Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners – Where To Start

The best way to extend the growing season and get a head start on your plant growth is by embarking on the rewarding journey of greenhouse gardening for beginners.

To maximize the benefits of indoor gardening and enjoy a delightful journey, it’s essential to thoroughly assess the conditions, temperatures, and moisture requirements of your chosen plants.

This comprehensive guide will help you to create the ideal environment for growing vegetables, growing fruit, and taking your indoor gardening to the next level. 

This guide contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will receive a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. 

Greenhouse gardening for beginners infographic.

Benefits of Greenhouse Gardening for Beginners

Having your own greenhouse gives you easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. Aside from growing your own produce, it provides a sanctuary for indulging in exotic plant varieties and basking in the warmth of the sun, especially during the colder months.

Seed starting in a greenhouse gives gardeners the ability to start plants in the cold weather and reap the rewards of having well-established plants in early spring and extend the life of plants past late autumn. 

For plant enthusiasts having a greenhouse is a good way to create a controlled environment for a wide array of plant species and unleash your creativity in gardening all year long. 

greenhouse gardening for beginners.

Selecting the Right Greenhouse

There are many different types of greenhouses to choose from so it is a great idea to consider your needs before deciding on a new greenhouse. 

Small Greenhouse– From a popup greenhouse to a walk-in greenhouse, for those with small spaces a little greenhouse is a great way to protect plants from extreme weather conditions without taking up too much space. 

Beginner gardeners can choose a walk-in greenhouse with built-in shelves and a roll-up zipper door to provide an enclosed space for their plants on a budget.

Build your own hoop house using greenhouse kits or for smaller spaces such as a balcony garden consider a tunnel house or a portable greenhouse

Lean-to-Greenhouse– Another type of greenhouse to consider for those with a small space is the lean-to greenhouse.

Choose from a wooden greenhouse, a portable lean-to, a lean-to with a steel frame and PVC Cover, or lean-to polycarbonate greenhouses.  

Freestanding Greenhouses– For those with larger spaces, a 6 x 8 greenhouse with polycarbonate panels and roof vents is a great budget-friendly option. Another low-cost option is a 6×6 polycarbonate greenhouse with a lockable door and adjustable roof vent. 

Luxury Greenhouses: For those who want to enjoy the joys of greenhouse gardening in luxury, a 14x10x9 FT Polycarbonate Greenhouse with double swing doors may be exactly what you need.

An Aluminum Polycarbonate Greenhouse offers plenty of natural light to allow you to grow a large garden through the Winter months. 

diy plant humidifier

The Best Greenhouse Plants

Tomatoes: Tomatoes thrive in the controlled environment of a greenhouse. You can extend the growing season past the Summer months and enjoy a variety of tomato types all year long in a greenhouse.

Cucumbers: Cucumbers also do well in greenhouses. They require warmth and protection from outdoor pests so be sure to add grow lights and heat sources for these tender plants.

Peppers: Both sweet and hot peppers grow successfully in greenhouses, and benefit from consistent temperatures that mimic the warmer months that only a greenhouse can provide. 

Herbs: Herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro grow wonderfully in greenhouses, allowing you to have fresh herbs outside of the Summer months.

Lettuce and Greens: Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula are fairly easy plants to grow and do not need much space, so these are great plants for a mini greenhouse. 

Strawberries: Growing strawberries in a greenhouse can yield delicious fruits throughout the year and making use of vertical gardening with these plants is a good idea for saving space. 

Citrus Trees: In a climate-controlled greenhouse, you can grow citrus trees and tropical plants using their native soil. A greenhouse allows those in colder regions to add these kinds of unusual plants to their home garden. 

Exotic Plants: Greenhouses are ideal for nurturing exotic plants that may not survive in your local climate. Consider planting orchids, tropical flowers, or unusual succulents to take advantage of the full potential of your garden. 

Microgreens: Microgreens like arugula, radish, and mustard are a quick way to grow your own vegetables and are perfect for a small greenhouse.

Temperature Control

Controlling the temperature in a greenhouse is one of the most important aspects of successful greenhouse gardening. Temperature affects the growth, health, and yield of your plants.

There are several key strategies you can employ to maintain the optimal temperature in your greenhouse.

Although your greenhouse may get plenty of sunlight, your greenhouse will experience heat loss so adding in hot air from another source is a straightforward approach that will keep heat-loving plants happy.

When the winter chill creeps in a heating system is necessary. Whether it’s a gas or electric heater, radiant floor heating, or innovative compost heaters, these keep your plants snug and warm when the world outside is frosty. 

Proper Ventilation for a Greenhouse

Ventilation is a pivotal element in maintaining the right temperature within your greenhouse. It’s like nature’s thermostat, ensuring your plants stay comfortable.

You can rely on vent windows and roof vents to let out excess heat on hot days, while side vents and louvers work their magic to keep the air flowing.

For those scorching summer months, shade cloths become your greenhouse’s best friend. It’s like a cool, protective umbrella for your plants, diffusing the sunlight and preventing your space from turning into an oven.

Installing an automatic vent opener takes the guesswork out of temperature control and makes greenhouse gardening for beginners much easier.

Solar-powered automatic ventilation systems ensure your greenhouse stays cozy without constant monitoring of automatic vents.

Lighting System

While greenhouses often rely on the sun for natural light sources, the strategic use of artificial lighting is a crucial factor in achieving success.

Choose from fluorescent lamp strips, LED plant lights, grow light strips, and grow lights with timers

Be sure to follow instructions on your lighting system for best practices when it comes to air circulation, spacing, and light duration to create an optimal environment for your plant’s growth. 

While natural sunlight is vital for plant photosynthesis, artificial lighting has opened up new possibilities for indoor cultivation.

Let’s explore the lighting options for greenhouse gardening for beginners:

  1. Fluorescent Lamp Strips: These are a cost-effective choice for supplementary greenhouse lighting. They emit a broad light spectrum suitable for various plant species and provide uniform illumination, making them ideal for seedlings and plants needing consistent light.
  2. LED Plant Lights: LED lights are gaining popularity due to their energy efficiency and spectrum adjustability. They come in various spectrums, allowing growers to tailor light for different growth stages. LED lights produce less heat, reducing the risk of plant damage, and have a longer lifespan.
  3. Grow Light Strips: Versatile and compact, grow light strips are suitable for various greenhouse sizes. They can be mounted overhead or vertically along plant rows, ensuring even light distribution. Advanced options offer customizable spectrums and dimming for precise control.
  4. Grow Lights with Timers: Timers are essential for maintaining a consistent light schedule in your greenhouse. Different plants have varying light requirements, and timers automate the process, optimizing light exposure for each plant type while reducing the need for manual adjustments.

10 Ideal Greenhouse Tools for Beginners

If you have been gardening for a long time, you may already have some tools but the following have been proven to be the top secrets of successful greenhouse practice. 

If you are just starting out these tools are perfect for greenhouse gardening for beginners.

  1. Greenhouse Thermometer: To closely monitor and maintain the temperature inside your greenhouse, a greenhouse thermometer is indispensable. It helps you ensure that your plants are always in the right climate. This smart thermometer will send alerts to your phone!
  2. Misting System: Installing a mist system can help you manage humidity levels and prevent your plants from drying out. This is especially crucial in dry climates, for young plants, or during the winter months. 
  3. Potting Bench: A dedicated potting bench inside your greenhouse provides a convenient workspace for transplanting, potting, and various other gardening tasks of organic gardening.
  4. Shelves: Staging or shelving units offer multi-level surfaces for organizing your plants, making the most of vertical space, and promoting good airflow.
  5. Pruning Shears: High-quality pruning shears are essential for maintaining your plants’ health and shape. Regular pruning encourages strong growth and helps prevent plant diseases.
  6. Propagation Tools: If you plan to start seeds or propagate cuttings, having a good set of propagation tools like seed trays, rooting hormones, and a heat mat can be invaluable.
  7. Hygrometer: Alongside a thermometer, a hygrometer helps you keep tabs on the humidity levels in your greenhouse, which can be crucial for certain plants, while also aiding in water conservation by ensuring you maintain optimal moisture levels. This hygrometer connects to your phone and will send you alerts when the temperature drops!
  8. Greenhouse Shading: Shading materials such as shade cloths or blinds can regulate the amount of sunlight entering your greenhouse during hot summer days, preventing overheating in glass greenhouses, polycarbonate, or clear plastic greenhouses. This is especially helpful when the sun shifts in the late Spring when your plants may need more shade. 
  9. Soil Testing Kit: Ensure your plants have the right nutrients and pH levels by periodically testing your soil. A soil testing kit helps you make the necessary adjustments for optimal growth. This beginners guide to making your soil more acidic may help with acid-loving plants and this post shares 17 cheap ways to add nitrogen to your soil
  10. Tool Racks: Keeping your pest control supplies and gardening tools on hand puts a tool rack or greenhouse shelf to good use.
fungus gnats

The World of Greenhouse Pests

Even when growing inside the safety of a greenhouse, you may still have to worry about pests. This post offers a crash course on eliminating black bugs from tomato plants without resorting to pesticides.  

Additionally, this simple guide provides essential tips and valuable insights into sustainable practices for managing these pests. 

Another common pest that you may have to deal with in your greenhouse is fungus gnats. This complete guide to getting rid of fungus gnats shares not only how to get rid of them but this practical guide shares how to prevent them from coming back. 

I hope you enjoyed this guide to greenhouse gardening for beginners. Sign up for the free newsletter so you never miss a helpful gardening post again. 

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