
or fuel oil.
These hot water systems are very efficient for greenhouses, and
one of the beneficial by - products of the boiler is CO2. This gas
remains in the greenhouse to help the plants achieve photosynthesis.
This technique is not usually practical for a small - scale greenhouse
because it requires the installation of expensive hardware.
In this system, the warm water or steam has to be transported
through pipes around the greenhouse. This process's efficiency is
higher than forced air, which we will discuss soon. The p ipes used
for this technique can be placed around the greenhouse if it is a
stand - alone structure.

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The floor of the greenhouse can also be heated with hot water
pipes that are placed on the ground under a layer of concrete, sand,
soil, or gravel. The heat ing pipes loop around throughout the entire
greenhouse floor surface.

Infrared Radiant Heater
With the infrared radiant heater, heat moves from its source to
an object in the greenhouse. The heat is transferred from the pipe to
the plants. With this tec hnique, air doesn't move the heat, and air
temperature will not actually increase, yet the plant will be warm.
This technique requires an infrared pipe or two pipes that run
through the length of the greenhouse. The method also consists of a
single burner, or several burners depending on the size of the
greenhouse and the pipe. With this method, finned pipes are better
than bare pipes because they work best with a larger surface area,
thus radiating heat evenly.
The infrared heating system delivers more hea t when placed in
such a way that it faces the plants and it can cover the entire scope
of the greenhouse. The fuel source for this method can either be
natural gas or propane, and these low - intensity infrared heaters are
safer to use in greenhouses than hi gh - intensity alternatives.

Forced Air Heaters
The forced air heater can be either vented or unvented. With a
vented forced air heater, the heat from the combustion is transferred
to the air through a heat exchanger. The exhaust gases from the

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combustion must be delivered outside the greenhouse using a flue
pipe. Then the oxygen for the combustion is obtained from the
environment outside the greenhouse.
For the second option, the unvented forced air heater, the
oxygen is obtained from the inside of the structure. The shortcoming
of this system is that the gases from combustion remains inside the
greenhouse, as all the heat produced by the heater is maximized to
heat the air.
The fuel sources used for forced air heaters are either gas,
kerosene, o r fuel oil, and the by - products of the combustion include:
carbon dioxide, vapor, carbon monoxide, and ethylene. Plants can
maximize the use of carbon dioxide to an extent, but the other gases
will need to be vented. These heaters can be mounted overhead i n
the greenhouse or placed on the floor, thus enabling heating from
either the top or the bottom.
Forced - air heating units can be placed in different parts of the
greenhouse and all units used at the same time. This heating system
also requires the use of fans to move the air from the heater to the
other side of the greenhouse. A great way of achieving this airflow
is by using polyethylene tubes.
The polyethylene tube will be parallel to the length of the
greenhouse and its plant rows. The tubes come with v entilation
holes so that it distributes heat evenly to the plants. This method of
heat distribution is one of the best as it does not only release heat
inside the greenhouse; it also ensures that the plants get warmth
directly.

59
Most small greenhouse owners can attest to the viability of this
method because smaller greenhouses are more heavily impacted by
extreme cold. With one heater and an overhead polyethylene pipe,
you can heat a greenhouse.
Moreover, smaller diameter polyethylene tubes can be on the
sid e of the benches, under the plant rows and between them. If you
want to move air through the whole greenhouse, you might install a
horizontal air flow fan. These fans enable proper air circulation such
that there is no stagnant air or high humidity air poc kets. This
protects the plants from the development of certain diseases caused
by excessive heat and stagnant air in the greenhouse.
This heater can be set to automatically turn on and off based on
the temperature on the thermostat. Compared to a central h eating
system, it takes less time to heat the air, which means it gradually
provides warmth to the greenhouse as opposed to instant hot air
which could overwhelm the plant.
A most striking feature about the forced air heaters is their
versatility. These he aters are so versatile that they can be used with
any greenhouse regardless of the size. The option to use multiple
units in larger greenhouses also makes it one of the most sought -
after types of heating system.

The Second Category: The Heating System Rep lacement
The heating system replacement refers to the replacement of a
furnace or boiler when they are no longer safe (when it gets to less

60
than 70% efficiency). The heating system should also be replaced
when emissions rise above 10% of the recommended E PA standard.
Professional installers should monitor the design and
installation of a new heating replacement system to ensure proper
and safe operation.

Condensing Boilers and Heaters
Water vapor is a result of the combustion of gas or oil, and this
water vapor, with other products, goes up and is exhausted into the
atmosphere. With the condensing boiler, extra heat is incorporated
in the gas exhaust system, and this makes the water vapor condense
back to liquid.
The condensing boilers are most effective w hen the return
water is cool. Under the right conditions, condensing boilers can
guarantee 95% efficiency for your greenhouse. However, you
should know that condensing boilers and heaters are more
expensive than regular boilers. They are a good option beca use they
reliably offer great results.

Combustion Technology
This technique requires using a conventional burner where fuel
is continuously injected under pressure. The method uses a specific
fuel - air ratio, and it requires an ignition spark to start the burning
process. The advantage of combustion technology is that you get a

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higher efficiency heating system because of the uniformity of the
airflow process.

Heat Storage Buffer Tank
The heat storage er tank is an old heating system that has
been used since the 1970s as part of a solar system. This method is
being used in greenhouses and other spaces where industrial plants
are grown. This heating method can be maximized with a big
insulated water tank that enables the hot water from the boil er to
circulate through a heat exchanger to heat the water in the tank.
At night, when the heat is required, the hot water from the tank
circulates through the heat pipes into the greenhouse. This technique
allows for the installation of a smaller broiler that can be used during
the day and at night. Wood fired boilers also work well with er
tanks as they absorb the heat from the combustion process and are
easy to control just like with fossil fuels.

Controls
Lastly, solid - state controls contribute to greenhouse heating
systems. These are accurate heating controls with impactful
functions, and water temperature modulation can be added to the
boiler system. This system allows for the circulation of lower
temperature water through radiation because the g reenhouse heat
needs to decrease in the daytime as well.

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The control system also reduces overheating by saving energy
and adjusting the water temperature based on outdoor temperature
and weather conditions. This process also helps the grower save fuel
in hot weather.
Additionally, you can heat your greenhouse by using wasted
hot water from power plants if the plants are close - by. You can also
use geothermal heat which entails hot water being pumped from the
ground to the surface to heat the greenhouse. Rem ember that the
aim of setting up the heating system is to ensure that you strike a
balance in the temperature of your greenhouse.
As such, your monitoring and close observation of the system
is crucial to ascertain if the heating method you chose is workin g
well for you.

Can a Greenhouse Become Too Hot for Safety?
You already know how important it is to regulate the
temperature in your greenhouse, but can the greenhouse actually
become too hot to be safe? The answer is YES! If direct sunlight
enters the g reenhouse from the south or west excessively, you will
most likely be overheating your plants because the intensity of the
sun’s rays will be too much for them. As such, it is possible for
bright sunshine to overheat the greenhouse even during the winter.
This is why bigger commercial greenhouses utilize digital controls
to open and close vents as the temperature fluctuates. Moreover, in
addition to digital controls, you also have to check the health of your
plants. This is why greenhouses, both large and s mall, should have

63
vents that allow the hot air to escape at the top so cold air can come
in from the openings below or on the sides.
In addition to being too hot for plants, an overheated
greenhouse can be unsafe for you to work in. Prolonged exposure
to e xcessive heat can cause physical distress, including dehydration
and sunstroke .
Now that you fully understand the role of heating systems and
some of the options you can choose from, let’s learn more about
water and irrigation. We talked about the role of water briefly in
Chapter Five, but now we will discuss it in detail because the
availability of consistent water is one of the keys to growing healthy
and plentiful yields.

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Chapter Seven:
Process of Greenhouse Irrigation

A greenhouse irrigation syste m is a process that ensures the
conservation of water while delivering reliable and consistent
amounts of water to your plants, usually on a specific schedule. The
system allows water to either gradually drip to the roots of the plants
through an installed pipeline or hose, or it waters using the
sprinkling technique.
You already understand that water is crucial for the survival of
plants in greenhouses, but this doesn't mean you should just pour
water randomly on the plants. It also doesn't mean you shoul d water
the plants only when you feel like it, or only when you remember
to. To ensure the plants don’t die from your neglect or
inattentiveness, an irrigation system can be installed.
If you recall, you learned that excessive heat and cold air can
affect the plants negatively. Similarly, excessive water can harm the
plants too. One of the key concepts with greenhouse gardening is
balance: everything must be balanced in the right proportion, and
this includes water.
An irrigation system dispenses water to t he plants using a
network of pipes, tubes, valves, and emitters. Greenhouse irrigation
that uses pipes or hoses that drip at the soil level is a more controlled
and efficient system than the sprinkler style system. Greenhouse
irrigation has gained a lot of popularity because it is a proven system

65
that guarantees the correct dispensation of water, which contributes
to quality yields.
Despite its level of effectiveness and how simplistic it sounds,
there is much to learn about how greenhouse irrigation works, the
available types for your greenhouse, and how to get the best out of
the experience. In the sections that follow, you will learn all these
things. Let's begin with the benefits of a greenhouse irrigation
system.

The Benefits of a Greenhouse Irrigation System

It Enables the Conservation of Water
Unlike other watering systems, greenhouse irrigation ensures
the conservation of water through reduced evaporation and deep
drainage. Overall, these systems use a lower volume of water
compared to overhead wa tering with a water wand and hose, flood
or overhead irrigation because sufficient water is efficiently applied
only at the base of the plants.
Greenhouse irrigation also protects plants from diseases that
spread through water contact with foliage. Drip i rrigation systems
guarantee even distribution of water, even to those parts of the
greenhouse where it is hard to water manually. Since these systems
use so much less water, they are very effective in areas where water
is in short supply.

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It Provides an Ef ficient Filtration System
Most of the greenhouse irrigation systems you will find have
filters that prevent clogging of the emitters by little particles on the
flow trail. With newer and more expensive irrigation systems, you
may get additional filters, t hus providing an extra layer of protection
from clogging, which can be a troublesome maintenance aspect of
these systems.

Greenhouse Irrigation is Cost - effective
Irrigation systems are an essential part of the greenhouse
gardening success plan. Regardless of your budget, you cannot do
without them as they increase the chance of success so dramatically.
Although a greenhouse irrigation system may seem costly, when
you compare the value and convenience it offers, you will realize
that it provides l ong - term value.

How to Choose the Right Greenhouse Irrigation System
There are several vital factors to consider when choosing an
irrigation system. These are the reputation of the firms that provide
the service, and the specific needs of you and your gr eenhouse.

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Size of Your Greenhouse
Yes, we keep coming back to the size of your greenhouse! That
is because it is the most crucial thing that determines what else you
can do. You wouldn't need a high - capacity irrigation system for a
small greenhouse, woul d you? If you are unsure what will work,
speak with some experts who will explain the different systems and
give you a quote.

Location of the Greenhouse
Your greenhouse should be located in close proximity to a
water source, since this will facilitate t he delivery of water to the
irrigation system. If the irrigation system is also automated, then it
is likely running on electricity and will also need to be close to a
source of power.

Maintenance Requirements
Always consider the maintenance requirements of the irrigation
system. Some irrigation systems require intense and consistent
maintenance that is time - consuming. If you are already giving a lot
of your time and attention to your greenhouse, then using such high -
maintenance irrigation systems might n ot be a problem.
On the other hand, if you are very busy, this might be
challenging, especially if you don't have additional help, or don’t
know much about maintaining equipment. As such, you can either

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go with a sophisticated system and get help with it o r go with a
simple system that has less intense maintenance procedures.

Work with an Experienced and Reputable Company
Due to the importance of irrigation in the gardening, farming
and greenhouse industries, many companies offer installation and
maintenan ce services. If you are installing a large and complex
irrigation system, make sure to work with a reputable, certified
company. Greenhouse irrigation system providers have a license
and insurance. Don't hesitate to ask for a company's documentation
before using their services.
Before using their services, consider the experience and
reputation of the manufacturing, installation, and maintenance firm.
You can ascertain their experience and reputation by reading
through customer reviews and ratings. If you know other
greenhouse gardeners who have an irrigation system, find out which
company they used and their thoughts on the firm.
If you have a small greenhouse or polytunnel hoop house, and
have some technical skills, you can purchase simple irrigation
sy stems online and install and maintain them yourself.

Check for Warranty
A good company that offers a quality irrigation system will
always have a reasonable warranty policy for their products and

69
services. A warranty is a sign of a quality company, since you can
go back to them to resolve any issues that develop with the irrigation
system.

Types of Greenhouse Irrigation Systems

Drip Tubing Irrigation
The drip irrigation system for a greenhouse is similar to outdoor
irrigation systems. They entail a drip tube which is used to supply
water to each of the plant's roots. Multiple tubes can be attached to
a central water supply system and extended outwardly, so every line
provides water to a pot, plant or garden area.
After positioning the tubes, an emitter will provide small water
sprays on the topsoil. The system can be controlled either manually
by turning the water on and off, or it can turn on and off
automatically using moisture sensors and timers.
Automatic control systems provide timed drips, thus preventing
the excessive watering of plants. The system also protects the plants
from bacterial infections because the leaves don’t get wet.
With this irrigation system, you can ensure each plant gets
water, and you can control the volume of water app lied to every
plant group.
A drip irrigation system can also be controlled using a
tensiometer that can be placed amongst plants to detect moisture.

70
With a computer program in place, it can turn off the system and
turn it on when it reaches the preset mois ture levels.
Most growers who grow vegetable crops in beds, pots, and bags
use this irrigation method since the customized placement enables
efficient watering of plants. The effectiveness of this method is
portrayed through a comparison with a standard sp rinkler system.
A standard sprinkler system offers 75 - 85% effectiveness when
used in greenhouses, while the drip irrigation system provides 90%
effectiveness. A more effective system increases the quality and
quantity of crops as well as providing extra pr otection from
inconsistent watering.

Perimeter Irrigation
The perimeter irrigation system is a mix of drip tubing and
overhead misting. This system typically serves plants on benches.
Pipes are attached to the bench edges, and nozzles are connected at
di fferent intervals across the pipe's surface.
After connecting the pipes to the primary water supply system,
the nozzle will spray the water directly into the middle part of the
bench, thus saturating the plants. Most nozzle sprays are adjustable,
which mea ns you can direct the water to about 45 - 90 degrees as
needed to water plants of various sizes.

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The Trough System
A trough system is a form of sub - irrigation that utilizes plastic
or metal troughs placed on greenhouse benches or supported
overhead units. A fter the troughs are installed, the pots are spaced
from one end to another. Then nutrients and water are supplied to
the plants through spaghetti - like tubes through gravity feeding.
The liquid is pumped to the high end so it can flow through the
base of t he pots and then it is collected at the end. The solution
returns to the storage tank under the benches or below the ground
where it is recycled.
This trough system is efficient because of the fantastic air
circulation that happens between the troughs. A t rough irrigation
system is also less expensive than some other systems, and it can be
installed easily regardless of the greenhouse design.

Overhead Misting
An overhead misting irrigation system works effectively in
greenhouses that are growing all the s ame plant species, since the
watering will be at a standard height above the plants. With this
irrigation style, sprinkler heads that emit a fine misty spray are
connected to overhead pipes.
Bigger greenhouses are most suitable for this system because
the sprinklers can effectively cover a massive area of the greenhouse
at the same time. If you must use this method in a smaller
greenhouse, use sprinklers that you can easily control.

72
The disadvantage of this system is the propensity for the
overuse of water. You can minimize water wastage by having an
automated sprinkler and setting it carefully based on the needs of
the plan t s. Another disadvantage to overhead misting is that some
plants do not like to have wet leaves in the hot sun. This is especially
true of tomatoes.

Mat Irrigation
Mat irrigation systems offer a consistent water supply to thirsty
plants. These systems use a specialized mat that has water supplied
to it. You place your plant pots on the mat and the moisture moves
from the mat into the soil through the drainage holes in the pot.
This system is similar to a self - watering pot as the soil
continuously takes water from the mat until all parts of the plant are
evenly moist. As the soil loses water through evaporation the
moisture moves from the m at into the plant pot.
With this system, you don't have to worry about the plant
getting over or under watered. This system is also cost - effective as
you only need the specialized greenhouse mat and access to water.

Water Trays and Saucers
With the water trays and saucers system, water is applied on the
surface and collected from trays or saucers placed under the plants.
The plates and saucers can vary in size based on the size of the

73
benches or pots. This system reduces runoff by holding on to the
water draining from pots and making it available for reuse.
The water trays and saucers method is inexpensive and can be
reused. The water it collects can either evaporate or be absorbed by
the plants or be recirculated. However, to succeed with this system,
you must avoid tight plant spacing which will create poor
ventilation and lead to the spread of diseases.

Sub - Irrigation
The sub - irrigation system is also known as the zero - runoff
method, and it is an environmentally friendly option that conserves
water. This irrigation system is usually installed by growers who are
keen on improving their plant quality, production efficiency, and
uniformity of growth.
With sub - irrigation systems, water and nutrient solutions are
given to the plants at the base of the pots. The plant absorbs the
water that is fed from below. It can be used for both plants grown in
pots and in soil beds.
Some advantages of sub - irrigation include the containment and
recycling of water and nutrients. Benefits also include a 50%
decrease in water and fertilizer usage. Your plants will be uniformly
watered, and regardless of pot size, the irrigation process can be
easily changed. With this sub - irrigation system, the foliage will
remain dry, while plant growth is assu red, and labor input is
reduced.

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Even when your greenhouse has the best climate control system
in place and you are using productive growing methods, if your
watering system is not efficient, you won't get good yields. To enjoy
beautiful plants, get consis tent crop yields and a rewarding
greenhouse experience, you must install an adequate irrigation
system.
Some growers try to cut corners and costs by sticking to only
the bare necessities of watering , which entails using a watering can
or a hose. While the traditional watering can or hose will work, you
might want to reconsider using them because greenhouse irrigation
helps you save time and is safer for your plants since it will
guarantee consistent watering. Furthermore, with greenhouse
irrigation you can conserve a lot of water.
Now that you know everything about setting up your
greenhouse, including construction , temperature control and
irrigation, you can get to the fun part; GROWING PLANTS! The
next chapter highlights greenhouse growing methods and how you
can maximize them for increased yields.

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Chapter Eight:
Greenhouse Growing Methods

In addition to everything you've learned thus far, you now need
to learn about the plant growing process. If you put a lot of effort
into setting up your greenhouse or polytunnel without paying
attention to the best ways to grow plants, your overall success will
be low.
While you already know the main factors to consider with
greenhouse gardening are light, ventilation, temperature and water,
there are many fundamenta l greenhouse growing techniques that
you should learn.
You will learn about what you need to get started, the factors
that contribute to healthy growth and various growing methods.
Although there are many types of growing methods for
greenhouses, you are n ot expected to use every one of them in your
greenhouse. Consider what might work best for the kind of plants
in your greenhouse and try it. If it doesn’t work well for you, next
time you can try a different method.
By now, you probably have an idea of what kind of plants you
will grow, and you may have researched what their growing habits
are. This will help you to decide what may be best for you as you
learn more about things like soil, fertilizers and different sty les of
gardening.

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Soil
Many people start with healthy, sterilized soil that comes in
bags. Unsterilized soils usually contain weeds and a. If you
must, bake the earth in the oven for an hour at 250 degrees F to be
sure it is sterile. After baking it, a dd a tablespoon of fertilizer to
every gallon of soil and mix it well.
Alternatively, and especially if you are growing organically,
you can make your own soil mixtures. If you are gardening a large
area and planting directly into the ground, you may want to acquire
and add additional screened topsoil or compost to your existing soil.

Seeds or Starters
You can get seeds from your previous plants or buy them from
a plant nursery or other store. Starter plants can also be purchased
at a plant nursery. Seed s are much cheaper than starter plants, but
they take a lot of dedication and patience to grow. Starter plants,
while more expensive, give you a guarantee of a good head start on
your growing season.

Containers
The containers you use should also be steri lized. To sterilize
the container, you can use one part of bleach in ten parts of water,
or half water and vinegar, or hot water and good soap. Rinse
thoroughly with warm water and allow the container to get dry
before using it. You will need pots that are large enough for the plant

77
when it is at its largest. If you start in a small pot, plan to transplant
to a larger pot later. Note that you can damage your plant while
transplanting, so it is best to only do it once. For example, when you
get your starter plants, you will transplant them into a large pot or
directly into the ground for the rest of their growing cycle.

Fertilizers
Whether you choose to grow organically or not, plants need
fertilizer. They need just the right amount, and you have to be
care ful not to over or underfeed your plants. Underfeeding results
in malnourished plants, but overfeeding can burn the plant, cause
damage to its roots and change the soil pH.
If you bought the soil in bags, you may find that it already has
fertilizers in them. Check the label carefully. Depending how much
fertilizer is in them, you may still need to add fertilizer later in the
season. If the soil doesn’t contain fertilizers, you will be able to
purchase one that suits your needs. Use fertili zers according to
directions to ensure optimal growth.

What are the Factors that Affect Plant Growth in Greenhouses?

Humidity
Although rainforests with high humidity are excellent for some
plants, it can hinder plant growth for others. The humidity level s

78
should be no more than 70 - 80%, especially during high - growth
periods. Too much moisture can make plants weak and encourage
fungal diseases. You can always reduce humidity levels through
venting or exhausting the humid air. To increase it, you can spray
w ater on the inside of the structure or on the plants. Moisture levels
can also be increased by placing water containers in the greenhouse
which will evaporate to maintain humidity levels.

Watering
Except for scorching summer months, plants are watered dai ly.
When very hot, check plants regularly and water as needed. Using
well water is best since it is untreated. If you are using city water,
always check for chlorine in the water as too much chlorine can
affect plant health. If you need to, you can get ant i - chlorine drops
from a local pet, pool or hot tub store.
For further information, please refer to Chapter Seven about
irrigation, as it provides a detailed guide on how to use water
properly to boost your greenhouse yields.

Ventilation
As you now know, ventilation is one of the most crucial aspects
of growing plants successfully in a greenhouse. Please refer to
Chapters Five, Six and Seven which extensively cover how to keep
your greenhouse properly ventilated in all weather conditions.

79

Light
As we ha ve previously discussed, full sunlight in your
greenhouse is often ideal, as this will help you cut down on
additional heat sources and provide a long growing day. Depending
on the needs of your plants and the time of year, plants will need
about 6 - 12 hour s of light every day. You can also provide shade to
limit the sunshine if it is too intense and add artificial light if you
need more light at the beginning and end of the season.

Types of Greenhouse Growing Methods

The Shelf Unit
The shelf unit method is versatile and exciting to use as the
spacing between the shelves can be adjusted as the plants grow, or
to accommodate various kinds of pots. The shelf method allows you
to essentially stack the plants vertically in neat rows. It is easy to
use greenho use irrigation with shelf units. These are most effective
with shorter plants like lettuces.

The Grow Bag
If you do not have a lot of space in your greenhouse, then the
grow bag method is ideal. This method is also productive for poor

80
soil or garden cond itions since you are bringing in the soil and
growing above ground. Furthermore, it can be less expensive than
using pots. In fact, it is one of the most affordable ways to garden.
They are also less breakable than regular pots. Furthermore, you can
grow v arious types of plants in these bags, including tomatoes,
cucumbers, okra, flowers, etc. The bags vary in size so you can get
different sizes for plants that have different final sizes.

Hydroponic Ebb and Flow Method
With this hydroponic method, you can grow plants without soil
using a reservoir located below the grow tank. Liquid nutrients are
added to the water, which is pumped into the grow tank and then
recirculated back into the reservoir, then used again by the plants.
Since it is a recirculating pr ocess, this process conserves a lot of
water.

Hydroponic Deep - Water Culture
This technique is a hydroponic method where the water flows
through the grow tanks to the reservoir. Then the plants float on rafts
on top of the water with the roots hanging into the water. This
method is mostly used by experts who have a lot of experience since
balancing the nutrients can be tricky.

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Tower Garden
The tower gardening technique is a vertical form of growing
that works for a large variety of plants. Wit h the standard tower
garden, you can grow veggies such as spinach, all kinds of herbs
and microgreens. You can also have multiple planting cages around
the central tower to grow larger vegetables such as tomatoes and
eggplants.

Hydroponic Nutrient Film T echnique
The nutrient film technique is a hydroponic system that enables
growth in small shallow inclined tanks instead of a large container.
These gutter - like structures then have nutrient enhanced water
passed through. This method is great for plants lik e mustards,
spinach, broccoli, and kale.

Farm Wall
The farm wall growing system is sometimes called the gutter
system, and it is placed vertically against a wall. This method is
excellent for crops that don't grow into very big plants, such as
lettuce, sp inach, arugula, etc. Water is pumped from the bottom to
the plants in the wall mounted containers.

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Raised Beds
Using raised beds is a tried and true method to grow high yields
in both greenhouses and polytunnel hoop houses. These are large
long boxes that are filled with dirt, usually placed against the sides
of the structure. Plants are then grown directly in the deep soil. A
pathway system runs between them, often down the middle of the
structure, to facilitate access and watering. This is one of the mos t
affordable and simplest methods.

Directly in the Ground
This is the most traditional and simplest way to grow plants. If
you have good soil, and very few resources, don’t be afraid to just
till the soil and plant your plants. This is especially easy if you have
a polytunnel hoop house. Let’s discuss it further below.

Should I Use Containers or Grow My Plants in the Ground?
Growing plants in the ground has always been a traditional
planting method for greenhouse gardening. Plants are usually
planted on the two sides with a walkway in - between. Some people
cover the walkway with gravel, concrete slabs, straw or wood chips
to make walking easier and to keep the pathway clear.
While some gardeners prefer planting in the ground, others
prefer using pots of va rious types. Due to the cost and availability
of pots, and the need to acquire soil to fill them, many growers

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prefer planting in the ground. If you are growing your own food,
you may prefer to plant in the ground. If you are planning to sell
your plants, it will be easier if they are grown in pots.
Your decision to grow your plants either in the ground or in
pots is also dependent on the planting space you have and the type
of soil you have. There are pros and cons to each option, which we
will outline nex t.

The Advantages of Growing Plants in Pots

There is a Lesser Risk of Soil - Borne Diseases
With pots, your plants are not overly exposed to the diseases
and pests and pathogens that can build up in the soil and infect
plants. With pots, you can use sterilized or high - quality soil.

With Pots, You Have Different Options
When you plant in pots, y ou have a variety of options to pick
from; wood, clay, plastic, fiberglass, etc. These options also come
in different colors and styles, and you can decorate the pots to suit
your preference.
● Clay pots: Clay pots are more traditional. They are less
likely to topple over since they are heavier. They are also
porous, thus protect plants from excessive watering.

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● Plastic pots: Plastic pots are less likely to break if dropped,
but you will need to water the plants in them more often.
● Wooden pots: Wooden pots te nd to be larger and more
decorative. They are also water - resistant with a long - life
span.
● Fiberglass pots: The primary advantage with fiberglass
pots is the fact that they are very durable, lightweight and
weather resistant. They rarely splinter, crack, or fade when
exposed to harsh weather conditions.
● Peat pots: These are great to start seeds in before
transferring to the garden or a bigger pot. Peat pots are
biodegradable, so you can plant them into the soil without
affecting the roots.
● Polythene sleeve p ots: These are very cheap, and they are
easy to store after use.

The Disadvantages of Growing Plants in Pots

Regular Fertilizer Addition
Commercial potting mixtures have varying amounts of
nutrients, and some have no nutrients at all. As such, you will likely
have to spend money on fertilizers. You have to add fertilizers more
frequently when you use pots compared to when you plant directly
into the ground.

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Containers Heat Up and Cool Down Too Quickly
Fluctuations in temperature affect plants in pots fa ster than
those in the ground. If you don't pay close attention to the plants,
sudden changes in temperature can lead to damage to your plants.

There is Limited Space to Grow in Pots
While you can keep some flowers, vegetables and shrubs in
pots, most typ es of plants do best if they grow directly in the ground.
This is because the roots can expand fully, which results in bigger
plants with higher yields. If the plants get really big, they will get
root bound, which is when there is no further room for the roots to
expand.

Plants in Pots Require Frequent Watering
Containers generally cannot retain water for a longer period,
unlike planting in the ground where the water evaporates at a slower
rate. If you use mostly small clay pots, you’ll find that your pl ants
may dry out faster and you will need to water frequently.

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The Advantages of Growing Plants in the Ground

It is Less Expensive
Planting in the ground is less expensive than using pots because
you don’t have to buy soil or pots and you use less fertilizer. If you
have good soil that is loamy and nutrient rich, you can plant directly
into the ground. All you have to do is till, plant and water. You may
want to add some organic compost or other fertilizer later in the
season if you want to inc rease the nutrients available to your plants.

Makes Watering Easier
When planting in the ground, it is easier to water the plants,
since you don't have to be careful about getting the water only into
the pots. Loamy soil can hold water and nutrients for longer in open
soil than it can when it is in a pot. This means that you will use less
water and are less likely to overwater your plants. If you are
considering an irrigation system, it is easier to install on a flat
ground surface than in pots.

There is No Need to Repot
The process of repotting is often done when the plants get too
big for their existing pots. This is time - consuming, especially if you
grow numerous plants. It also increases the chance of damage to the

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plants. Many growers plant their see ds or starter plants directly in
the ground in order to avoid transplanting later after the seeds
sprout.

The Disadvantages of Growing Plants in the Ground

Disturbances from Pests and Diseases
Plants grown directly in the ground are more susceptible to
pests and diseases, and this is a significant drawback. Fungi,
bacteria, and other plant diseases spread faster on the ground than
in pots. If the soil in a pot is contaminated, out of balance or contains
a, you can remove the pot and plant that has bee n impacted so
that it doesn’t infect other plants. This is harder to do if you plant
directly into compromised soil, since it is likely to infect a large
portion, if not all of your plants.

Low Soil Temperature
Many greenhouse growers forget to test the soil temperature
before planting. Remember that temperature is crucial for
successful greenhouse gardening. If the earth is too hot or too cold,
you will have little success. If planting directly in the ground, you
have to wait until the soil is warm enoug h before planting, unlike
with pots where you can place the pot on a heated pad or cool it
down in a cooler before planting.

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Soil May Become "Crop Sick"
If you grow the same crops in the same location every year, the
soil may become what’s known as “crop s ick”. You will start to
notice the plant struggling with diseases while its yields reduce.
This is because of the accumulation or depletion of nutrients in the
soil that a particular plant uses preferentially. The solution to this
problem is crop rotation, letting the land lay fallow for a season, or
the replacement of the soil.

Now that you know more about both planting directly in the
ground and in pots, you will agree that both methods have strengths
and weaknesses. As such, you have to decide what to u se based on
the factors that apply to your situation. For example, if your
greenhouse is in an area with poor soil, you will need to work with
pots. If you have good soil and a low budget, planting directly into
the soil can be the better option.
The green house growing method you choose is one of the most
exciting decisions you will make since it will dictate your gardening
routine. Choose the method that you think will be most successful.
Regardless of what you plant in your greenhouse, you desire
exceptio nal yields, since you have made a significant investment of
time, money and energy. Your crop harvest will be the return on
your investment in the project.

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After going through this challenging process of setting up your
greenhouse and getting things growing, it is only right that you are
able to protect and secure this investment. The next chapter provides
insight into how you can protect your greenhouse from both natural
and human - made issues.

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Chapter Nine:
How to Protect Your Greenhouse and
Keep It Secure Long - Term

Since you have made such an investment of time, money and
energy, you will want to protect all you have worked so hard to
achieve. There can be different threats to a greenhouse, both natural
and cause d by humans. Natural threats are often most worrisome
because they can happen without warning, unlike issues caused by
human neglect, which are usually preventable.
For example, the weather can change suddenly from a calm day
to a strong disruptive windy d ay that shakes the entire greenhouse
to its foundation. In other cases, there may be an extreme cold or
heat event, or a pest issue.
This chapter will focus on how you can protect your
greenhouse so that you can enjoy the long - term returns of your
investm ent.

How To Protect Your Greenhouse From Heat Waves
Heat can cause a lot of damage to your greenhouse and the
plants within it. Mulch can be used to protect your plants in hot
conditions. Mulch is a plant saver that reduces heat, maintenance

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costs, helps you save water, reduces evaporation, and generally
protects the plant.
You can use mulch to protect the roots of plants from the
outside by placing it around the bottom of the plant or pot. For
mulch, you can use materials such as straw, black plastic sh eeting
or newspapers.
Another way of protecting your greenhouse from excessive
heat waves is to adhere to an early morning watering routine. This
ensures that the plants have sufficient water, especially at the root
zone, throughout the day. Heat stress i n a plant is like your skin
getting sunburned, and when this happens to plants, they can
become brittle and cannot fight off the impact of the heat. In very
high heat, check and water your plants several times a day. Carry
out light watering if the heat in creases throughout the day.
If you use plastic covering and other materials aside from glass,
they may become weaker because of harsh weather conditions. As
such, you will have to protect the coverings to ensure sufficient
protection to the plants.
You ca n use shading to protect both the covering and the plants
inside. Place extra layers of shade or other coverings over the
greenhouse when the weather is scorching hot. At night when it
cools off, you can remove the additional coverings to allow in the
cool evening air.
If you can avoid it, don't plant crops in hot weather conditions.
Some very healthy and older plants can survive the heat, but new
plants will not survive.

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Ventilation and cooling systems are the best way for your
plants to survive a heat wav e. If you have chosen to install these key
pieces of equipment, you will be happy you did when a heat wave
comes.

How to Protect Your Greenhouse from Excessive Cold
It is very important to keep your young and tender plants safe
from cold temperatures. In fact, excessive cold does a lot of damage
to greenhouse plants, and if it is not managed correctly, it can lead
to a complete wipeout of your crop.
Supplying heat during extreme cold weather protects your
plants from frost. If your greenhouse covering is made of plastic,
then you can add additional layers of plastic inside and outside the
structure. The extra layer outside keeps some of the harsh cold from
entering the greenhouse, while the extra layer inside provides
additional protection to the plants fr om any cold waves that try to
enter.
You can use protective measures like cold frames. These are
small transparent boxes that you put over the plants. You can
purchase them from stores that sell greenhouse equipment, or you
can build them with wood and win dow frames or plastic. The cold
frames help to keep the plants safe from the cold. This is especially
helpful if the cold frames are within the greenhouse. On sunny days
you can keep the lid open to prevent overheating. You can also use
cloches, which are like small hoop houses that protect your crops
from frost.

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As a preventive measure, you can apply a mulch layer at the
bottom of the plants because mulch acts as an insulator that holds
heat and moisture in the plant during cold weather. You can also
throw an old sheet, light tarp or frost plastic over tender plants
during cold nights, using sticks to keep the sheets off the plants.
Take off the tarp in the daytime so the plants can get air and light.
You can also make deep raised beds for your plants. Thes e
raised beds, when filled with dark soil, keep plants warmer than if
they are in a flatbed or pot.
Another way of protecting your greenhouse plants during
freezing periods is to place a large container filled with water inside
the greenhouse. The water w ill absorb heat from the sun during the
day, then at night, the water releases warm air throughout the night.
The best way to protect your greenhouse and plants from the
cold is to have a heating system installed. You may have thought
about one already, a nd it is a really great idea if you live in a cold
climate and want to garden year - round .

How to Protect Your Greenhouse from High Winds
Greenhouses should be protected from the wind because it can
be unpredictable and dangerous. There is no way to make your
greenhouse 100% windproof, but you can reduce the level of
exposure your greenhouse faces during windy times.
First, make sure the greenhouse is leveled, and the base is
securely fixed to the ground. This will keep the greenhouse stable

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during strong winds. Also, make sure that there are no vulnerable
areas in the greenhouse through which wind can get in.
If your greenhouse is made of glass, check for cracks on the
panes and replace the cracked glass. Do not take out glass and leave
the place op en. If a storm is coming, make sure all windows and
doors are closed tightly and consider covering them with a layer of
wood or plastic.
Try to erect your greenhouse in a location with natural
protection from strong winds. Consider using a wind barrier aro und
your greenhouse if the winds happen frequently. If you have trees
around your greenhouse, then make sure they are in good condition
to prevent the trees from falling on your greenhouse during high
winds.
When a storm is imminent, keep your greenhouse a rea free
from items that could be swept up by the wind and cause damage to
the greenhouse. This includes lawn chairs, planting tools, etc.
After an extreme windstorm , check the greenhouse for any
damage. If you find any, fix it immediately. Never try to re pair the
greenhouse while a storm is ongoing, since this can be very
dangerous.

How To Protect Your Greenhouse From Threats Caused by
Humans
A lot of damage is caused by gardeners accidentally or because
of negligence. If you are going to keep your greenh ouse and plants

95
safe, you must take extra good care of them and be intentional about
protecting your planting space.

Consistent System Maintenance
All systems should be maintained appropriately, especially
when they are consistently and regularly used. F or example, you
will use the cooling system more during summer than in the winter,
and the heating system more in the winter. Thus, you must ensure
that you consistently maintain your systems in the off season, so
when you need them, they are ready for use .

Checking the Stability of the Structure
Your greenhouse will be solid and firm in the first few months
after construction, but this may not still be true after a strong storm,
or a couple of years of use. As you plant more crops and install more
systems, the building will take on more weight and require more
maintenance and monitoring. There are also more things that can go
wrong.
Most greenhouses that collapse during heavy rain or very
windy days are already weak and have been left unchecked or
p oorly maintained. Be sure to carry out building inspections
regularly to ascertain the sturdiness of your greenhouse.

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Watching the Plants
Another way to avoid a disaster of your own making is by
carefully watching the plants for early signs of trouble. L ong before
a full - blown plant issue arises, there are usually signs of it emerging.
For example, if you monitor the plants regularly, you can spot a crop
that starts to wither slightly and make adjustments before it withers
away wholly.
Watching your plant s also helps you know if you need to
transplant them to prevent damage to the roots. Observe the coloring
of your plants. If you notice changes in the color of the leaves, then
it could be a sign of a problem with nutrients.
Protecting the safety of your g reenhouse and the plants inside
it is a normal part of the greenhouse gardening process. Being
proactive with your maintenance and by using close observation,
you can prepare for most potential future risks. Although there are
solutions for every impending danger, try to prevent issues before
they happen. If something does go wrong for you, don’t worry! You
can handle it! In the very worst - case scenario, you can replant your
garden!
Next, let's talk about the growing process itself and go over the
steps to take when you are ready to grow plants in your greenhouse.

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Chapter Ten:
Preparing for The Growing Season

The growing season is the most exciting time of year for
greenhouse growers because it is time to plant and enjoy the fruits
of our labor. With the right approach to greenhouse gardening, you
can expect exceptional yields. Since the success of your greenhouse
is about the right balance of many components, you cannot merely
get seeds and put them in the soil when you want to plant. You have
to stick t o a prescribed growing pattern that is specific to the crops
you want to grow.
For example, you will prepare differently when you plan to
plant flowers compared to when you plant vegetables. Knowing the
differences in growing methods will help you do thin gs the right
way, which increases productivity. Although the actual planting
stage is relatively straightforward, there is much to learn about
preparation before you plant.
Adequate preparation is a big part of getting it right with the
seeds, soil, tempe rature, planting tools, and everything else you will
need to grow healthy plants. Healthy plants are the goal for all
greenhouse growers because healthy plants give the best yields.
In this chapter, we are going to focus on how to prepare for the
growing season by highlighting some of the steps you can take to
get your greenhouse ready for planting.

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Step One - Declutter the Greenhouse
The first step to take in preparing your greenhouse for planting
is decluttering. Sowing and planting in a disorgan ized greenhouse
make s it harder to get things done. In some cases, it will put the
plants at risk because a cluttered space is a breeding ground for
parasites and disease.
● Take pots, seed trays, compost bags, workbenches, shelves
and everything else outsid e. Throw out or repair any broken
items.
● Dead plants and leaves should be removed since these can
be home to diseases that will infect the new plants if they
remain in the greenhouse. Most people burn the material or
compost it.
● Inspect the floor and get rid of pests such as slugs and snails.
Once everything is outside, reassess your supplies to see if you
have everything you need. Not everything needs to be kept inside
the greenhouse. If you have extra pots or extra tools, you can keep
them in separate storage to create space inside the greenhouse.
Get rid of all leftover dirt and unwanted tools from the
construction process. You want your greenhouse to be as neat as
possible so you can work effortlessly inside it.

Step Two - Clean, Clean, Clean
Now tha t you have decluttered your greenhouse space, the next
step is cleaning. This is the most important step you will take during

99
your greenhouse set up. Cleaning the greenhouse provides a sanitary
growing space for your plants and helps you mentally prepare f or
the planting season.
Start by cleaning on a day that is warm enough for the cleaning
water to dry quickly. First, clean the floors by sweeping the entire
greenhouse while paying special attention to places pests might
linger and hide. Thoroughly sweep all corners of the greenhouse,
and if it is too dusty, sprinkle some water on the floor. After
sweeping, mop the floor with soapy water and rinse.
Scrub the coverings, whether they are glass or plastic, to
remove any leftover debris or algae that may have built up on the
glass. This step is crucial because if the glass remains dirty, it will
limit the amount of sunlight the plants will get.
Disinfection is next. Disinfect everything from pots to planters,
shelves, hose nozzles, benches, and all gardening to ols. You can
clean them by using hot soapy water or an eco - friendly disinfectant.
Always ensure that you wash your tools thoroughly, rinse them, and
allow to dry. You should also disinfect the floor to keep it free from
bacteria. After washing and cleaning , remember to let everything
dry as you don’t want to use tools or the greenhouse itself when it
is wet. This may take a day or two. Open up the vents and door to
ensure good air flow.

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Step Three - Prepare the Soil for Planting
Next, you have to check the soil for planting. Depending on
how you want to grow your plants; beds, pots, in - ground, or grow
bags, you must check that the soil is ready to be used for planting.
The soil should be sterile and free of debris. Check for soil
temperature because it need s to be warm to optimize the growth of
seeds and small plants. Fill your pots or growing beds and spread
the soil evenly. Add any fertilizer, nutrients or compost and mix it
in thoroughly.

Step Four - Check the Coverings
Your greenhouse covering is the sh ield that keeps the planting
space safe. It should be kept well maintained as well. You already
cleaned the covering in Step 2, so now you will check that all
coverings are secure with no cracks in the glass or tears in the
plastic. If there is damage, fix it before planting begins. Everything
is easier to fix when the greenhouse is empty. Failure to keep the
coverings in good repair makes it easy for wind, debris and pests to
get in.

Step Five - Clean the Water Catchment System
This is a special cleaning task. The greenhouse water catchment
system should also be kept clean by removing all leaves and debris
from rain gutters installed inside or outside the greenhouse. Check
that there are no blockages in the water flow of the pipes, as this

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will impact how effectively you can water your plants. If there is
algae or grime visible, wash it off with a light bleach solution.
If you have various new water systems in place for greenhouse
watering, don’t assume that because they are new, they are working
well. Asce rtain the extent of their effectiveness by testing
everything.

Step Six - Check the Water Sources
Plants in the greenhouse always require more water than the
ones outside. As such, much emphasis is placed on the watering
system when preparing for the growing season.
Arrange for extra water storage that will be available when the
weather is really hot. Having a 40 - gallon rain barrel filled with
water is an excellent idea to ensure that if your central water system
fails, or you have a general water sho rtage, you have a backup
source of water. A rain barrel is also a great way to conserve water.
If you have an irrigation system, check the components
carefully to ensure they work. Test everything to make sure water
comes out of all the nozzles.

Step Sev en - Reassess the Vents
We have stressed the importance of ventilation repeatedly, and
even as you prepare to plant, please note that you must check that
your vents are working right from the start. Don’t wait until you

102
have finished planting your seedling s or starters before setting up or
fixing the ventilation system.
The ventilation systems and outlets should be ready so that you
can open all the vents to let fresh air into the greenhouse right from
the start. This will optimize your working environment, as well as
being best for the plants. After opening the vents, leave them that
way for a long time until the greenhouse is cold again at night.

Step Eight - Shading
You have already learned about the importance of shading, so
make sure it is ready to use when you need it. If you are starting in
the spring, you will not use the shade cloth, but during the hot
summer season, or if a heat wave comes, you need to be able to
deploy it quickly and reliably. E xcessive heat and direct sun can kill
your plants, don’t underestimate the importance of having your
shading plans in place and your supplies at the ready.
Check that your shading cloth has no rips in it, and that no
ins ects or pests have been using it for nesting. Clean it and repair
any damage. Fold it up or roll it up neatly and put it away until you
need it.

Step Nine - Check the Heating and Cooling Systems
Next, you must check if the heating and cooling system is
fu nctional. These should be installed or maintained at the beginning

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of the season. Since you are planning to grow your crops all year
long, you will need these in place before any planting commences.
Check to make sure that all sensors and thermostats are f unctioning.
Before planting, if it has been cold, heat the greenhouse to a
comfortable working temperature. This will create a perfect
environment to start planting in.

Step Ten - The Exterior of the Greenhouse
Lastly, you also have to prepare the exterio r of the greenhouse
for planting season. Most growers focus solely on the interior, and
the planting process itself, forgetting that if the exterior is not
adequately taken care of, they will have issues.
For example, if the greenhouse is very clean and or ganized
inside but the external parts are filled with pests, over time, the pests
will get inside. Similarly, if there is damage to exterior panels, pests
will come in.
Give some attention to the exterior. Is there dirt and debris
around the greenhouse? Do you need to clean the area? What about
the trees around the greenhouse, are they sturdy? Is your pathway
to the greenhouse clear and safe? Are the plants outside and around
the greenhouse pest and disease - free? Check the state of your
electrical and plumb ing connections and do any required
maintenance.

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Preparing for planting season is a lot of hard work, but if you
take care of the basics we’ve discussed, and do the right things, you
will have tremendous success. As a beginner, your first season of
prepa ration will be the most time consuming, but you will get used
to it and enjoy the process every year. Even expert greenhouse
growers had the same beginner challenges, and today they look
forward to the planting season and every part of the process.
Pests, bacteria and disease are words no greenhouse grower
wants to hear, but unfortunately, it is an inevitable part of the
growing experience. Nature has to complete its life cycle, and pests
and disease are a part of that cycle. In the next chapter, you will
learn how to handle them and manage the level of exposure your
greenhouse has to such natural threats.

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Chapter Eleven:
How to Handle Disease and Pest
Control

When setting up your greenhouse and growing your plants,
there are some things you have contro l over and some things you do
not have control over. For example, you have control over the
watering, and you can even set up an automated system that helps
you water the plants at designated times. However, you do not have
control over nature; hence, you may have to seek ways to manage
it.
Wherever you see plants, you will find pests, but this doesn’t
mean that you should give up and allow them to ravage your plants.
Even if you cannot control the situation 100% in terms of
permanently keeping them away, you can manage the situation
through effective pest and disease control.
Diseases and pests make your plants vulnerable and will even
kill them if they are not kept under control. Pest and disease control
is crucial to stay on top of, and there can b e cycles that repeat. Even
if you fumigate your greenhouse at the start of the planting season
it doesn’t mean it is safe for the rest of the year.
Pest control is a continuous effort, and it is something you must
become intentional about because it determ ines the success of your
plants. You may have some issues keeping the pests away if your

106
greenhouse is located in a pest - infested area. This is why keeping
the inside of your greenhouse under control is very important. This
is also why you have screens on all windows and vents.
The more you take care of the greenhouse and its surroundings,
the easier it becomes to keep the pests away. This chapter provides
an overview of greenhouse pests and diseases and how you can
manage them. The chapter also provides in sight into diseases and
covers ways you can keep your greenhouse safe from them.
There are several factors to consider for successful control of
pests and diseases in greenhouses, and some of them include:
● Proper cultivation practices that minimize the ch ance of
pests and diseases building up.
● Early detection and diagnosis to enable prompt and effective
pest and disease control and eradication.
● The right choice of pesticides and fungicides.
Some greenhouse insects feed directly on plants and some also
tra nsmit diseases to plants. Pesticides can be an effective tool for
managing greenhouse pests, but most are toxic to humans and can’t
be used if you are growing organically. As such, if you are going to
use pesticides, even organic ones, always follow the ap propriate
safety guidelines.
Let’s highlight some of the common greenhouse pests and
diseases, then go over pest and disease control.

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Some Common Greenhouse Pests

Aphids
Aphids are sucking insects that extract the plant’s sap, and they
are found on the stalks of or under the leaves of plants. They cluster
in colonies on the leaves or stems of a plant. Disturbingly, aphids
multiply quickly in greenhouses, and can put your entire greenhouse
crop at risk if left unchecked.
Aphid infestation often happens when the door of a greenhouse
is left open too long. They also get inside through other openings in
the greenhouse.

Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are tiny pests that have long legs and wings that
allow them to fly around quickly. The larva of this pest is a s
destructive as the adult of the species. When fungus gnats infect
plants, they start to lose their vigor and begin to wilt.
The fungus gnat feeds on both the plant and the organic matter
in the soil. This feeding habit means both your plant and soil are
under threat from these pests. The larvae live in soil clusters. Fungus
gnats are often a result of overwatering.

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Cutworms and Caterpillars
Caterpillars are the immature state of moths, and they chew on
the leaves, fruits, and stems of numerous plants. A caterpillar
infestation starts when moths get into the greenhouse through the
ventilators. They also get in though infested plants that are brought
into the greenhouse.
Cutworms are a threat to younger plants as they hide in the soil
during the day and fe ed on the plants at night. There are also other
forms of caterpillars such as the cabbage looper that feeds on
lettuce. You can distinguish it by its pale green color and three
looping movements. To monitor your greenhouse for these insects,
look for cut p lants or leaves that have large sections removed.

Mealybugs
These small soft - bodied a can ruin an entire plant by
sucking the plant’s sap. These insects are covered by a waxy
secretion that protects them, even from some insecticides.
Mealya can infest almost any part of any plant . As such, it
affects a wide v ariety of greenhouse plants. Mealya also release
honeydew secretions on leaves, so if you observe this on your
leaves, you can tell when they are in your greenhouse.

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Slugs and Snails
You will find more slugs and snails in your greenhouse when
the humidity is high. Slugs are slimy animals that feed on the plant
at night. They prefer cool, moist hiding places during the day. They
eat leaves, flowers, and roots. They leave holes in the plant, and
small seedlings are especially vulnerable to their atta cks. If you find
silvery, slimy trails in your greenhouse, then that signifies the
presence of slugs and snails in your greenhouse.

Mites
Mites are very tiny insects that suck out the sap of a plant by
piercing the plant’s tissue. Despite their tiny siz e, they are one of
the most dangerous and common greenhouse pests. These insects
feed mostly on the undersides of leaves, which gives the upper side
of the leaves a speckled appearance. When the infestation is severe
the plants turn yellow, wilt, lose thei r vigor, and die. Roses are
highly vulnerable to mites, as well as bamboo plants and ivy
geraniums. Some a may start with one plant and quickly infest
the whole greenhouse because the females can lay up to 200 eggs at
a time in hot weather.

Most Common Greenhouse Diseases
Greenhouses are most commonly impacted by conditions
caused by viruses, bacterial diseases or types of fungus.

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Viruses
A virus is one of the worst problems because it is incurable.
Viruses often present as a mosaic pattern on the leav es. Viruses are
often brought into the greenhouse by thrips or aphids, which feed
on the plants and infect them with the virus. When you find an
infected plant, it should be removed immediately from the
greenhouse and destroyed, preferably by burning.

Bac terial Diseases
Bacterial diseases include blight and they are also incurable. It
is spread from plant to plant on clothing and tools. If you find that
plants are getting slimy to the touch, remove them from the
greenhouse and destroy them, again, preferab ly by burning.

Fungus
Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew are very common,
and can be managed if you can detect them early. Root rot and
botrytis are also common and manageable. Sanitation and low
humidity are important ways to prevent fungal issues. I f you have
had an outbreak of powdery mildew, or any plant disease, all pots
and tools and the walls of the greenhouse should be sanitized with
a mild bleach solution.

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Strategies for Pests and Disease Control

Know the Most Vulnerable Plants
Different p lants react differently to various pests and diseases
and their control measures. This is because plants do not all have
the same vulnerabilities and defenses . Of course, all plants are
vulnerable to diseases, but some are more vulnerable than others.
Get to know the most sensitive plants in your greenhouse and pay
closer attention to them, especially in seasons when they are most
prone to attack. Additionally, get to know when plants are most
vulnerable, for example when they are very young, and right afte r
watering.

Prioritize Sanitation
Your first line of defense against insects and disease in your
greenhouse is sanitation. You will have fewer issues with pests and
diseases if you can maintain a clean and organized greenhouse.
Sanitation isn’t an activ ity to be done only when the greenhouse is
messy. You should do it as part of your daily routine. Remember
that the cleaner your greenhouse is, the less vulnerable it will be to
pests and diseases.

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Understand Your Biocontrol Agents
Biological controls help growers a lot, but they are usually only
practical at a large scale. These bio - controls help growers by using
insect predators to combat the impact of pests in their greenhouses.
A good example of this is the use of ladya for ap hid control.
To understand more about bio - controls, you’ve got to know the
species you are trying to control, including its life cycle and natural
predators.

Pesticides and Fungicides
There are a wide variety of pesticides and fungicides on the
market. Yo u can get chemical blends and there are organic products
as well. Some insecticide products are targeted to specific insect
pests, and others are just for general use. There are also many useful
recipes for homemade pest and disease remedies. As your
green house grows and as you add more plants, you will have to
increase your knowledge of pesticides and fungicides based on the
kinds of plants you grow.
To maximize the effectiveness of insecticides and fungicides in
protecting your greenhouse, don’t wait unt il the issue escalates
before taking action. Chemicals must be applied carefully and
correctly for them to work. Not all of them are to be sprayed all
around the greenhouse. Read the instructions and apply accordingly.
The timing for using pesticides and f ungicides is also crucial as
some pests will only die when you attack them at a particular time

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during their life cycle. Often, when insects are established in your
greenhouse, you can only get rid of them if you attack them from
the beginning and repeat t reatment over several of their life cycles.
Additionally, do not use only one type of product repeatedly as
insects may develop resistance to it, thus making your efforts
ineffective. Try out new and useful brands and use pesticides and
fungicides that bel ong to different chemical classes. Group the plant
types that are always most infested and monitor them closely while
keeping them away from the uninfected plants.
Find out what is available in your area, choose the product
carefully and use with caution. You can learn more about pesticides
and fungicides by reading about different products online, listening
to experts on the subject and interacting with other growers.

Learn from Other Growers
Another great way of managing pests and diseases in your
gre enhouse is to learn from other growers who may have gone
through this process and can share their knowledge with you.
Always ask them questions about how they handled the challenge
and get specific product recommendations from them as well.
Learning from e xperienced growers, especially those who live
in your area, will help you make informed decisions on how to
handle pests and diseases. Chances are, what you are going through
with your greenhouse may be a challenge they have dealt with.
Don’t be shy to ask questions.

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Have a Consistent Growing Environment
When you have a consistent growing environment, you are
more likely to keep the greenhouse free from pests and disease.
Consistency avoids fluctuations in water, heating, cooling, air flow
and cleanliness. These fluctuations cause stress in the plants, which
makes them vulnerable to attack by pests and diseases. Having the
same routines will help you quickly detect problems.
You can work with a checklist to help you complete the same
greenhouse tasks every day. Even if you get helpers, ensure that
they do the same things at the same time every day. When you do
this, everything runs smoothly, and the plants have the most
stability.

Monitoring
One of the best ways of handling pests and disease control is
ea rly detection. By persistent monitoring, you will find problems
early and be able to make faster decisions about what to do before
the problem is out of control. Although you should observe your
plants daily, make it a practice to monitor your greenhouse
s pecifically for pests and disease weekly to ensure you spot plants
that are compromised.
Pay close attention to plants that are close to ventilators, fans,
and doors and inspect the plants in those areas every morning. These
are the plants that are likely to be infected first as they are the closest
to the points of entry.

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You can also use mass trapping tools such as sticky tapes and
cards that will trap insects when they get to or near the plants. If you
monitor consistently, you will prevent a lot of pes t infestations and
diseases.

Essential Cultural Controls
Pests can get into your greenhouse on new plants, but some
others may get in through open ventilators. You can protect your
greenhouse from these pests through cultural controls such as:
● Find and r emove infested plants from the greenhouse.
● Maintaining a weed - free greenhouse.
● Avoiding overwatering and high humidity.
● After every production cycle, clean the greenhouse
thoroughly.
● Always scrutinize new plants before taking them into the
greenhouse.

When you deal with pests and handle disease control
effectively, your greenhouse will become an ideal environment for
your plants to thrive. You will find that you have healthier plants,
and this will directly result in bigger yields.
Consiste ncy and diligence are the key to preventing and
eradicating greenhouse pests and diseases. If you are not consistent,
you may have great results for a little while and then struggle with

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ongoing problems. However, consistency makes it easier for you to
est ablish a healthy routine and set yourself up for success.
When you have a healthy space, you will grow high yields all
year round, which brings us to the next section about how to grow
great returns throughout the year. What can you do to ensure your
pla nt yields the best results, and how can you sustain it? Discover
answers and more in the next chapter.

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Chapter Twelve:
How to Grow Great Yields All Year
Round

With a greenhouse, you have a unique opportunity to plant and
get exceptional yields throughou t the year. However, the fact that it
is possible doesn’t mean everyone experiences the same success.
Some growers try so hard and still struggle to effectively grow crops
because they haven’t learned everything they need to know.
With every general topic you have learned thus far, there have
been steps offered to guide you and to help you get it right. In this
chapter, you will also learn the key steps to follow to maximize your
experience and success in the greenhouse. You will gain insight into
how best to achieve the highest yields in your greenhouse all year
round.
Some growers complain about the inconsistencies they
experience with the planting process. They have excellent yields
one season and bad crops the next season. Such a variation in
success can be very discouraging, and it can make the grower give
up entirely.
However, this is not to say that there is a fool - proof way to have
a challenge - free planting experience. Challenges are a reality of
greenhouse gardening. Despite those challenges, there a re ways to
improve your chances of success. You have already learned a lot of

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them. This chapter offers even more insight into the steps that
successful gardeners rely on to improve their yields and overall
growing experience.

How to Achieve High Yields f rom Your Greenhouse

Start by Growing What You Love
When you are ready to plant your seeds, you will have a myriad
of options to choose from. This can be overwhelming at first, so the
natural way to focus your energy is to start growing what you love
firs t. Of course, you can always broaden your scope to include other
plants as time goes on.
Starting with what you love or enjoy most will help you get
used to the process faster than anticipated. After perfecting the
process with the crops that you like, yo u can take on more
challenging plants and excel with them too. You can also start with
vegetables you may have enjoyed in the past, or that are more
expensive to buy than other vegetables. The whole idea as a
beginner is to start with easier plants and gra dually expand the
varieties you grow when you have some experience.
For example, if you really like broccoli, you may have been
reading a lot about broccoli, and you may now know a lot about it
and want to try to grow it. Since you know how to grow it, its ideal
temperature, soil type, nutrition, watering, pest control, etc. this
means that planting broccoli will be easier for you. Research always

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helps, and it is always more interesting to learn about things you
like! Once you’ve done a bit of research, ge t some hands - on
experience by growing that item.

Make a Plan
Next, you have to have a plan for what you want to plant. By
now you have likely decided if you will buy starter plants or plant
seeds. This may be influenced by budget or availability. Knowing
what you want to plant and how much room you have is your
starting point. Learn about the plant’s growing habit, especially if
you are starting from seed. If you have starter plants, you will not
need this information about seeds right now, but you may nee d it
later.
All seeds are NOT the same. If you are going to plant several
types of seeds, make sure you know the specific requirements for
each of them and work towards using those specifications.
Then create a planting plan that details when you will pla nt the
seeds, when their different growing milestones should be
anticipated, how you will monitor and groom them, and any special
needs they may have between planting and harvest time.
Planning helps you identify what you must do to get
exceptional yields and keeps you focused on it. When you don’t
plan, it becomes easy for you to assume that everything will get
done, but the truth is, you are likely to forget some things, or put

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them off. You need to work diligently and according to a plan to
ensure that all aspects of the planting process are productive.

Create the Perfect Growing Home
Ensure that your seeds are planted in healthy and fertile soil,
since it will be home for them until they grow to full size and get
harvested. Once again, check the soil viability by checking
temperature, getting rid of pests around the soil area, and ensu ring
the soil has been properly prepared.
This means that before the seeds get put into the soil, you may
have to make some changes to the temperature and humidity inside
the greenhouse, and you should water the soil thoroughly. Just like
you make your ne w house comfortable and safe for yourself, you
need to ensure your greenhouse is comfortable and safe for your
plants. This is the new home for them, and ensuring it is as perfect
as possible will ensure the best yields.

Test Your Seeds
Before planting yo ur seeds, you might want to test them to be
sure that they will germinate when they get into the soil. This testing
process is crucial especially if you are using old seeds. If you buy
the seeds from a store, check the date on the package to see how
fresh they are. Fresh seeds have a very high germination rate, and
the germination rate decreases as the seeds get older. Use the best

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quality seeds you can. The seed germination test is straightforward
and has only six steps.

Step One: Get All Materials
You will need:
● Ten seeds of all the types you are testing
● One or more Ziploc bags
● A few paper towels
● Permanent marker to label the Ziploc bags

Step Two: Wet the Paper Towels
Now dampen the paper towels and spread them on the counter.

Step Three: Place t he Seeds
Put the seeds on the paper towel and space them out so they
don’t touch. Do not mix seeds. For example, put all tomato seeds on
one paper towel, and put another kind of seed on another paper
towel.

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Step Four: Seal Seeds in Plastic Bags
Roll the seeds inside the paper towel and press it gently to make
sure the seeds firmly touch the paper towel. Place the paper towel
wrapped seeds inside the Ziploc bag and seal it. If you are going to
test multiple types of seeds, repeat the process and write the plant
type on the bag with the permanent marker.

Step Five: Wait for Germination
Put the sealed bags in a warm spot in your house and wait to
see if they sprout. Be patient. Some seeds take only a few days to
sprout, but some take up to 10 days or more.

Step Six: Check the Seeds for Germination
Every few days check the seeds for germination by carefully
unrolling the paper towel. If they haven’t sprouted, roll them back
up, put them back in the bag and tuck them back into their warm
spot. When you open th e towels and you see the seeds have
germinated, count the number that have sprouted and multiply that
number by ten; this will give you the percentage of germination.
For example, if 6 of the ten tomato seeds sprout, then it means
you have a 60% chance of germination when you plant those seeds.
The testing process is crucial because it prepares you for what to
expect from the seeds and lets you know how much space to allocate
to that group of seeds.

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Planting
After testing the seeds or acquiring your starter plants, you can
then plant them, and this is an easy task to complete. Simply place
the seeds or plants into little holes in the ground, in the pots, grow
bags or raised beds. After putting them in the holes, cover them with
more soil. If you are p lanting seeds, check the packet for additional
instructions.
Then place your water dripper by the plants so the plant can get
its first taste of water. You don’t want to flood the seeds, so don’t
overwater at this stage. Now you can put into practice all y ou’ve
learned about watering, temperature, etc. This is the time to put all
those lessons to work by ensuring that the plant has the best chance
of success. Remember that if you are using a pot, then it will need
more water than if you are planting directl y into the soil.

Stringing or Supports
If the crops you plant will grow taller as time goes on, then you
have to string them up or provide other supports. Stringing or stakes
support the plants as they grow. Every plant should have its own
string or stake , which guards it against growing into nearby plants
or falling over.
In some greenhouses, the growers may not use strings or stakes;
they may use some other creative tools to separate the plants and
support them as they grow. You have to keep taller plant s apart so
they can have enough air flow between them. When taller plants

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have no boundaries, they become too difficult to manage, and their
ability to grow well is affected.
Plants like peppers, tomatoes, and beans all grow tall, and they
need supports. E nsure that they don’t fall over or are not pressed
against other plants.

Check Your Plants Until Harvest
Keep an eye on your plants as they grow, and watch out for
changes, growth, and signs of any problems. The fact that you got
the initial planting pro cess right doesn’t mean you should leave the
plants and just hope that they grow. Remember all you have learned
about pests and disease control. Monitor your plants every morning
when you water. Soon you will see them sprout and open up into
leaves, stems, roots, fruits, and flowers.
Watching plants grow in a greenhouse is such a fulfilling
experience. At this point, you should know that all the plants you
planted may grow and yield at different times even though you
planted them at the same time.
Monitori ng is also crucial for exceptional yields because it
helps eliminate threats that may try to kill the plants. If you can
catch a bug or mildew problem early, you will have a better chance
of your plants making it to harvest.
Every plant has its growth dura tion and estimated harvest time,
and you should know this information for every plant in your
greenhouse. As the plant gets closer to harvest time, you should see

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all the signs of maturity and know that it will soon be time to harvest
the fruits of your la bor.
When the fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready, hand - pick
them immediately. If some fruits are not yet mature, leave them for
a while and come back later to pick them. Wash your harvested food
with water and enjoy your yields!

Organic Fertilizati on
Just like plants need water, they also need food. A good quality
soil will have lots of nutrients in it, but as the plants grow, they will
use up the nutrients that are available. For this reason, you may need
to enhance the soil with fertilizer. Ferti lizers can be essential to
success. The focus here is not on chemical fertilizers, but on the
viability of organic fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers can cause harm
to your greenhouse plants and to you if they are incorrectly used.
This is why you are advis ed to focus more on organic fertilizers
that are natural and harmless to your soil and the plants. The organic
fertilization process will help you plant and grow crops safely while
giving them the boost they need to thrive in your greenhouse. When
you go f ertilizer shopping, insist on organic brands. If you don’t
trust the products available at the store, you can create your own
organic fertilizer if you have the supplies available.
There are tons of resources online that you can use to learn
about creating organic fertilizers suitable for all soil and crop types.

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The natural process may be a lot of work, but it is worth it as it will
help your plants grow healthy and have the best yields.

Consistency Counts
As you have already learned, when it comes to pla nting and
growing impressive crops, consistency matters. Always strive to
provide a consistent growing environment for your plants. If you try
a particular planting style and it worked for you, why don’t you use
it again with the same plants? By repeating a successful planting
trick, you will likely achieve the same results consistently without
fail. Of course, all the conditions have to be the same, including the
same type of soil, temperature, timing, etc.
To use this rule of consistency, you have to be very observant
when planting, as this will help you know what you did so that you
can achieve the same results. Consistency works when you plant the
same crops over and over again.
For example, if you always plant tomatoes, after your first few
tries at pl anting and getting good vegetables during harvest, you will
know what to do the next time you plant. But if you have never
planted cucumber before, you may have to take time to learn how it
works before you can achieve a good harvest. Similarly, if you hav e
a crop failure, try to understand why it failed and avoid doing the
same things next time. Keep working at it and be consistent. This is
the surest way of getting exceptional yields.

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The planting process itself is never the same for all plants in
your greenhouse. Sometimes, you will have it easy, and other times
you will be required to work extra hard, especially when the weather
becomes a challenge. The best way to consistently enjoy yields is to
keep on trying because the more you try, the easier it becomes for
you.
Most of the experienced and talented growers gained most of
their knowledge by making mistakes and trying again and
remaining consistent in their efforts even in very challenging times.
Don’t give up!
In a previous chapter, we talked a bout cleaning your
greenhouse because it is a crucial step to take when trying to combat
pests and diseases. In the next chapter we will elaborate on the best
cleaning techniques to use for your greenhouse.

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Chapter Thirteen:
The Best Cleaning Methods fo r
Greenhouses

By now, you already have an idea as to why cleaning your
greenhouse is important. We are going to elaborate on the concept
because some aspects of the subject matter must be reiterated. A
clean greenhouse will significantly boost plant produ ction, and
when your planting space is clean, you can keep pests and diseases
away.
However, it is not enough to just clean the greenhouse like you
would clean your home. There are specific steps to take to optimize
the sanitation of your greenhouse. We wi ll unravel all of these in
this chapter. You will learn crucial lessons about how to best clean
your greenhouse and how often you should do it.
When cleaning your greenhouse, you must recognize that you
are not only getting rid of dirt that you can see, b ut pests and
diseases that you can’t see that could infect the plants. Unlike your
conventional cleaning processes, greenhouse cleaning requires
more attention because if one part of the greenhouse is not clean,
that could become the breeding ground for ba cteria that spreads to
other plants.
Below you will find answers to the common questions about
how best to clean your greenhouse.

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Why Should I Clean My Greenhouse in a Certain Way?
When you clean the right way, you can get rid of all of these
threats: pest s, molds and diseases. Diligent cleaning while growing
your crops will protect your plants from microbes and algae, which
draw in gnats and flies into the greenhouse. If you don’t clean the
right way, your greenhouse will become susceptible to Pythium root
rot, which accumulates at the root of plants, or powdery mildew
which covers leaves. Both will spread quickly to other plants.
Some growers say they have pest - free periods, and then
sometimes it gets bad. If those growers study their cleaning patterns,
th ey will realize that the times they were pest - free were the times
they were maintaining good cleanliness. Therefore, if you are keen
on having healthy plants, regular cleaning is crucial.
Additionally, when you clean your greenhouse the right way
for a lon g time, it becomes a part of your routine such that you no
longer do it only when you want to plant, you do it at all times.
Remember, diseases and pests cannot survive in a sanitized
environment, and even if they manage to survive, you can easily
spot, is olate, and eliminate them before they cause any damage.

How Often Should I Clean My Greenhouse?
Regular minor cleaning is required daily as it will help you keep
the greenhouse neat and tidy, but the major cleaning tasks that are
much more intense shoul d happen each season and annually. It
doesn’t matter if you plant new crops that year or not, make it a date
to clean your greenhouse thoroughly every year.

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Annual cleaning helps keep the plants healthy and will also
eliminate overwintering pests and disea ses. You will also maintain
your greenhouse structure for longer when you are consistent with
such annual cleaning routines. If your greenhouse is mostly made
out of wood, then you cannot afford to miss this yearly deep
cleaning because wood deteriorates f aster than metal, plastic or
glass greenhouse structures.
Most pests and disease are drawn to humid environments, but
when your environment is clean with your ventilators working to
ensure cool airflow around the greenhouse, the pests and disease
will have nowhere to grow.

How Can I Clean the Exterior of the Greenhouse?
By exterior of the greenhouse, we are referring to the exterior
windows and coverings, which can be fun if you love cleaning. Get
warm water, a sponge, and elbow grease! You will want the
windows or plastic coverings to be clean to maximize sunlight for
your crops.
If you are unable to reach higher parts of the windows, attach a
broom to the sponge or a long stick and reach for the top sections.
Clean all windows, even the ones that seem in convenient to reach,
such as the roof parts or at the back of the greenhouse. You may
also use window cleaning agents for this cleaning process, but this
is only allowed for the exterior parts, since you don’t want to have
chemicals dropping onto your plan ts.

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Windows should be cleaned more than annually. You have to
clean them regularly. They must be clean enough for sunlight to
stream into the greenhouse.

How Can I Clean the Interior of My Greenhouse Effectively?
Start by removing everything inside the g reenhouse, as this will
make cleaning easier for you. Remove pots, plants, shelves, hoses,
soil, and tools then turn off the electricity, so everything is off. Start
sweeping, weed the plant beds, and get rid of all dead plants. Then
wash the greenhouse by scrubbing the walls and all paths.
You might use some disinfectants for this process, and some of
the most common ones you can use include chlorine bleach,
hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate, etc. After cleaning, wash the
cleaning tools with soapy water, and clean the things you took
outside before bringing them back inside.
If some pots already have plants in them, then you can clean
the exteriors of the pots. You can wash the greenhouse structure
itself using an oxygen bleach solution as this will keep pests away.
Only do this with the plants outside. To clean the greenhouse
thoroughly, you will need a broom, rake, sponge, oxygen bleach
solution, greenhouse disinfectant, and things like cloths, sponges or
paper towels that you will need to keep the space clean.
The best time for annual cleaning of your greenhouse is in the
warm spring season. You can also do it during sunny winter days
but avoid exposing the plants to cold. Don’t forget to clean your

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cleaning tools as well to avoid cross - contaminating your greenhouse
with contaminated tools.
You can clean your greenhouse tools and materials with a
sponge and soapy water by scrubbing them and drying them before
taking them back to storage.

How Can I Clean My Irrigation Systems and W ater Holding
Tanks?
Some growers forget about cleaning their irrigation systems
and solely focus on the greenhouse itself. If your irrigation system
is dirty, you will be transferring germs and bacteria to your plants
when you water them. To clean the irr igation system, you will have
to use hot water to flush the pipes and soak the dripper heads in hot
soapy water.
Scrub the holding tanks or reservoirs with a mild bleach mix as
it will kill all the germs, algae, and insects like gnats hidden in them.
If yo u have lots of pipes in the greenhouse, it will take time to clean
and dry them and wash them in batches.
While cleaning the watering tools, remember to check the
health of your water to ascertain if it is still good enough for the
plants.

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How Can I Maint ain My Greenhouse Throughout the Year if I
Am Busy?
If you are too busy to go through all the detailed processes
previously mentioned, you can sweep the floor quickly and wipe all
surfaces with a light bleach solution. You can also throw weeds
away swiftl y and clean the windows. If you are busy, you can still
keep your greenhouse neat and keep pests away. You may not have
as successful a yield as you want, but you can still enjoy a modest
greenhouse gardening experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
fro m family or household members, friends or even neighbors who
enjoy gardening. They might want to trade their help for a share of
the produce, or just do it to be nice.

How Can I Get Rid of Mold in My Greenhouse Through
Cleaning?
When mold accumulates in y our greenhouse, it can become
problematic for your plants. As such, you need to get rid of it, and
cleaning can help you achieve that. Vinegar is a great ingredient that
you can use for cleaning. Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and
spray it anywhere you see mold.
After a while, wipe away the vinegar with a clean cloth, mix
one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with a cup of water, and then
wipe it on the mold area with a wet cloth. The mold will not survive
in the greenhouse afterward, and your planting s pace will be safer
for future crop growth.

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How Can I Further Disinfect My Greenhouse Effectively?
To disinfect the greenhouse, you can also use alcohol as a
disinfectant to get rid of microbes accumulated inside the
greenhouse. Alcohol doesn’t last long and will have to be used
often, so only use it for minor cleaning. Bleach is one of the most
common disinfectants that can kill microbes. When you use bleach,
make sure it is in a well - ventilated area for your own safety.
Hydrogen peroxide is also useful, although it may be more
expensive, and it is more appropriate for large scale greenhouses.
Wear goggles anytime you use hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, bleach
peroxide or other chemicals to clean.

How Can I Disinfect My Plants?
To disinfect your plants, you w ill have to clean the pots and
areas where you plant them. Please do not use disinfectant on the
plants themselves. You can take the plants outside and remove them
from their pot if needed. Put them somewhere cool and work
quickly. If it is hot out, make s ure to water the roots of the plants
frequently Then soak the container in a solution with one - part
bleach and nine parts water for about 10 minutes.
Afterward, put the pots in a detergent and water solution to
rinse, then allow them to dry out. While the pots are drying, wash
the leaves of the plants gently with soapy water. After they dry,
transfer the plants back to their pots, and you can put them back into
the greenhouse to continue growing. This should only be done in
extreme circumstances, as disrup ting the plant in this way can cause

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it to fail. If you properly sterilize your containers before planting,
and keep on top of things, you won’t likely have to do this.
You now know how to clean your greenhouse intensely and
thoroughly. Although cleaning i s not the most glamorous part of
your greenhouse gardening experience, it is vital to its success. In
the final chapter, as a bonus, you will learn how to avoid typical
beginner gardening mistakes.

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Chapter Fourteen:
Greenhouse Gardening Mistakes to
Avoid

Congratulations! You have arrived at the last and final
chapter! You have shown that you have the diligence and dedication
to approach gardening with an informed mindset.
We are going to finalize your learning experience by covering
some of the top garde ning mistakes you should avoid. You have
learned a lot, but this is no guarantee. Even experienced growers
still make mistakes and learn from them.
The mistakes you will find outlined below are common
experiences for growers. By learning from their mistak es, you will
be one step ahead and do the right things on your greenhouse
journey.
If you have been reading with a serious expression on your face
because you want to get things right with your greenhouse, it is time
to relax. You don’t need the serious ex pression for this chapter as
you will be learning from the mistakes of others and then ending
this experience on a high note.

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Growing the Wrong Plants in the Wrong Temperature
A significant mistake made by growers is growing all kinds of
plants at the same temperature without considering what works for
the plant. Don’t assume that every plant needs to be produced in an
excessively warm atmosphere. If you do this, you will have plants
that die from the heat.
Always learn the ideal temperature for every p lant in your
greenhouse before planting and try to plant things that like the same
conditions.

Excessively Reducing Light
Sometimes in a bid to use the shading method when it gets too
hot during sunny days, some growers ultimately reduce the light
stream ing into the greenhouse. A standard greenhouse covering
should be 6 mm as this allows for 91% of light transmission into the
planting space.
Your plants need sufficient sunlight to grow and produce
excellent yields, as such excessively reducing the light will cause
more harm than good. Find the right balance between heat shading
and optimal light.

Watering: When It’s Too Much or Not Enough
Even as you make sure your irrigation is top - notch and you are
adhering to all watering rules, you need to ensure th at you are not

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over watering or under watering the plants. Sometimes growers
think they’ve done everything right and wonder why their plants
still die. It could be because you misinterpreted the water needs of
your plants.
To avoid this situation, you must always ascertain the right
watering protocol for every plant in your greenhouse and monitor
the watering system and your plants to ensure they are getting what
they need.

Lack of Soil Management
Another mistake to avoid is poor soil management. The fact
that your soil was healthy when you started your greenhouse doesn’t
mean it will stay the same months later. You’ve got to become
dedicated to soil management right from the beginning, and
especially as the season goes on.
Aside from the necessary steps o f adding compost and fertilizer
to the soil, it would also help if you use a blended soil mix that is
rich in nutrients. Some of the combinations contain coconut fiber,
worm castings and other organic nutrients that add value to the soil.

Growers Who Igno re the Growth of Fungus in Their
Greenhouses
Warm and moist environments are a breeding ground for
fungus. As such, if the humidity of your greenhouse is over 85%,

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then fungus will grow easily around and on the plants. If humidity
is over 85%, it means th at there is very little air circulation, and if
there is also water on the leaves, you will likely get a fungus.
To avoid this mistake, please monitor the humidity level of the
greenhouse regularly, keep the leaves dry, and observe for a build -
up of fungus . If you see evidence of any fungal type diseases,
implement sanitation protocols right away.

Lack of Proper Ventilation
Ventilation is a key aspect of successful greenhouse gardening.
As such, when you don’t ventilate your greenhouse enough, you
will have issues. You can avoid these mistakes by calculating how
much ventilation you will need. Divide the greenhouse floor spac e
by five. What you get is 20% of your ventilation space. That is the
minimum area that should be open for windows, rolled - up walls and
vents. But you should know that opening a window doesn’t mean
the greenhouse is getting proper ventilation. The air need s to flow!
You can control the airflow so that fresh air comes in from the
bottom and warm air escapes from the roof vents.

When You Don’t Consider the Nearby Trees
The wrong location is a mistake you must avoid. If the
greenhouse is located in an area s urrounded by trees, the trees will
cast shadows on the structure, thus limiting the extent of sunlight
the plants receive.

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If you don’t consider trees when choosing a greenhouse
location, you will have a lot of debris and dried leaves around your
greenhou se since they fall from the trees. Also, roots from nearby
trees can grow under and into your greenhouse, thus eating up the
nutrients meant for your plants.

Failure to Control the Temperature
Failure to control the temperature is one of the biggest mistakes
greenhouse growers make. Some even forget that the temperature
should be controlled. As mentioned in a previous chapter, the ideal
temperature for a greenhouse should be 75 - 85 degrees F during the
day and 60 - 75 degrees F at night.
If you a re planting in the winter, then it should be 65 - 70 degrees
F in the daytime and 45 degrees F at night. You cannot afford to
leave the temperature of the greenhouse to chance because this will
affect the crops immensely. If you can, get a digital thermostat to
get accurate readings and then adjust accordingly.

Placing Grow Bags and Pots Directly on the Floor
This mistake is most commonly made by beginners who think
it isn’t a big deal to leave pots and bags on the floor. Growing
containers and bags should b e placed on garden stands or other
raised surfaces like pallets or benches as this helps you optimize
space, improves air flow and keeps crawling insects away.

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Furthermore, when you use garden stands, it is easier for you
to clean your greenhouse regularly without moving pots and bags
around. Many insects hibernate under grow containers and pots
placed on the floor during the day, and at night they attack the
plants. This can be minimized and avoided when you use a raised
gardening surface.

Effective Pest Management
Most gardeners fail to observe proper pest management
practices, so they end up struggling with pests regularly and in the
long - term. A significant reason for this mistake is because they
don’t pay close attention to the plants for early detect ion. Some
growers wait until it is too late before taking action with pests, and
by the time they take action, they cannot save the plants.
Daily observation is crucial in your greenhouse as any plant
that gets infected can quickly spread the disease or pe sts if you don’t
isolate it. In greenhouses diseases spread quickly, and the only way
to avoid this is through effective pest control.

Lack of Research
Unfortunately, some growers do not see this as a mistake, but
it is a problem, especially if you are k een on succeeding with your
greenhouse. When you don’t do enough research, such as by failing
to read books like this or learning through other means, you will be

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building your greenhouse based on preconceived notions that may
be wrong.
Research is the fir st step all growers should take even before
building the greenhouse, as this equips them with information that
will help them succeed with the process. Imagine if you didn’t read
this book, and you went on to start the greenhouse process. There
would be so many things you wouldn’t understand, and this
confusion would likely cost you a lot of losses.

Building Your Greenhouse Far Away from Your Home
You don’t need to build your greenhouse in your backyard, but
it does help to have it close by for monitoring and maintenance
purposes. If your greenhouse is too far from your home when there
is an emergency, you will not make it in time. In some cases, the
problem might have escalated before you arrive. As such, if it is
possible, make sure your greenhouse is cl ose to your home. This
will make it easier for you to pay attention to the plants and keep
them safe long - term.

Starting Your Planting Season with Complex Crops
As a beginner, always start the planting season with easy plants
that will help you garner exp erience and confidence as a grower. If
you begin with crops that take a longer time to germinate, grow and
harvest, or plants that you have to spend too much time on but have
little yield, you might become easily discouraged. This mistake is

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one of the rea sons why some people start the greenhouse process
and then give up on it after a while. Start with common fruits,
vegetables and flowers that can be easily grown, and as you get
better, you can take on more difficult plants.

Having No Plan for the Greenho use
Every project you invest time, money, and energy into should
have the desired outcome, and this should be the same with your
greenhouse. Why did you set it up in the first place? What do you
want to achieve with it? When you harvest the crops, what wil l you
do with them? Some gardeners do not have answers to the questions
and challenges they face; hence they easily give up after facing a
little problem.
Knowing what you want from the start helps you remain
focused and gives you the courage to keep on tr ying even when you
have to deal with natural forces such as the weather or pests. If you
lack a goal or direction, you will do things only when you feel like
doing them and not when it is really required of you.

Buying Fertilizers from Unaccredited Dealer s
Numerous fertilizer outlets sell fertilizers, composts and other
nutritional items for greenhouses, and it is easy for any grower to
buy from any seller. If you are not mindful of who you buy from,
you might end up with chemically infused nutritional fe eds that will
harm your plants. Don’t take the store’s word for it. Do your

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background check and ascertain if they sell organic nutritional
supplements as well, and if they have a good reputation. If you fail
to acquire quality products, you will consisten tly feed your plants
substandard nutrients that will make them unhealthy.

Planting Too Much
Some growers feel that they have everything right, such as the
location, soil texture, temperature, etc. and then they make a
fundamental mistake. They suddenly feel the urge to fill up every
space and plant things densely everywhere. They start to fill up
every inch of the greenhouse with seeds and transplants, lettuce,
tomatoes and flowers everywhere. This style of excessive planting
violates the greenh ouse spacing rules and could lead to plants
suffocating.
Optimal spacing is required between your plants, and you must
adhere to this principle at all times because when you don’t, you
make your plants vulnerable to the swift spread of diseases and
pests. Airflow will be limited and during the hot season, the
greenhouse will be very hot despite any ventilators in place. With
limited air circulation, the plants will start to lose their vigor until
they ultimately die. Ensure lots of air circulation in your g reenhouse
through optimal spacing.
Now you know how to start a greenhouse and succeed with it
because you have been equipped with information. Remember that
you can read this book all over again or read specific sections again

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when you need to. Yes, this i s a beginner guide, but knowing the
basics is where you need to start.
Before putting this book down, I urge you to read the
concluding section, which contains a call - to - action prompt that will
inspire you to start your greenhouse adventure now.
Thank you for reading!

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Final Words

When you started this book, you embarked on a journey with
little or no information about your dream to begin greenhouse
gardening. Now, here you are, empowered with detailed concepts
about starting your greenhouse. A good begin ner’s guide is a must -
have source for learning the basics and for refreshing your memory
about the fundamentals when you become an expert.
This book started with a fundamental and foundational section
that offered comprehensive insight into the nature of g reenhouses.
The first chapter prepared you for the rest of your journey and
provided insight into the factors to consider when you want to buy
a greenhouse.
The construction process for a greenhouse was also outlined
and we explored the difference between a greenhouse and a
polytunnel hoop house. The cooling and heating systems of a
greenhouse were a vital part of our discourse as well. You learned
that proper regulation of the temperature is one of the keys to
greenhouse gardening success.
Do you remember everything you learned about in the section
on irrigation? If your greenhouse isn’t connected to proper
irrigation, then you may have challenges with your greenhouse.
Growing seasons, cleaning processes, and how to get exceptional
yields are also some of t he vital considerations for greenhouse
gardening. Now you also know how to handle disease and pest

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control and have reviewed a list of typical mistakes to avoid while
working towards your greenhouse dreams.
With this brief recap of our journey together thu s far, it is safe
to say we have covered all aspects of greenhouse gardening for
beginners. Getting to the end of this book is a moment that marks
the end of your reading experience, but it signifies the start of your
implementation process. What is the po int of reading such an
impactful and practical book without executing the ideas?
If you don’t use what you have learned, you will never know
how good it feels to set - up a greenhouse and enjoy the advantages
it offers. While some other books are ideological , this book is 100%
practical. This means that you will only get the full, true value of
this book when you implement the ideas it contains.
You don’t have to wait until you have access to all the required
materials and tools and can make it perfect. If yo u need to, just start
with what you have access to right now and gradually work towards
doing more. The most important thing to do is to take action! A
person who acts on what they know will achieve great success in
their gardening.
Some of the best greenh ouses you may have seen are owned by
people who were beginners at some point too. They persisted and
didn’t relent in taking action towards their greenhouse gardening
dream. The gradual steps you take with your greenhouse gardening
will help you gain first - hand experience and grow in the process.
This will create a ripple effect that will propel you into larger and
more complex greenhouse projects with even bigger yields. Imagine

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being able to supply your family and friends with fresh produce all
year round . That will be a fulfilling moment indeed!
The greenhouse gardening process is ever evolving and
ongoing. The more you work on it, the better you become. The most
essential step to take right after reading this book is to get started on
your greenhouse gar dening adventure.
Best wishes and happy gardening!
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