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greenhouse gardening basics

Greenhouse Gardening Basics

Greenhouse Gardening – The Basics

A few basic items that we recommend you start off with and some words of encouragement!

 

The time has finally come. After all the hours of researching, sifting through greenhouse blogs and forums, having those off and on feelings about making the decision and debating whether or not you have the time and energy to even use one; You have purchased your own greenhouse! And frankly it should be one of the best decisions you made! Greenhouse’s not only give you a space to grow and overwinter plants but the enrichment gardening brings to people’s lives is incredible. And let’s not down play the fact that you will save a few bucks too! But once you have made it through the pain and hectic-ness of finding your perfect greenhouse, building the foundation, greenhouse assembly and the spendy electrician… where do you start? Greenhouse gardening is not as scary as it looks. The greenhouse itself will do a lot of the work for you. Light, air circulation, heat and controls are provided for you. Sunglo’s packages include lighting, ventilation system (for air circulation), heater, controls, etc. – To make life easier on you. Once these have been electrically hooked up you can focus on the fun stuff!

I am a beginner gardener myself and I started off with a small lean-to greenhouse but had no idea where to start! Luckily I had some help and now can say I have an ity bity tiny amount of experience under my belt!

If you own a Sunglo greenhouse you should either have the built in benches and shelves or purchased your own bench system. Obviously this design depends on the type of plants and amount of plants you intend to grow. But adequate space for pots and thingy majigs will make life easier.

 

Here is a list of items I suggest you purchase to start off-

  1. A large bag of soil – Go with a brand that will feed the plants for 90+ days and is suitable for indoor/outdoor gardening. (If you have good compost in your garden already, a special fine seed starter soil without the nutrients might be best.)

 

  1. Seeds! – Choose 3-5 packets to start with and make sure they are appropriate for the season. I would suggest some flowers and tomatoes. Also, read the back of the packet. Seed packets have a great deal of info on the back and the difference between needing full sun and partial shade etc. may sway your decisions.

 

  1. Plants – You want your greenhouse to feel like a garden, so choose a few pretty, green, grown plants to stick in the corners or pull them from the plants you already own. I like cacti and succulents. They are easy to care for and look great! Don’t forget to grab a few pretty pots to transfer them into. The book “The Greenhouse Expert” by Dr. D.G. Hessayon is very useful and provides detailed information on greenhouse plants. I would pick up this book immediately!

 

  1. Little things – Grab a few seed trays (You know the black trays with 50+ squares), you’ll want a small and a large water can, a few 5 gallon buckets for plant scraps, a small circulation fan (unless you have one from Sunglo already), work gloves (get 2 pairs JIC!), hand trowel (small garden shovel), and take a look through all the goodies in your local nursery or garden store. There are always fun things you can pick up!

 

It really depends on the plants you will be growing to determine what kinds of accessories you will want. Eventually you might want to upgrade your atmospheric controls or install some extra shelving. Greenhouses are so fun and customizable. Follow your heart! And remember you can always change things around. Nothing is permanent.

 

The main things to remember are light, temperature and water. As long as you give your plants adequate light, keep the desired temperature and water your plants to their specific needs you should have no problems! – OK you might run into a few along the way! I won’t lie to you! But those things are for later on. Enjoy your greenhouse! Experiment with different plants and flowers. Find your passion and relax in your own paradise! That is what a greenhouse is all about. Fulfilling your passion and creating your own oasis.

 

Need help? You can always contact us at Sunglo for any questions about your greenhouse or growing. And Visit us on Facebook to see what other customers have done to their greenhouses and what they have growing!

1500 Lean-To Series (5’1.5″ Width) Sunglo DIY Greenhouse

 

Sunglo Greenhouse Accessories and Parts

Sunglo carries a wide range of accessories and Sunglo parts. We now offer complete packages that include all the items you’ll need to have your greenhouse up running and at a discounted price! For a complete accessory and parts catalog please e-mail us at info@sunglogreenhouses.com with your request or call our 800 number below.

Here are a few items that are included in our greenhouse packages:

 

sunglo greenhouse accessories and parts
Benches and lighting: 30″ x 30″ cedar benches, 30″ x 12″ cedar shelves and fluorescent light fixture with 2 T8 bulbs and hanging hardware

 

sunglo greenhouse accessories and parts
Light kit: Moisture resistant light timer and fluorescent light fixture – Pictured above

 

Sunglo greenhouse accessories and parts
Irrigation kit: Coil hose, water wand and drip watering kit

 

sunglo greenhouse accessories and producta
Shade Cloth: A custom cut shade cloth to fit your Sunglo, 74% gradient polypropylene with grommet holes.

Sunglo Greenhouses offers DIY greenhouse kits in free-standing and lean-to sizes. We also carry greenhouse accessories and Sunglo parts. Our warehouse is open M-F from 8am to 4pm to assist you in ordering parts. You can contact our sales office at 1-800-647-0606 for questions or to place orders.

Energy saving tips – In your greenhouse

Here are a few energy saving tips:

Energy Saving Tips

Reduce air leakage from the greenhouse –

Small cracks and loose glazing materials can cause unwanted air to enter or escape from your greenhouse. Obviously both will affect the efficiency of any heating system you have in place. But fixing areas around the doors and vents that are not air tight can help stop unwanted air flow. Caulking holes or lining parts of the frame and weather stripping around the door can make a big difference. Shutting your fans off during the winter and covering them with a thick plastic will help keep your greenhouse regulated in the winter months. And always fix any holes or broken panels as soon as possible. If you have a Sunglo you can call 1-800-647-0606 for any replacement parts!

Use a double layer glazing system –

Double layered glazing material can be beneficial, if it is done the correct way. Our greenhouses have an inner corrugated panel that creates a 1.5” dead air space keeping it exceptionally insulated. To see how Sunglo’s unique glazing system works click here.

Install windbreaks –

Windbreaks are important in high wind areas because it prevents the cold wind from hitting the greenhouse therefore cooling it down. Building a mini fence or even planting shrubbery around the base of your greenhouse is effective. Some gardener’s plant small trees around their greenhouse, it not only looks pretty but will help keep the wind at bay. Whatever you decide to use make sure it stands mid-level to your greenhouse so it doesn’t block the sun. If you already have some tree cover in your yard or near the greenhouse than your in luck! No planting for you!

Use a shade cloth –

Shade cloths are wonderful for high temperature areas. They are used during the hottest time of the day to reduce thermal solar radiation. Sunglo carries a wide variety of sizes and they can be mixed and matched to perfectly fit your greenhouse. For more information on shade cloths click here.

Use your heat wisely –

To calculate what type of heater you’ll need for your greenhouse there is a simple formula. Take the temperature you want the greenhouse to stay at (let’s say 50) and the average winter temperature in your area (how about 20) and subtract them (equals 30). Next you multiply the temperature difference by the surface area of your greenhouse (8×10 greenhouse is 276 X 30 = 8280). Now you multiply your answer by your greenhouse materials U value. For a Sunglo you would multiply 8280 X .75 = 6210 BTU’s(.75 is Sunglo’s U value). This means you need to find a heater that has exactly or over 6210 BTU’s to efficiently heat your greenhouse. Using the correct heater will ensure thriving plants and not use unwanted electricity. To see this formula again and more in depth information on BTU requirements check out this post. Click here.

For more information on saving energy visit PSE.com

Sunglo Surface Area Guide

Sunglo Greenhouses Surface Areas-

This post is a supplement of a previous post for determining the heating or BTU requirements of your greenhouse – Click here to read the Greenhouse Heating post.

The following are approximate surface area’s of each Sunglo greenhouse series.

1000 Series - Surface Area

  • 1000 Series – 7′ 9″ Width

Model                Surface Area

7.5ft – B                     228

10ft – C                      276

12.5ft – D                   324

15ft – E                      372

17.5ft – F                   420

For every 2.5ft after model 1000F add 48 to the surface area.

1200 Series - Surface Area

  •  1200 Series – 10′ 3″ Width

Model                Surface Area

10ft – C                       338

12.5ft – D                    392

15ft – E                       446

17.5ft – F                    500

20ft – G                       554

For every 2.5ft after model 1200G add 54 to the surface area.

2100 Series - Surface Area

  • 2100 Series – 15′ 3″ Width

Model                Surface Area

10ft – C                     484

12.5ft – D                  549

15ft – E                     614

17.5ft – F                  679

20ft – G                    744

For every 2.5ft after model 2100G add 65 to the surface area.

1500 Series - Surface Area

  • 1500 Lean-To Series – 5′ 1.5″ Width

Model               Surface Area

10ft – C                    169

12.5ft – D                 196

15ft – E                     223

17.5ft – F                  250

20ft – G                    277

For every 2.5ft after model 1500G add 27 to the surface area.

1700 Series - SUrface Area

  • 1700 Lean-To Series – 7′ 7.5″ Width

Model                Surface Area

10ft – C                    242

12.5ft – D                 275

15ft – E                    307

17.5ft – F                 340

20ft – G                    372

For every 2.5ft after model 1700G add 33 to the surface area.

If you are a customer with a custom style Sunglo or have a discontinued series or just have questions please give us a call at 1-800-647-0606.

Alaska Grown Program

Alaska Grown Logo

The agriculture industry in Alaska created the Alaska Grown logo to highlight products grown in Alaska. The program is designed to increase consumer awareness and consumption of Alaska agricultural products. The Alaska Grow logo will start showing up on all sorts of Alaska goods and I think it’s a great thing! Every community should embrace the “home grown” products in their area. It not only helps the hard working families but locally grown fruits and veggies will keep our families on the healthy track as well! I commend Alaska for starting this program!

One of Sunglo’s favorite customers from Alaska just got finished building his 2100F Sunglo. Look at that snow! He sent us:

“Here’s pictures of some Alaskan hoodlums… thanks again for a great greenhouse and customer service!”

–Mr. B

 

Alaska Grown Alaska GrownHoodlums? Well I don’t know about that. But they certainly look like Alaskan grown kids to me! Thank you for the awesome pictures Mr. B!

For more information on the Alaska Grown program Click Here.

Greenhouse Heaters – Which One Is Right For You?

Greenhouse HeaterGreenhouse heaters. Electric, natural gas, propane and many more. But which heater is right for your greenhouse? How do you find out? This is where BTU’s (British thermal units) come in. To find the best heater for your greenhouse you must know the number of BTU’s required. And I am going to show you how to determine it!

Here are a few simple steps to find your BTU requirement.

 

  • STEP 1

You need to know the surface area of your greenhouse. This is not simply multiplying the length and width. You must calculate the area of each wall and each ceiling panel then add them all together. If you have a Sunglo greenhouse click here for Sunglo’s Surface Area Guide post.

  • STEP 2

Next you need to find out the average winter temperature (outside) in your area. This is where the internet comes in handy. But I made it easy for you > Click here to view a list of average temperatures in the U.S.

  • STEP 3

Now what temperature do you want to keep your greenhouse at in the winter? This depends on the plants you are growing. You should be able to find plant temperatures online. But a common minimum temperature for over wintering is 50°F.

  • STEP 4

The next step is finding your greenhouse’s U-Value or Heat Transfer Coefficient. This is determined by the material your greenhouse is made of. For a Sunglo greenhouse we use a U-Value of 0.75. To find your specific materials U-Value > Click here for a general list.

  •  STEP 5

Now that you have completed the first 4 steps you should have –

  1. Your greenhouse surface area
  2. Average winter temperature
  3. Desired greenhouse temperature for the winter months
  4. Your greenhouse material U-Value

Now we can find our required BTU’s!

And here is the formula –

  • Desired greenhouse winter temp – Average winter temp outside  = Temp differential
  • Surface area × temp differential × U-Value = Required BTU

For example:

My greenhouse surface area is 744

My average winter temp is 20°F

Desired greenhouse winter temp is 50°F

Sunglo acrylic U-Value is 0.75

  • 50° − 20° = 30° (Temp differential)
  • 744 (surface area) × 30 (temp differential) × 0.75 (U-value) = 16,740 BTU’s

Now you can shop for a heater that provides at least 16,740 BTU’s!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunglo has made it to Facebook!

Official Sunglo Greenhouses Facebook Page

 

Facebook like

Please visit our Official Facebook Page for greenhouse information, up coming promotions, pics of our office and warehouse and much more!

Click the picture above to see our official page.

Seattle University’s New Greenhouse

new greenhouseWe are very happy to announce the grand opening of Seattle University’s new greenhouse facility! Their new 2100K model greenhouse will provide the Biology department with the space they desperately needed to conduct experiments and house plant specimens.

 

 

new greenhouseWe are very thankful for this opportunity to provide many generations of budding plant physiologists with a space to further their skills and knowledge. The Norman Borlaugs and Gregor Mendels of future generations could very well be among them.

 

We greatly enjoyed working with everyone to make sure that this greenhouse fit the specific requirements of the department and its students. The end result is a fully ADA compliant facility with a modular floor plan that allows for multiple growing configurations.

new greenhouseWe would also like to thank everyone who contributed the funding that made this project possible. If you are interested in discussing the many grants currently available or how your students could benefit from a similar facility please contact us anytime.

Sunglo Greenhouse Interior

Awesome Sunglo Greenhouse

Featured Sunglo Greenhouse

We are taking a break from the Blast from the Past video series during our home and garden show season, but in the meantime I wanted to share an email received this week from a most ingenious customer. I have been working with Marshall over the course of the last couple of months and it has been amazing to watch this project come together.

Marshall writes:

sunglo greenhouseHi Michael,

In two separate e-mails I will send some photos of our recently completed 1700-C greenhouse.  We are very pleased with the quality of the 8′ X 10′ lean-to model.  It is attached to the south-facing wall of our  garage.  In spite of the cool cloudy and sometimes rainy days in SW Washington, there have been occasional sunny days in February that the automated exhaust fan has come on to cool down the greenhouse when it reached 90 degrees. 

sungloAn added benefit of the lean-to model is that the north wall of the greenhouse is the insulated wall of the garage and if desired, I can open the windows of the garage and allow the natural heat of the greenhouse to come into my woodworking shop in the garage.

Greenhouse Floor HeatYou will see from the pictures that I chose to put in two in-ground insulated growing beds in hopes of growing vegetables in the winter.  Each bed is about 7 feet in length and 14 inches wide and insulated with two inch-thick styrofoam. One of the beds is 10 inches deep, the other is 5 inches deep.  They each have thermostatically controlled heat cables set in sand in the bottom.  The cables are then covered with wire mesh to protect them before filling the beds with soil.  The soil temperature being maintained at 70 degrees by the heat cables will be optimum to stimulate growth which will save heating the entire greenhouse.  Since soil temperature is the determining factor for germination and growth, the only other heat required will be to keep the greenhouse just above freezing.  Sunglo Greenhouse InteriorSupplemental HPS lighting suspended from the ceiling will extend the daylight hours to 14 – 16 hours per day, which will be necessary in the winter.  The 1000 watt HPS bulb will also generate some heat that will be beneficial.  I will still have plenty of floor and bench space for propagating other plants to transplant into the garden in spring and summer.

The electrical control panel for ventilation and heating is working well but I did have to add one more outlet for the heat cables.  The extra outlets are also useful for heat mats used on the bench.

Thanks again for all your help and answering questions I had during construction.  We are looking forward to giving the greenhouse a good workout the remainder of the winter and into the spring with hopes of having fresh veggies next winter.

Sincerely, Marshall Himes

It just goes to show that the control you have over the growing environment in a greenhouse is only limited by your imagination. This is a truly phenomenal design Marshall and thank you for the great pictures!