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Managing A Greenhouse

By admin On October 13, 2008 Under Greenhouse Gardening

Ventilation of a greenhouse is of great importance and is the key to healthy plant growth in any greenhouse. Fresh air is essential and the use of ventilators also regulates the temperature which is especially important in summer.

For every 1.8 - 2.4m (6-9ft) length of greenhouse there should be at least one top roof ventilator and one at the side low down, preferably more. On windy days the ventilators should be opened on the side away from prevailing wind. In winter the one at the top should be open just a crack unless severely cold.

Ventilators can be hand operated, electronically or chemically operated and all options are fairly inexpensive.

The atmosphere should never be stuffy or unduly humid (except for special plants such as cucumbers). However, draughts should be avoided.

With correct ventilation, humidity will also be at the right level without being excessive (meters for measuring humidity are available). In hot dry weather humidity should be maintained by damping down the greenhouse two or three times a day, the last time by mid afternoon.

Maximum light is essential in winter, spring and autumn. The glazing should be kept clean and free of leaves and other debris. In summer, shading will be necessary with washes or blinds. In winter, plastic sheet used as double glazing will unavoidably reduce the available light but there is now an anti-condensation sheet available.

Very high temperatures are not suitable. Most plants are happy with a range between 7 and 33 degrees C, depending on whether they are temperate or sub tropical plants. In winter various forms of heating can be used: oil, electricity, solid fuel or gas. A maximum and minimum thermometer will be very useful, particularly for recording minimum night temperatures.

Hygiene and cleanliness are vital. The inside of the greenhouse: staging, floor (if concrete or paved) and equipment should be cleaned with a sterilizing solution once a year. Fallen vegetation should be removed, badly diseased or pest ridden plants destroyed and the house kept free from piles of dirty pots, seed trays, labels, canes, crocks and other clutter. Try to keep the maximum amount of space available for growing plants.

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