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Greenhouse Gardening





How to be a Four-Season Grower

Plant Power Greenhouse GardeningMost gardeners would love to own a greenhouse. This appeal may be strongest in cold climates, but being able to grow an endless supply of sturdy little seedlings is a pretty appealing concept no matter where you live. And what gardener isn’t intrigued by the idea of having a tropical environment filled with orchids, citrus and jasmine; or wouldn’t relish the opportunity to pick fresh salad greens and vine-ripened tomatoes on a cold winter day.

There are now dozens of affordable, well-constructed greenhouses on the market, as well as a full range of accessories that make greenhouse gardening easier than ever. Is there a greenhouse in your future? 

Gardening in a Greenhouse

Owning a greenhouse can give you the opportunity to grow plants from all over the world. But before you stock up on potted citrus, orchids, cacti, scented geraniums and bromeliads, you need to stop and think about what sort of growing environment you will actually be able to provide. A common mistake made by beginning greenhouse gardeners is to fill the greenhouse with any plant that piques their interest. 

An eclectic assortment of plants such as this may look fine for a few months, but they will soon begin to suffer. Some plants need cold nights, some need warm nights. Some like lots of bright light, some require filtered shade. Some need water twice a day, some only every few days. The challenge is to decide what sort of environment you will be able to provide, to take advantage of the microclimates within the greenhouse, and to choose plants that will thrive in those conditions. 

If you plan to run your greenhouse year-round, you first need to determine what temperature range you want to maintain — both in winter and in summer. Wintertime temperatures ranging from 40 to 60 degrees F may be ideal for growing salad greens, herbs, camellias and for over wintering tender exotics. But these temperatures are too cold for producing healthy tomatoes, gardenias and tuberous begonias. 

During the summer months, bright sun and daytime temperatures of 85°–90°F may be fine for potted tomatoes, bananas, figs, and geraniums, but alpine plants, African violets, and many types of orchids will not tolerate the heat. 


Within any greenhouse, there are certain areas that are hotter or cooler, brighter or shadier. By taking advantage of these natural microclimates, you can provide optimum growing conditions for a wider range of plants. Shade cloth, lathe, small fans, propagation chambers, heat mats, and other devices can also be used to help create and manage these microclimates.  

Your climate, the type of greenhouse you have, and the amount of time and money you are willing to invest in heating and cooling, will determine what sorts of plants you’ll be able to grow successfully.

Informative Greenhouse Books

Greenhouse Gardener's Companion Greenhouse Gardener's Companion : Growing Food and Flowers in Your Greenhouse or Sunspace
by Shane Smith, Marjorie C. Leggitt (Illustrator)
Home Solar Gardening Home Solar Gardening
by John H. Pierce
Tomato Plant Culture Tomato Plant Culture : In the Field, Greenhouse, and Home Garden
by J. Benton, Jr. Jones
Backyard Market Gardening Backyard Market Gardening : The Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling What You Grow
by Andrew W. Lee, et al
Ortho's All About Greenhouses Ortho's All About Greenhouses (Ortho's All About Gardening)
The Greenhouse Expert The Greenhouse Expert
by D. G. Hessayon

The Complete Book of the Greenhouse The Complete Book of the Greenhouse
by Ian G. Walls, et al
building your own greenhouse Building Your Own Greenhouse (Greenhouse Basics)
by Mark Freeman, Heather Bellanca (Illustrator)
gardening in your greenhouse Gardening in Your Greenhouse (Greenhouse Basics , No 2)
by Mark Freeman
The Commercial Greenhouse The Commercial Greenhouse
by James W. Boodley
Greenhouse Operation and Management Greenhouse Operation and Management
by Paul V. Nelson
Sell What You Sow Sell What You Sow: The Grower's Guide to Successful Produce Marketing
by Eric L. Gibson
Ball Identification Guide to Greenhouse Pests and Beneficials Ball Identification Guide to Greenhouse Pests and Beneficials
by Stanton Gill, John Sanderson
The Living Tropical Greenhouse The Living Tropical Greenhouse : Creating a Haven for Butterflies
by John Tampion, Maureen Tampion
Greenhouses and Conservatories
by Olivier De Vleeschouwer, Olivier De Vleeschouwer
A Grower's Guide to Water, Media, and Nutrition for Greenhouse Crops A Grower's Guide to Water, Media, and Nutrition for Greenhouse Crops
by David William Reed (Editor), David Wm. Reed (Editor)
  Hydroponic Hot House : Low-Cost, High-Yield Greenhouse Gardening
by James B. Dekorne
  The Greenhouse and Nursery Handbook
by John Gist (Editor), et al

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