Author Topic: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)  (Read 5890 times)

mozar

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Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« on: September 18, 2015, 04:23:57 PM »
I would like to get a greenhouse next summer. I live in the mid-atlantic. I read somewhere that I should have an opaque covering/ceiling/roof. I would like to have tomatoes, and some of them died this summer from overheating. But if I were to put the tomatoes under an opaque covering how would they get sun?
Here is an example (scroll midway):
http://www.sherrysgreenhouse.com/

PlantLady

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2015, 08:25:59 PM »
If you build a greenhouse like that with the poly cover, you typically take it the cover off during the summer - or at least roll the sides up to help dissipate the heat. Shade cloth over the top can help cut back on the heat gain, but it doesn't make sense to use it if you're intending to grow tomatoes.

worms

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 12:10:49 AM »
I live in the mid-atlantic.

Lol!  I appreciate that over your side of the pond the term mid-Atlantic means something different but across here it means half-way across from us to you - a challenging place to grow tomatoes!

With regard to greenhouse shade/temperature control, as mentioned  above, with a poly-tunnel you will need to control temperature with air-flow and if that doesn't do it, then some form of additional shade.  We're not talking about black-out curtains, but shade netting like this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Green-Heavy-Duty-SHADE-WINDBREAK-NETTING-3ft-4ft-6ft-High-Greenhouse-Fence-/291380164253 possibly fixed to only a portion of the tunnel.

MsPeacock

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 05:19:28 AM »
There are varieties of tomatoes that are very heat tolerant. Generally tomatoes will also hold up well under fairly dry conditions too. I wonder if something else caused your plants to die? I ask because I grew tomatoes for years in baking hot San Antonio Texas heat and they thrived. It was important to make sure they got enough water, but other than that the heat wasn't an issue. Some varieties will not set fruit in hot temps, you do have to select for that (Celebrity was one that did very well). Maybe talk with the agricultural extension or the master gardeners program in your area for suggestions before going to the trouble and expense of building a greenhouse?

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2015, 09:30:02 AM »
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Lol!  I appreciate that over your side of the pond the term mid-Atlantic means something different but across here it means half-way across from us to you - a challenging place to grow tomatoes!

Sorry, I was thinking of USA gardening zones.

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I wonder if something else caused your plants to die?

I put my big boy tomato plant in a pot in the sunniest part of my yard. I think that the root system couldn't get big enough to support the plant. And it went kaput on a very hot day. My cherry plant next to it is still fine. Right now I only have space for two plants. i would like to take a large bush out of the sunniest place in my yard so I can put in garden beds. I would like to put a greenhouse over that so I can extend the season.

Rezdent

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2015, 09:45:07 AM »
For garden beds, have you considered Agribon?
It can be used with or without hoops, allows light through, and can be reused for several years.  For crop extensions, it is so much easier than a greenhouse.

MsPeacock

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2015, 10:37:06 AM »
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Lol!  I appreciate that over your side of the pond the term mid-Atlantic means something different but across here it means half-way across from us to you - a challenging place to grow tomatoes!

Sorry, I was thinking of USA gardening zones.

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I wonder if something else caused your plants to die?

I put my big boy tomato plant in a pot in the sunniest part of my yard. I think that the root system couldn't get big enough to support the plant. And it went kaput on a very hot day. My cherry plant next to it is still fine. Right now I only have space for two plants. i would like to take a large bush out of the sunniest place in my yard so I can put in garden beds. I would like to put a greenhouse over that so I can extend the season.

I have never had any success w/ tomato plants in containers. They are very prone to drying out, overheating the roots, or over watering and drowning due to poor drainage, and tomatoes are very large plants. Tear that bush out and get a bed going in your sunny spot!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2015, 11:35:03 AM »
I think the pot was your problem. We had a dry summer so that didn't help. Recall that tomatoes are native to Mexico. They generally don't mind heat.

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2015, 12:02:59 PM »
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For garden beds, have you considered Agribon?

No, I haven't. I'll have to watch a video to understand it. But I added it to my amazon wishlist.

But why would a greenhouse be hard? And I've always fantasized about being able to tie rope from the ceiling to support tomatoes, rather than have to stake in the ground.

Rezdent

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2015, 12:36:22 PM »
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For garden beds, have you considered Agribon?

No, I haven't. I'll have to watch a video to understand it. But I added it to my amazon wishlist.

But why would a greenhouse be hard? And I've always fantasized about being able to tie rope from the ceiling to support tomatoes, rather than have to stake in the ground.
Greenhouses aren't hard, but they are another maintenance item and they cost money.  They are either stationary with the costs of mainaining, or you take them up and put them down for storage in off use.

Full disclosure.  I have a very nice permanent greenhouse which I only use now in winter.
Running and maintenance costs are significant, even with all the passive help I could add.

I've no experience with staking tomatoes.  We use homemade wire cages that are over 20 years old now.  Easy to make, last forever, PITA to store off season.

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2015, 05:03:15 PM »
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They are either stationary with the costs of maintaining

What do you have to maintain on a stationary greenhouse?

Rezdent

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2015, 07:01:21 PM »
For ours, which is some kind of hard plastic siding:
Some siding cracked, needed replacement.
The wax automatic window openers need inspection/maintenance and we've already replaced several.
Even with the automatic vents, it gets too hot in the summer, so we have thermostat controlled exhaust fans
Winter, we have to watch the weather, if it dips below 28 then auxiliary heat is needed.
We're currently using one electric oil heater, but we lose plants sometimes, we really need two.
Plants in the greenhouse generally need more water.
The heat and fans mean higher electric bills, plus we use heat mats to start seeds.  The need to water more often means higher water bills.

I still love the greenhouse but I avoid starting it up unless it is needed.

Tom Bri

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2015, 08:08:44 PM »
Tomatoes like heat and dry, so that probably wasn't your trouble. Like others said, it was most likely the pot. Water the young plants well, but as they start producing, they need little water.
By the way, I never stake or tie mine, just let them ramble about on the ground. Works fine but I do lose a lot to bugs and mice. This year the tomatoes went crazy, literally hundreds sprouted all over the garden from last year's squashed ones. They completely have taken over everything, and we can't give away all we are getting.

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2015, 08:19:09 PM »
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Plants in the greenhouse generally need more water.

Why?

What kind of heat mat do you use to start seeds?

I don't think I want to garden when it goes below 30F at night anyway. So that shouldn't be a problem.

I also am thinking about the fact that the place where I was thinking of putting beds stops getting sun past 3pm starting in mid-September. So maybe I should put the beds where there is sun later into the season. But that would mean terraced beds.

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They completely have taken over everything, and we can't give away all we are getting.

This is my ultimate fantasy. I could never get enough tomatoes. Maybe I should do a terrace.

Rezdent

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2015, 09:12:03 AM »
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Plants in the greenhouse generally need more water.

Why?

I'm not sure but I definitely have to water the same plants more often when I move them to the greenhouse.  Possibly warmer temps, lower humidity?

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What kind of heat mat do you use to start seeds?

I use some old heating pads scavenged from yard sales for years, but when we started scaling up I got something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-MT10006-19-1-2-Inch-Seedling/dp/B0001WV010

Left

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2015, 09:16:39 AM »
being a green house, the heat concentrates inside and well, water evaporates... at least this is what I guess is happening. That and it doesn't get the rain water either

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2015, 12:53:27 PM »
thanks for the link

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 03:45:24 PM »
If you're planning to grow tomatoes inside the greenhouse all year, rather than just using it as a cloche for season extension, be sure to get varieties bred for greenhouses.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 07:47:22 PM »
There are tomatoes that are bred to grow in pots - things like Tiny Tim and Tumbling Tom (variety names are from memory so could be off).  Regular tomatoes can easily have roots going 4 feet down, which means they are getting water that is not near the surface.

birdie55

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2015, 08:53:59 PM »
Superbush from Renee's garden is a good container full size tomato.  I've grown it in a half barrel a few times and got a good amount of tomatoes.  While it isn't necessarily a determinate tomato, it does ripen a lot of tomatoes at once. 

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 09:16:56 PM »
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tomatoes can easily have roots going 4 feet down

didn't know that.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2015, 08:13:15 AM »
When you pull up the dead vines in the fall you will only see the big roots, the little ones break off  (and if you wonder if your peas and beans have active rhizobium bacteria fixing nitrogen, the nodules will be dead too if you wait to look until the plants are dead).

For those of us on clay, plants with deep roots are wonderful.  They open up channels in the soil which allow air and water in, allow soil organisms to move around,the dead roots add organic material at a depth we can't do.  Alfalfa is great for this as well, but it is perennial (so can become a weed) and likes a fairly neutral soil (my soil is on the acid side).

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tomatoes can easily have roots going 4 feet down

didn't know that.

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2015, 08:54:05 AM »
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rhizobium bacteria fixing nitrogen

What do these words mean?

I don't have clay soil.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2015, 09:10:03 AM »
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rhizobium bacteria fixing nitrogen

What do these words mean?

I don't have clay soil.

Some plants encourage certain bacteria to grow in their roots, because these bacteria are able to convert nitrogen in the atmosphere to nitrogen compounds that plants can use. Nitrogen fertilizer skips the bacteria and just dumps usable ("fixed") nitrogen into the soil.

mozar

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Re: Dumb question about greenhouses (gardening)
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2015, 09:15:10 AM »
oh, ok.