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Newsletters & Company News

Greenhouse Newsletter - Preparing a Greenhouse Floor

August 1st, 2006:


August 2006
Volume 16


Victory Gardens
Growing Peppers in the Greenhouse
Is a Greenhouse Base a Floor?

Preparing a Greenhouse Floor
Let our Greenhouse Expertise Work for You


August has arrived, and has brought welcome cooler temperatures for some of us. During the month of August, I like to begin preparing my greenhouse for fall and winter use. I begin by cleaning the greenhouse inside and out. I find that a quick hose down with cleaning solution is both quick and easy. I ensure that I have all of my supplies handy and ready to use.
These include potting trays, pots, soil, gloves, stakes, seed tags, water repellent markers and a variety of hand tools. I will be over-wintering my favorite tropical plants such as my Blue Hibiscus and Lime Tree along with many others. I will use my bench space for growing new plants from seed, and am looking forward to growing tomatoes and cucumbers over the winter. I always have a small bistro table and chairs set up in the greenhouse. It's a great place to enjoy a morning coffee or a glass of wine in the evening!

Victory Gardens

I'd like to thank Syd, of Guelph, Ontario, who sent me an email expressing his comments on my Victory Gardens article. Syd writes:
"Thank you for the enjoyably, and for me heart warming, "Victory Garden" article. We (our family of "six kids") had one and I still do. Mine now (at 65) is a victory for my parents who cared, loved, nurtured and taught me love, respect, honor and integrity. My thoughts went back to our victory garden at Water Street, Guelph. Ont."
Again thanks.


Thank you Syd for submitting your beautiful photo of a rose from your own "victory garden".
If you have any photos or stories of your own "victory garden", please email shelley@ecolad.com We'd love to hear from you.

Growing Peppers in the Greenhouse

Want to pick a peck of peppers? The ideal container size for growing peppers is five gallons or larger. The larger the container, the larger the pepper plant will grow. If your container is too small, growth will be restricted, limiting foliage and flower production. Smaller containers will require more frequent watering, and lighter colored pots will reflect more solar energy and keep the roots of the plant cooler.
Smaller podded varieties that adapt best to container growing in smaller pots are chiltepins, Tabasco's and ornamentals.


The optimal temperature for pepper seed germination is between 80 and 85 degrees F. After germination, the greenhouse temperature should be lowered to about 75 degrees F. A relative humidity of 75 percent is ideal for pepper growth. Higher humidity can encourage disease development.
Ensure that plants do not dry out and wilt between waterings. Some commercial potting soils often dry out quickly. A good soil formula is: 1 part perlite, 1 part sand, 1 part vermiculite, 3 parts commercial potting soil and 3 parts garden soil.
Peppers in pots generally need a little more fertilizing than those outdoors. Once a week during the early growing season, feed with your preferred solution. Fish emulsion also works for organic gardeners. If blossoms are dropping off, too much nitrogen has been used and the pot should be flushed by running a lot of water through it.
Harvest peppers with a sharp knife, cutting the junction between the fruit stem and the main stem. Pick fruit when they are 85 - 90 percent colored since additional ripening occurs off the vine.

Good cultivars for greenhouse growing include:

Red: Cubico, Mazurka, Delphin
Green to Orange: Eagle, Arianne
Green to Yellow: Kelvin, Goldflame, Rarantella, Luteus
Purple: Violetta


Is a Greenhouse Base a Floor?
One of the most misunderstood elements of hobby greenhouse kits is the greenhouse base. Many people believe the greenhouse base is the floor, however, this is not the case.
All hobby greenhouses should sit on a base. The base is generally about 4" high, supports the framework and keeps the door up off the ground for ease in opening and closing. Many hobby greenhouses come with sturdy bases constructed of aluminum or galvanized steel. However, there are also many greenhouse kits that do not include a base. If a base is not included, you will need to build one using rot resistant lumber. Be sure to ask for the exact measurements if you are building your own base.


Preparing a Greenhouse Floor

Before you build the floor, remember to plan for any gas, water or electrical lines that may be coming up through your floor. Here are simple and easy instructions for creating a greenhouse floor that is both attractive and economical:

Step 1: Remove all sod/earth down about 6 inches over the entire area where the greenhouse will sit.

Step 2: Trench into the ground a vertical frame using rot resistant lumber that measures 2" x 6". This frame needs to be the exact size as the greenhouse base. You can than drill through the base and attach it securely to your trenched frame.

Step 3: Begin floor preparations by covering the entire floor area with landscape cloth.

Step 4: Cover the landscape cloth with 1 - 2 inches of sand or small gravel.

Step 5: Cover with a layer of Styrofoam. Ensure that you are using Styrofoam suitable for this purpose. Ask at the store before you bring it home. If you just use the "white kind" you may end up with mildew on your floor. This step is optional and is best used for greenhouses in colder climates as it adds extra insulation.
Step 6: Cover with another layer of sand or small gravel.

Step 7: Lay down the patio stone of your choice. You can use blocks, bricks, flagstone, pea stone.just about anything!

Step 8: Fill in any cracks with pea stone or small gravel (screenings). This is best done by sweeping into place.

Step 9: Water down the floor. This will rid the floor of dust and settle your floor Into place.

Step 10: Relax and admire your work! You've just created a "floating patio" for your greenhouse that provides insulation and good drainage.


Let our Greenhouse Expertise Work for You

There are many types of greenhouse kits available, so how do you decide what's best for you. It's important to choose a greenhouse that will best suit your needs. Are you concerned with appearance? Do you prefer glass or polycarbonate? What are your seasonal temperatures? Do you plan on using the greenhouse year round? If so, what are you planning on growing? Do you need to supply the greenhouse with heat and/or water? Will you be able to build a greenhouse kit yourself? Let us help you out. We'll gladly answer all of your questions, just email shelley@ecolad.com or call toll free 1-800-665-2124


Thinking about getting your own greenhouse? If you live in a climate with winter temperatures, now is the time to order. If you don't have your greenhouse up and running in the fall, you will likely miss the spring season as well. A good rule of thumb when ordering a greenhouse - always order 1 - 2 seasons before you actually want to use your greenhouse!
Backyard Greenhouses
A div. of Ecolad Corporation

Written By: Shelley Awad
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