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Just One More Greenhouse – Please

As anyone who owns a greenhouse – or coldframe – or tunnel house – knows, there is always a desire to have just a little more growing space. Some seeds need cold stratification to germinate, some seeds need heat to germinate. Some seeds can take two to three years to germinate – and the list goes on. Having different growing houses setup to accomadate the different propagation needs  or growing requirements the seeds or plants you are working with need is ideal – however not everyone has this much space, time or money to invest.

As a hobby grower, I have found I simply do not have adequate space – even with four greenhouses and a tunnel house (for winter vegetables). In years past, the extra seeds that I could not sow were simply stored – and eventually I ended up giving them to someone else because I knew I simply could not keep them forever.

This year, I have added two small Culti-Caves and a small walk-in greenhouse to the mix. The Culti-Caves and one of the small walk-in greenhouses are being used for winter sowing. This is an ideal way to sow perennial seeds in soil blocks or flats, protect them from the elements and give me a semi-warm, dry place to work with them. After all, even winter-sown seeds need to be checked on to make sure the soil remains moist and to monitor germination.

One of the small greenhouses – as well as the two larger ones – are heated. Of course, my large one is still in the process of being repaired, so it is down this year, but it is used to pot plants up and grow larger plants instead of being used as a propagation house. By adding shelves I can increase the space I have to start seedlings or cuttings. The problem comes when those plants begin to grow – and this is where a larger (or extra) greenhouse comes in handy. In fact, to save on the heating bill, I heat as needed – in other words, I start the winter out with just one greenhouse heated. As plants germinate or root and more space is required, I add heat to the other greenhouses – one at a time. It is the only way to manage this many greenhouses on a budget.

To grow plants or start seeds that need even more heat than what you can provide – such as tropicals, tomatoes, peppers or other warm weather crops, consider adding those stand-alone greenhouses that look like a shelving unit with plastic over them. Place these inside of your heated greenhouse and you will find they will create a micro-climate that is warmer than the greenhouse itself. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside so you do not overheat the seeds or seedlings. The plastic covering will also cause moister to build up, so unzipping the plastic front from time to time to vent it may be necessary.



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