Tagged: greenhouse tips

Introduction to hydroponics

Introduction to Hydroponics

 Alternative gardening techniques have recently taken off in the garden industry and for good reason. Aquaponics and hydroponics have become extremely popular and are a fun new way to provide food for you and your family. Not only are these techniques efficient but they are pretty low maintenance. This post is meant to teach you how hydroponic systems work, provide pros and cons and give some examples of a few systems that are on the market today. I’ll be covering aquaponics in the next month as well. I hope you enjoy 🙂

“Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.  It was introduced in the 1920s as a means of commercial plant production.

Hydroponic growing may not be for everyone. There are a variety of systems available today so do your research when deciding on a system. Most gardeners use hydro systems indoors like in a greenhouse or even in a garage/shed. But smaller systems can be placed outside. Some hydro systems come as complete kits and are designed for only a few plants or hundreds. There are many kits you can purchase and lots of DIY ideas.

The video below shows how to make your own small DIY hydro system.

With in-expensive materials and an overall small system, DIY is a great way for trial and error.

Introduction to hydroponicsIf you prefer to purchase your first hydro system I recommend something like this Garden-Of-Ease complete hydroponic system – Pictured on left. This system runs about $60. It’s smart to start slowly and with only a few plants so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Once you have the hang of it you can move to a more generous amount of plants.

Introduction to hydroponicsAnother great small system to start with is the Current Culture Solo6 system. Unlike the system above this one has 6 holes and a sleeker look. The housing is durable and all-around a much better quality than the lesser version above. It is a bit more expensive ranging around $400 but you can expand the system by attaching more modules of the same brand. It’s pretty cool! Contact us if you are interested in Current Culture products.

Once you feel comfortable with the smaller system research some larger ones. If you have a greenhouse or a specified area for growing measure the space so you can accurately find the right size hydro system to fill the growing area.

Introduction to hydroponicsSunglo carries Current culture products. They offer a good variety of sizes and are great for tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc., etc. Pictured on left – A Sunglo owner purchased the mid size Current Culture UC4XXL13 system to start in his 15×20 – 2100G model. This system has 4 large modules that nicely accommodate larger plants. The model #UC4XXL13 gives away a few things. The tells how many plant modules are included and the 13 tells how many gallons each module holds. Under Current hydro kits are complete systems including Introduction to hydroponics all of the PVC piping/tubing and a high quality air pump. And a year warranty gives you peace of mind. There are endless  possibilities of what you can grow but this customer chose to start with tomatoes. I myself would choose tomatoes as well! What kind of food would you grow? It’s a hard question to answer! As you can see from the pictures hydroponic growing has it’s upsides! The foliage is a rich green, abundant and lush. Compared to my tomato plant (pictured below right) that I grew almost exactly the same time as his. Introduction to hydroponicsThe difference in height is vast and his foliage puts mine to shame! The Current Culture UC4XXL13 system runs about $1000. Now think about how much food you could grow with that! You Introduction to hydroponicscould make your money back in food in a few short years. It is wise to do research not only on systems but on the plants you want to grow; what kind of nutrients they will Introduction to hydroponicsneed, how much light and even the germination time. Sunglo can help with a lot of these things. We offer full packages that include a greenhouse and the perfect size hydro system to fit. We also carry lighting and controls for your greenhouse. The full line of Current Culture nutrients is available as well. So look no further! We’ve got you covered! Garden stores that carry hydro products usually carry matching nutrients made by the same brand. Like how we carry Current Culture hydro systems and nutrient products.  Besides buying the starts or seeds there is really no other cost – These medium systems range only 50-100 watts.

Every decision we make in life has its pros and cons. So here are a few things to consider when deciding on your alternative gardening method:

PROS:

  • Weeds can’t grow
  • Most plant diseases are eliminated
  • Pests are less of a concern so pesticide usage goes down as well
  • Hydroponically grown food has been known to be more nutritional and taste better
  • Less water waste
  • Nutrients are more controlled therefore plants are more abundant & lush
  • Plants grow faster and have bigger yields
  • Plants can be placed closer together so less space is used comparatively to soil gardening

CONS:

  • There are limited varieties of plants that can be hydroponically grown
  • Setup and system costs can be very expensive
  • Hydroponics requires more technical knowledge and training than soil cultivation
  • If the watering system fails, plants will dry out and die rapidly

Current Culture has a great YouTube channel that features how-to and informational videos that are very useful. The video below shows how the Current Culture System is assembled.

 1 Current Culture UC6 System (pictured below on right) would fit great into a 10×10 – Sunglo Introduction to hydroponics1200C model (pictured on left) with room for a Introduction to hydroponicswater reservoir and a few potted or hanging plants. The current culture system and the Sunglo greenhouse can both expand. So once you have mastered hydroponic growing and you want to add to your plant collection you are able to extend your Sunglo greenhouse and purchase more modules to advance your hydro system. There are no limits!

Please call or e-mail Sunglo at 800-647-0606 or info@sunglogreenhouses.com for more information on Current Culture products or to receive a free hydro greenhouse estimate!

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!

Greenhouse Foundations

greenhouse foundations
2100 model with 3 foot raised foundation/knee wall

 

Greenhouse foundations

Purchasing a greenhouse can be a difficult and sometimes overwhelming process. The first factors you should consider are location, foundation and of course your budget. All foundations should be level and square. A square and level foundation will eliminate challenges later when installing your greenhouse. A raised foundation or knee wall is a good option if you prefer to add height to your greenhouse. Knee walls are commonly 12-48 inches high and can be made of various materials. If you would like a knee wall with your Sunglo greenhouse kit please notify us at 800-647-0606 to add a door drop kit to your order.

Concrete

Concrete is a great option for a greenhouse foundation and often chosen among consumers because is it convenient. To attach your greenhouse to a concrete base we recommend attaching quality treated wood to the base of the greenhouse, commonly called a wood sill plate. 2 x 4’s will do. If you choose to use pressure treated wood make sure to install a barrier between the wood and aluminum, such as gasket material, as the treated wood can cause the aluminum to rust. Sunglo includes a barrier called a “boot” with each greenhouse kit.

greenhouse foundations
Concrete foundation – Raised/knee wall

Measure twice before cutting your wood to ensure proper dimensions. We suggest allowing a 1” border around the inside and outside of the entire greenhouse. Sunglo adds 2″ to each greenhouse size for the foundation measurements.

This is designed to allow a safe margin for irregularities in the wood sill plate. After the concrete has been poured and is level and square, a small drain should be placed in the center of the slab where water run off can drain into a gravel pit or piping that leads to a drainage area. Then your greenhouse can be bolted to the foundation.  Water and electricity should be ran to the greenhouse site before the foundation is built.

Wood

Inside a 1200G Sunglo greenhouse
1200 series Sunglo greenhouse with a raised wooden foundation and custom benches

Building a wood base is easy and inexpensive. Cedar and redwood are commonly used. Pressure treated wood is also a great option but make sure to put a barrier between the wood and aluminum, such as gasket material, as the treated wood can cause the aluminum to rust. The size of your base will depend on the size of your greenhouse again allowing a 1” border around the inside and outside of the greenhouse. After assembling the base and making sure your ground is level lay down a weed barrier. This allows the water to drain through but does not allow weeds to come up through the floor boards.

1000E Sunglo greenhouse
1000E Sunglo greenhouse built on a wooden foundation

Pack the natural earth over the excess barrier. After your base is finished and the weed barrier is set underneath, you need to cover it. Start laying down your wood planks to make the floor. Now it’s time to attach the greenhouse frame to the base – Make sure it is level and square again by measuring from corner to corner.  For added insulation, we suggest you caulk the bottom of the aluminum framing (caulk the wood then attach the frame – making sure there is a barrier between the aluminum and wood)  where it meets the base with a waterproof sealant – If you are using pressure treated it is still a good idea to caulk between the base and wood. This will add extra protection to the greenhouse and keep cold air from entering and warm air from escaping in the colder months. If you are using pressure treated wood make sure the aluminum does not come into direct contact. Sunglo includes a plastic “boot” that attaches to the base rails with all our kits, so you don’t have to worry! As with all foundations please consider whether you will need water and electricity ran to the greenhouse site. Wood foundations are natural and beautiful looking! The only down side is you might have to replace the wood every 8-10 years.

Deck

If you are planning on purchasing a lean-to style greenhouse or even a small free-standing but only have room on your deck, that’s no problem!  Before attaching the greenhouse base to pressure treated wood lay down a thick rubber, insulated mat that is the dimension of the floor of your greenhouse.

greenhouse foundations
1700 lean-to model on deck

There are various mats you can purchase that have designs or just plain old black. Insulating underneath and around the base is a good idea also. To attach the greenhouse base to the deck we recommend contacting your hardware store representative and explaining the project. Decks are made of different materials and you wouldn’t want to ruin your deck in the process. Now insulation will be an issue as well. Depending on your style of deck please take this into consideration and do your research on what type of insulation, if any, you should use. Water and electricity can be easily ran to a greenhouse on a deck foundation as it is usually attached to a house or a building.

There is lots of info on the web about different foundations and step by step instructions on how to build them. I hope this gave you an idea of what you want to do with your foundation!

NOTE: If you choose to create a foundation that is NOT concrete we highly recommend giving the wood base a few days to settle. After 24 hours re-measure for square and level. In some cases the foundation will settle and become uneven affecting the assembly of the greenhouse. And you dont want that to happen because it can make installation very difficult!

Sunglo offers a greenhouse foundations guide that shows how to build a easy, affordable and effective foundation base. To request a free-standing or lean-to foundation guide call us at 800-647-0606.

To view a large gallery of pictures visit our Facebook albums page.

 For more advice about greenhouse foundations or general questions leave a comment below or please e-mail us at info@sunglogreenhouses.com or call us at 1-800-647-0606.

The Importance of Shade Cloths

Shade cloth
1000D Sunglo With Shade Cloth

There are many factors involved in greenhouse gardening. And we all know that to grow different plants and flowers the conditions need to be just right. So climate control and ventilation are very important. Greenhouses can get very hot in certain areas around the country. So for that extra protection we offer shade cloths.

shade cloth
1700D Sunglo With Shade Cloth

But why? Well, in humid areas misting and fogging may not be adequate enough in thosehot summer months. And excess moisture build up can become a problem.

There are many different ways to “shade” your greenhouse. Spray on and liquid options are available. As well as woven polyester or even aluminum varieties. Shade cloths can be found in varying densities or degrees of shade from approximately 5% to 95%.

shade cloth material
Sunglo’s Shade Cloth Material

Sunglo offers a 73% gradient polypropylene cloth with double sewn reinforced hems and brass grommets for easy anchoring. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer and it is used in a variety of products around the world.

 Polypropylene is normally colored using carbon black. It is tough stuff but still flexible and it has good resistance to fatigue. It is suseptable to UV damage from sunlight exposure but our shade cloths are coated with a UV absorbing additive and carbon black also has some “SPF” properties to it.

Shade cloth
Sunglo’s Shade Cloth Packaged

Shade cloths can be the difference between beautiful plants or burnt plants! Don’t leave your plants to risk, shade cloths are inexpensive and will last you through the years keeping your plants safe and happy!

 Please contact us to request our complete pricing and product catalog.

To attach Sunglo’s shade cloth to your greenhouse, use some bungee cord or rope to thread through the grommets and secure them to some loop posts that are anchored to the ground or base. Lean-to models: For convenience try to set up the loop posts so you can easily roll the shade cloth up or down.

Call or e-mail us for our shade cloth instruction diagram. Please specify free-standing or lean-to.

For more information on Sunglo’s shade cloths or other greenhouse accessories please contact us anytime. And visit us on Facebook for promotion updates and gardening info.

DIY greenhouse shades
DIY greenhouse shades

To see how to install these light weight shades click here.