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Five Common Greenhouse Growing Problems

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 1 Sep 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Garden Pests Insects Aphid Temperature

Growing plants within the confines of a greenhouse sadly doesn’t make them immune to problems. Although plants are protected to a degree from the harsh effects of the natural world, a variety of problems can occur that can cause havoc and stress for greenhouse growers. We take a look at five common greenhouse growing problems and offer ideas and inspiration for solving them and, where applicable, preventing them from occurring in the first place.

1.Overheating

Greenhouses provide a warm and sheltered environment for gardeners to grow plants, but in order to provide the best conditions for your plants, you do need to keep an eye on the temperature.

It’s easy for greenhouses to get too warm – and hot temperatures are not always a good mix with your tender young plants. A rising temperature tends not to be too much of an issue during British winters, but when sunnier days arrive, and temperatures soar, you need to keep an eye on your greenhouse to ensure things don’t get too hot inside.

A comfortable temperature is about 65F to 70F, but if it rises to over 80F, then plants could suffer. To help avoid heat-related plant problems, especially during the summer, ensure you prop open the door or windows to improve ventilation.

2.Damp and Condensation

Ensuring greenhouse grown plants get plenty of water is of course important, but a greenhouse needs to be kept well ventilated to ensure it doesn’t become damp. During the winter months especially, when the weather is cold, there’s even more of a risk of damp issues occurring in a greenhouse.

Being in a damp environment isn’t great for the plants, but even more so as condensation runs the risk of becoming a breeding ground for mildew, fungi and mould. Whilst a bit of mould around your windows might not seem like a big deal, mildew and fungi around plants is much more of a problem and could lead to stunted growth of many plants.

To help reduce the risk of your greenhouse becoming a hotbed of fungi, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature and consider introducing some extra sources of warmth if the inside is showing signs of becoming damp during the winter. For example, a simple heater turned on inside the building, even on a low heat, can help reduce the condensation issue and reduce the risk of mildew, fungi or mould forming.

3.Pests

It’s nice to think that plants growing within the confines of your greenhouse are immune to the usual throe of garden pests, but sadly not. Somehow the insects and aphids still manage to find your most tender plants and attack when you least expect.

Keeping on top of garden pests is something all gardeners need to keep abreast of, especially when using a greenhouse. Sometimes pests can be even more of a pain when inside a greenhouse, as the natural elements and wildlife (wind, rain and birds) can’t remove them in the same way that they can when outside in the open air.

To help reduce the risk of greenhouse growing problems due to pests, keep a regular check on your plants. Lift the leaves and check underneath them for signs of insects laying eggs and tackle any problems you do find with your chosen insect eradication method.

If plants already seem to be diseased as a result of insect or aphid infestation, consider removing the badly affected plants from the greenhouse so they can’t further contaminate your healthy specimens. Also check new plants before you put them inside your greenhouse.

4.Cleanliness

A clean greenhouse is a healthy greenhouse, but as it’s a working environment, a greenhouse can easily get dirty and untidy. Soil, dirt and mud can get ground into the floor, as can fallen leaves from plants and dust and dirt can blow in through the door or windows.

Not only will cleaning and tidying your greenhouse make it a better environment for you to tend your plants in, but it will become a better growing environment for your plants too, as the risk of disease, pests and infection should be reduced.

5.Scorching

No greenhouse gardener wants to find their plants have become scorched, but sadly it can be a common problem.

The glass of a greenhouse is great for providing the heat from sunlight that plants need, but without some shade on the windows, plants left in direct sunlight can end up becoming scorched.

This problem can be easily solved by using nets on the inside windows of a greenhouse, or you can get specialist paint to apply to the windows to add some shading.

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