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Newsletters & Company News

Greenhouse Newsletter - Winter Greenhouses

October 1st, 2006:

GREENHOUSE GAB

October 2006
Volume 18

IN THIS ISSUE

October Activities for the Greenhouse
October Garden Projects
Grow Your Own Pumpkins
We've Got Mail

 


Preparing the greenhouse for winter makes October a busy month for all gardeners! It's time to clean up the garden, complete final pruning and plant division and winterize the greenhouse. In this issue, we've listed October's top projects for both the garden and the greenhouse. Pumpkin growing can be a fun activity for the entire family. It's too late this year, but find out how you can grow your own for next year's festivities. We've also received photos from one of our customers who purchased a Silverline lean-to atrium. You'll want to see the great job they did building their greenhouse.

October Activities for the Greenhouse

While a greenhouse is fun and relaxing, it requires care in keeping it clean, healthy and usable. To help you gain even more enjoyment from your greenhouse this winter, read on for tips to complete during the month of October.

 

 
The first thing you will want to do is ensure that your greenhouse is prepped and ready to protect tender plants from the cooler weather that is just around the corner. It is best to prune all plants back about one third when they are brought into the greenhouse. This is also an ideal time to check for disease or pests (all pests should be immediately removed). Repot plants into a light potting mix if the soil is no longer fresh.
 
If you are over-wintering flowering bulbs, ensure the bulbs are clean, dry and spread out on screen trays. Even water lily bulbs can be over-wintered. Remove them from their soil, wash them and place them in a zip lock bag that is half filled with moist sand. These will need to be stored at about 55 degrees F.
 
Get all of your greenhouse tools ready for use. Wash them and remove all dirt. Sharpen those that need it. Store them where they are easily found.
 
Help insulate your greenhouse by adding a layer of 1" Styrofoam, bubble wrap, clear plastic or bales of hay. For additional solar heating, place milk jugs filled with water. Remember, don't seal your greenhouse up so that there is no air ventilation.
 
Disable your solar powered roof vents when cold weather arrives. You don't want them letting warm air escape during the day when you will need it for night time temperatures.

October Garden Projects

 

 
Make sure everything is well watered during October. Many plants will not make it through a cold winter if the soil is too dry. Take the time to test your soil for moistness and water everything thoroughly.
 
Now is the time to get your Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus to bloom for the holidays. Put them in a spot indoors where they will get 10 hours of bright light and 14 hours of total darkness daily. The room temperature should not be above 70 degrees F for Poinsettias and cooler (60 degrees F) for Christmas Cactus.
 
Now is the time to plant bulbs for a spring flowering garden. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus are some of our favorites. Use a good potting soil and fertilizer. Generally, bulbs should be planted in the soil two or three times deeper than the greatest diameter of the bulb (about 6 inches down for tulips and daffodils, and 3 inches down for crocus and grape hyacinth).
 
October is a great time to give the lawn some additional care with fertilizer. IF your lawn needs to be thatched or aerated, do this prior to fertilizing. New grass seed can be added if needed.
 
Fallen leaves and old vegetable plants are wonderful to add to the compost pile to use in next year's garden. You can even spade these items direct into your garden soil where they will compost on their own over winter.
Eliminate weeds and do a general clean up of your garden. Prune back any perennials that have died off.
 
Add some color to your October garden or window boxes by planting mums, flowering kale/cabbage, icicle pansies or michaelmas daisies.
 
Bring in your tender plants before the frost gets to them. These include geraniums, begonias, impatiens and daisies. Harvest all your vegetables before they are damaged by frost.
 
October is ideal for planting or transplanting many plants, trees and shrubs. Plants will experience a minimum amount of shock as they enter their dormant stage. You can usually find good bargains at your local nursery as well!

Grow Your Own Pumpkins

When my son was small, we always had our own little pumpkin patch. We only produced three or four pumpkins at best, but it was exciting to watch them grow. Children and adults alike find it especially rewarding when you can use your own home grown pumpkin to carve up for Halloween festivities.

 

The trick is to produce the largest vine possible (12 or more feet) no later than the first week of July. The first thing you will need to do is soil preparation. Any kind of well drained deep loam is best to use. Make a large flat topped mound that is approximately 4 feet around and 3 feet high. The planting hole should be about 8 inches deep and slant the walls of the hole so that they don't cave in. Place a flat rock or piece of slate on top of the soil in the center of the hole. This will deflect water and protect the root system. Cover the outside walls of the mound with black plastic to increase heat from the sun. Keep the inside watered even before planting to prevent the walls from drying out and caving in. You can also warm up your soil by using a cold frame or window.

Plant your seeds as early as you can in April. If there is still danger of frost a cold frame is preferred, protecting your seed starting. This is the perfect time to start the seeds in the greenhouse.  The warmer you keep the soil, the better chances you have for quick germination. Plant the seeds about 1" deep around the bottom edge of the hole and closer to the outside walls. Plant about 10 seeds. Keep your soil wet. If there is risk of frost, throw a blanket over the seeds.

After your plants have sprouted and there is no danger of frost, erect a wall of plastic or use a window to create a wind barrier. When the plants begin to send runners over the top of the mound, tie them down in two directions with twine looped around the vine. Make sure you allow enough room for growth. A wind break around a pumpkin patch is always recommended for better results.

As the plants crowd each other, you'll need to begin thinning them out. Once the plants have three to four leaves you should be down to four plants, one on each side of the hole. When the plants have four foot vines, thin down to one. You can only grow a really big pumpkin by thinning down to one plant! You just have to hope you pulled the small one out! Let the pumpkin mature, keep it on the vine a week after it stops growing and let it harden off. This prevents early spoilage.

Remember to take this project on for the spring, especially if you have small children or grandchildren.

We've Got Mail

 

 


 

Special thanks to our customers Mike and Denise in Copperas Cove, Texas for sending in photos of their greenhouse. Mike and Denise purchased a Silverline Lean-to Greenhouse measuring 6'5" wide x 12'7" long and 7"9" high. As you can see from the photos, they did a great job in adding greenhouse space direct to their home, and creating additional height by using a kneewall. This greenhouse is sure to give Mike and Denise many years of enjoyment!

 
Backyard Greenhouses
A div. of Ecolad Corporation
1-800-665-2124




Written By: Shelley Awad
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