Who doesn’t want to grow their own organic food? If you have been considering starting an organic greenhouse at home that’s family friendly and productive all year long, this is your 101 guide!
If you’ve been considering starting your organic greenhouse garden, this guide is to ensure that is above all productive. For this, it’s key to know how much water different plants need and when to plant them to produce at their peak time.
What is an organic greenhouse
The concept of organic greenhouse farming is a system that excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators. Organic farmers rely heavily on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, organic wastes, legumes, green manures, and mineral-bearing rocks to feed the soil and supply plant nutrients.
These tips will help you create your own family-friendly organic garden that produces delicious and healthy food for your veggie meals all year long!
Best strategies to grow organic produce in a greenhouse
It is important to prepare your greenhouse well before you plant. This will include:
- Cleaning all the glass and removing any debris from inside and outside of the greenhouse.
- Setting up a watering system to water your plants.
- Make sure it has an automatic shutoff in case a flood occurs from overwatering.
- It is also necessary to build or buy shelves for storing tools, pots, and other gardening supplies so they are easy to access when needed for planting, fertilizing, or weeding.
A good place to start with growing an organic garden is by purchasing quality soil that has been organically enriched with nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium, and nitrogen through bio-degradable means such as composting or manures.
There are many options for organic fertilizers such as manure, compost, bone meal, or worm castings that you can add to your soil before you begin planting. Organic fertilizers will boost plants, so they grow bigger and more plentiful than if you used chemical-based fertilizers.
Once it comes time for harvesting vegetables, you don’t want to spend all of your time pulling weeds out of the garden bed between each plant; therefore, mulching is recommended. Mulch can be made from dried grass clippings or vegetable leftovers chopped up in an electric blender (such as cucumber skins).
If desired, you can use straw instead of hay, but hay tends to work best because it decomposes slowly and provides nutrients to the plants.
Creating a garden bed
When creating a garden bed, it is important to maximize space to have enough room for all your vegetables. The best way to do this is by using raised beds made from wood, stone, or plastic. If you choose wooden boxes, use untreated lumber to not leach chemicals into the soil and water that you use on your plants.
However, if you decide to go with plastic, it should be UV resistant which will help prevent eventual cracking. Raised beds are beneficial because they warm up earlier in spring than ground soil as well as drain better in case of heavy rains; however, there are many different ways to create an organic garden depending on what part of the country you live in and how much time, money and effort you are willing to put up.
Some practical tips for growing an organic garden include:
- Plant vegetables that grow best in your region or ones that do not require a lot of work to harvest because the labor involved is time-consuming.
- Ensure you have more than one variety of each plant because if some fail due to disease, pests, or other circumstances, there will still be others producing.
- Use plastic sheeting placed over the top of the garden bed when it is very wet outside, so water does not run off and waste valuable nutrients on the ground.
- Keep your tools organized and easy to find, so they don’t get lost in garden beds, and make them out of wood to avoid rusting.
If you are limited on space and can’t expand your greenhouse horizontally, many systems will give you extra planting space. These vertical growing systems include structures such as:
- Growing racks are ideal for indoor settings. These racks are made out of durable materials that won’t degrade with time. They are an ideal structure to bind light fixtures to and allow you to grow a considerable amount of plants in a smaller space.
- Growing towers (6.5 -20 feet tall) – plants grow up the tower, so it takes up the least amount of floor space. However, temperature control can be difficult with this system because the sun shines directly on top of the plants all day.
- Ladder gardens use slanted wooden boards placed next to each other and have holes in them for staking plants or attaching netting for insect protection.
- Crop racks are short metal frames with a few shelves attached for pots at different heights and widths, making harvesting easier but requires more upkeep, such as watering and pest control.
Greenhouses, Hoop Houses, or High Tunnels
For gardeners who have limited space either due to a small yard or in an apartment but still want to grow their own vegetables, there are ways to make it work by using greenhouses as starting points for seedlings until they can be transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed.
Greenhouses are very versatile structures that can be built in many different shapes and sizes; however, the most common are those that resemble large tents made from metal frames covered with plastic sheeting, which allows you to get some necessary sunlight while keeping pests out.
If you live in an area where there is only a short growing season, you may need a greenhouse to start your plants early.