blog

tips and tricks for greenhouse gardening success

Gray mold botrytis on tomatoes

Gray mold botrytis on tomatoes

Your greenhouse is a glorious place for tomatoes to grow. It's warmer than outdoors. Plants are protected from wind damage. The heat of the greenhouse warms the soil so the roots are happier and the plant grows faster and more lush. There is a challenge we have to...

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How to buy healthy plants

How to buy healthy plants

Your best protection against a weak or diseased garden is prevention in the form of smart shopping. Start with healthy plants to give your garden the greatest chance for  success. Plants that have been allowed to wilt frequently in the hot sun are never a bargain, no...

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Buying a greenhouse: Five things to consider

Buying a greenhouse: Five things to consider

Five considerations when deciding which greenhouse to invest in for yourself: 1. Cost: start with $/sqft but make sure you are comparing apples to apples here. What benefit does the cost bring you? Pleasure in producing your own food, improving your food access  and...

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Blossom end rot

Blossom end rot

There is no shortage of Old Wives Tales and myths around prevention of blossom end rot (BER), that disappointing disease that turns the bottom (blossom) end of the tomato fruit black and rotten. The basic issue at the heart of BER is a lack of calcium getting to the...

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5 favourite hobby greenhouse tools

5 favourite hobby greenhouse tools

Remote Weather Sensor - put a sensor in the greenhouse so you can monitor from the comfort of your home. This is clutch when the weather starts to warm in spring so you can go out and adjust the temperature using manual vents, opening the top of the dutch door, and...

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How to set up your hobby greenhouse

How to set up your hobby greenhouse

You finally took the plunge! If you're like me, you dreamed of a greenhouse for years (decades?) and tried out a bunch of flimsy ones before finally investing in something that will last you for a few years. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it....

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Don’t waste greenhouse space on these 10 plants

Don’t waste greenhouse space on these 10 plants

Your hobby greenhouse can do a few things really well: It can protect your fragile (and expensive) crops from getting destroyed by those prairie hail storm. It can give you a head start on growing early in the season (harvesting your own lettuce and spinach in April?...

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12’ or 16’ assembly instructions (with video walk thru)

12’ or 16’ assembly instructions (with video walk thru)

Caution:   Some parts of the greenhouse can be extremely sharp so please use caution - and gloves - when handling the sheet metal. Tools Needed: Step Ladder (can be done with one but two will make it easier) Drill - electric or cordless #2 Phillips and  #2 Robertson...

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7×8′ assembly instructions (with video walk thru)

7×8′ assembly instructions (with video walk thru)

Caution:   Some parts of the greenhouse can be extremely sharp so please use caution - and gloves - when handling the sheet metal. Tools Needed: Step Ladder (can be done with one but two will make it easier) Drill - electric or cordless #2 Phillips and  #2 Robertson...

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Heat-activated went opener – Video Tutorial

Heat-activated went opener – Video Tutorial

Your heat-activated vent opener requires no external power source, just the physics of thermal expansion. In this video, Loren explains how to set the opener and provides advice on how to protect it over the winter months. NOTE: the screws holding the barrel are...

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Beat the heat

Beat the heat

Beat the Heat Prairie summers are notorious for extreme heat (and loooooong days). It's not unusual for temperatures to rise above +30 degrees Celsius. [Editor's Note: the summer of 2019 was unseasonably cool and wet so we'll call that an exception!] Average...

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Snow load test

Snow load test

Q: How does the greenhouse handle snow load? A: Beautifully. Here’s Loren standing directly over what would be the weakest point, namely where the ridge beams connect on a 7x16’. All (ahem) 200lbs of my delightful partner are concentrated here on this one spot and the...

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Challenges of year-round greenhouse gardening

Challenges of year-round greenhouse gardening

There are some simple ways to get enough heat to extend the growing season by about a month on either side of summer. In Alberta, Canada (latitude 53 North) this means growing from April to October. For us, that means we have 50-gallon dark rainwater barrels in our greenhouse and paving stones on the ground.

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6 factors affecting seed germination

6 factors affecting seed germination

Seeding season is about a month away in Alberta. 6 factors will affect seed germination: Oxygen Disease Light Dormancy  Viability and Longevity  Hardening Off For best success, read the seed packet!

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Planning for the new season

Planning for the new season

Every year at this time I reflect on last year’s garden and consider what improvements I can make to my Canadian prairie garden and greenhouse.  What will I plant? What did I grow last year that I loved? That I didn’t love? What changes can I make to my landscape or...

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Aphids

Aphids

Pests: these green aphids and I are in battle for my African Violet this year. NEVER take a house plant into your greenhouse without being 100% it is bug free. A single aphid can produce 6 billion offspring in a season. Yes, BILLION! The strategy is to prevent getting...

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Mid-October greenhouse tasks

Mid-October greenhouse tasks

Clear out leaf litter and any hide-away spider mites, remove dead plant material, sink overwintering pots. Keep the frost off with black barrel of water, insulation against the north wall and a small heater for frosty overnights. And I *meant* to say PESTICIDE, not...

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Leaves for compost

Leaves for compost

HEY LOOK!!! The free compost has arrived!!! These leaves are a gift from nature for the “frugal” gardener. I don’t bag up leaves, I let them accumulate on my garden beds and provide a blanket of protection for perennial roots, bulbs and bugs. Mixed with moisture from...

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Why we prune and top tomatoes

Why we prune and top tomatoes

Don’t feel bad about ruthlessly pruning and topping your tomatoes. Feel HAPPY that you’re directing all that spectacular growth power into ripening the fruit that is on the vine.  The fruit needs to get to a mature size so that the growth hormones evolve to ethylene...

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