Watering is vital to greenhouse growing. According to the UK website Self Sufficiency, soil inside a greenhouse is particularly prone to dryness due to the high temperature and the absence of rainfall. In "Gardening in Your Greenhouse," Mark Freeman names three essential greenhouse watering rules: water the bottoms, rather than the tops, of plants; ensure that the water is warm; and use water that is free from chlorine and other harmful chemicals. The process of developing and implementing a greenhouse watering plan involves research, monitoring of the soil, and consistent watering by hand or with the help of a timer.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Accessible water supply
- Watering can
- Seep hose or capillary matting
- Water timer
- Plant research materials
Research the level of soil moisture required by the plants you intend to grow, and use this information to develop an initial watering schedule. If necessary, arrange the greenhouse so that plants with similar water requirements are grouped together.
Place watering trays, which allow plants to soak up water from the roots, throughout the greenhouse. According to Mark Freeman, plants should be allowed to sit in trays filled with a moderate amount of warm water until the topsoil is visibly moist, but not soaking.
Install capillary matting or a seep hose. As the Self Sufficient website explains, capillary matting consists of a thin mat which is situated on the ground of the greenhouse and retains several litres of water per square meter. It may be used on its own or suspended above a water reservoir. A seep hose is planted 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil and pushes water upward. Both items can prevent the build-up of mildew and mould by allowing plants to be watered without the leaves getting wet.
Set up a water timer to promote plant health and ensure adequate watering when you are away. A water timer, which is connected via a hose to your main water supply, allows the greenhouse to be automatically watered at regular intervals.
Water plants by hand using a hose, a watering can, or both. Even if your primary watering method is by can, it can be easily filled using a nearby hose. Whichever you choose, concentrate water at the roots and give each type of plant the amount of water it prefers. When a water timer is used, it is still advisable to check on plants often and determine whether they are being over-watered or under-watered.
Monitor soil vigilantly, inserting fingers a few inches to check for dryness. Adjust and refine the watering schedule accordingly.
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