First-Time Greenhouse Mistakes

For the benefit of all who are growing in or considering growing in a greenhouse I want to document a few mistakes my friend Gnel made in this, his first season of growing tomatoes in his greenhouse.

The growing medium for his seedlings was a problem, along with the fertilizer mixture. Between them his seedlings had a slow start – but they recovered, thanks to Gnel’s persistence in finding the sources of the problem.

He wanted to try many different tomato varieties, and several of them were not very good for the greenhouse, therefore more than half of his space is in plants with small fruit and poorly shaped fruit, and some plants are only 1/2 as tall as his best plants.

I recommend anyone growing in the greenhouse use Big Beef, Better Boy, or Tropic, as these three are excellent.

Light is always an important factor in the greenhouse, and planting too many plants in a given space can be a BIG problem. This was the case with Gnel’s Ashtarak greenhouse as well. He had deficiencies develop, due to under-fertilizing, and once the plants became large and tall everything has suffered for lack of adequate sunlight.

The lack of sunlight, along with high temperatures, have caused most of his plants to drop their blossoms in the past few weeks. After several MONTHS of hard work and a substantial financial investment as well, you can imagine the consternation when seemingly healthy plants fail to set fruit, and you see your hopes fading daily.

I have recommended severe pruning to try and improve the light situation, and Gnel has his walls opened up completely for improved ventilation, so we hope the plants will respond with new fruit again.

Gnel was so discouraged he was about to give up, but I reminded him that he still has 6 months of growing season left, and with proper care he should still have time for a good crop.

It sounds so simple to say “just control the basic elements of heat, light, water, food, pests, and diseases.” Best wishes to Gnel and all others who are trying their hand at greenhouse vegetable production.

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