How Can I make my greenhouse its best?

Different tips to make it more efficient, proper space for plants, proper light,
when to heat and not

There are numerous ways of making your greenhouse more efficient and a better return for your investment.

The first question which needs to be answered, however is, “What does it need to be efficient for?” The answer to that should be in line with your goals and priorities for your greenhouse.

As an example, if you are not going to be growing in the winter, you will not need to make the structure “heat efficient” but you will need to ensure that it is “snow efficient”. If you are growing in the greenhouse through the summer time, the efficiency of your ventilation system is critical.

Making your structure more heat efficient (summer perspective) will be expanded on in post #5 and more heat efficient (winter perspective) will be expand on in post #6.

When you intend to start plants in early spring and then move the greenhouse to start another crop, the moving process can be made more efficient by installing “skis” under the base.

Anchoring concerns are touched on in post #3. This is also a way of making more efficient use of your property with investing in more greenhouse space.

When you implement a trellising program, you will make more efficient use of the floor space in your greenhouse. It is important to consider the need for your plant load being balanced on your structure.

Another important thing to be mindful of is the shading that is created when you implement vertical growing. Under certain conditions you may need to consider supplemental lighting to make things grow.

One consideration that is important to be mindful of as well, is that in the confined space of a greenhouse, you can not grow everything. This is not just a space limitation, but a climate limitation.

Certain plants prefer it warm and some like it cool. Other plants prefer wet and others dry. It will be more efficient use of your greenhouse if you collaborate with a like minded person. You grow more of certain things and the friend does likewise and then you trade the extras.

Here is to working together and growing together!

We hope you are finding value in this series of posts, helping you prepare for your new growing adventure! Reminder that the deadline is May 31st for Fall Delivery. We look forward to working with you for your projects!

The benefits of going to a bigger structure

What are some of the benefits of going with a bigger structure over a smaller structure?

Budget often dictates that someone needs to start small, especially when a person is just starting out as a grower with a greenhouse.
There is also the perceived notion that staying smaller means less heating cost. In itself, that is true, since heat loss is in direct proportion to surface area exposed to the outside.

As I have mentioned before, it is very important to weigh expense
against return.

A smaller air volume has less natural circulation.
Proper air circulation for plants is critical regardless of the season.
Think of a deep pond versus a shallow pond. The deep pond never has algae on the surface because of the increased movement.

Going with a taller greenhouse will automatically increase the circulation the same way.

Another point to consider with a taller greenhouse, is that there is more open space above the plants.

This open space is where moisture can go, away from the plants even before the greenhouse ventilation system does its job.

With a lower greenhouse, moisture is always in close proximity to the plants. In a taller structure, the plants will be dry much sooner.

Moist plants in a stagnant air mass are prone to disease. These plants will, as a result, produce less.

As always, be aware of the bigger picture.

Grow Better, Not Bigger Workshops in Nova Scotia with Jean-Martin Fortier

In late July we had an opportunity of participating in two workshops in Nova Scotia where Jean-Martin Fortier was the featured speaker sharing in his philosophy and practices behind his book “The Market Gardener” (click here to purchase your own copy). Abundant Acres was the host farm on July 27 and Bethany Acres on July 28. Both farms have Multi Shelter greenhouses and tunnels. With 50 people in attendance at both locations, it was a wonderful opportunity of interacting with existing and potential customers. We thank everyone that was able to come out, or expressed interest in what went on.

The very unique approach to very intensive food production which Jean-Martin has documented in his book, has made it very popular. He has gotten amazing production and results from his 1-1/2 acres plot of land. Between his CSAs and two farmers markets, Jean-Martin, his wife and a couple seasonal employees are supplying approximately 220 families with weekly fresh vegetables. He does not own or use traditional tractor or rotor tiller. The center point of his land is the greenhouses and processing station with everything efficiently laid out around that.

A cornerstone to his philosophy and practices has to do with proper care and stewardship of the land. A lot of importance is placed on feeding the soil properly and giving the existing organisms in the soil proper chance to do the work they were created for. Everything is grown on 30” wide raised beds that are 100’ long with 18” wide aisles. Compost is added to the top of the bed and then very lightly worked in. Clear and black plastic are used in succession to trigger and kill weeds ahead of planting time.

Another point which Jean-Martin stresses over and over is efficiency. Everything is analyzed very carefully so that all the processes can be done at maximum efficiency. Crops that require the most attention are the closest and crops that require minimal attention are to the outer edges. Heavy feeding crops are always followed by a light feeding crop. During the down time in the winter, the results are further analyzed and everything is planned for including location and timing. No detail is too small not to be documented during the growing season so that it can be analyzed for better efficiency.

The workshops were a wonderful opportunity of learning things that are important to our customers to further guide them in finding their proper greenhouse solution during the purchase process and also learning the value and benefit of efficiency and prioritizing. We urge you to check out Jean-Martin’s book, and call us to help work out all your custom greenhouse solutions!

east coast greenhouses