Adapting the greenhouse for summer...

27 November, 2014

Earlier in the week I had a comment from James about using the greenhouse. He had experienced, as have I and many others I'm sure, the problems of too much sun and heat, resulting in dead seedlings.

Mine have seemed to be ok so far, so I thought I'd share what location they are in and what seems to be working in a bit more detail.

My greenhouse is a mini greenhouse, which as of Autumn this year has been located in the front yard.

It sits in an area that gets all day sun throughout both summer and winter. North is to the back of the greenhouse, allowing the suns heat to warm the plastic all day.

Over winter it was pretty much entirely closed up, but stayed quite warm and got even a little hot on sunny days. I was occasionally using it (and still am) to proove bread when the sun is out as it seems to get to just the right temperature.

From about September onwards I was opening up the front zippers on sunny days and closing it up at night. Earlier this month I started leaving it open, and haven't had any reason to close it up since.

This is the current set up.


As you can see the door is quite wide and seems to allow for plenty of circulation. The capsicums and peppers are loving it and I reckon I'll have ripe capsicums in the next week or so.

I've raised less seedlings in this greenhouse than I could have, with many being raised indoors.

The only seedlings I've raised in the greenhouse were the rockmelon, watermelon and succession sowing cucumbers from a few weeks back.


These sit in trays which allow for a water reservoir at the bottom, which stops the seedlings from drying out. I think this is working ok partly because of the tall containers I've sown into. More shallow containers may be too wet with this method.

Looking forward I think I will either move the greenhouse come late December/January, as it may be too hot for the capsicums/peppers, or I will cover it with shadecloth to prevent too much sun and heat from building up. But I've not tried this before so it will be a bit of a wait and see.

Does anyone have a greenhouse they have used shade cloth on? Any info would be appreciated.

12 comments:

  1. I love the idea of proving bread in your greenhouse - genius! A gardening friend here in the UK has had parched seedlings on (rare) hot days and tried to remember to leave the door open for air to circulate - just as you do. It seems a good idea and one that works. Lovely to have capsicums ripening!

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    1. Cheers! Yes, on our hot days things would be fried to a crisp. It's amazing how warm it gets even with a little sun.

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  2. i also love that you use your greenhouse for proving breads.
    i think my dad puts shadecloth on his glasshouse in the summer months (or am i imagining it?). it makes sense to temper melbourne's extreme summer heat.

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    1. Cheers. I'm thinking shade cloth is a goer. Clearly even tassie needs a bit of tempering also, or is it partly because the sun can be much stronger there?

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  3. My greenhouse (I call it a polyhouse), has that woven plastic on it which is supposed to be what the commercial ones use. It's not as clear as yours looks to be. I don't actually grow things in there, just use it to raise seedlings and cuttings. I found it was getting too hot in summer, everything was drying out too quickly and the cuttings were wilting, so I put shadecloth over the top for summer and would fold it back in winter. Eventually it got too difficult to roll it back (I built the chookrun slap up against it and that didn't help with access), and now I leave the shadecloth on all year. It still gets pretty hot on a summer's day though. A system like yours, with clear plastic wouldn't work for me.

    I use seedling pots which are half as tall as yours and I stand them in water, too. They never get too wet, in fact the roots grow down into the water and I have to lift them and trim off the roots frequently. It's a bit of a fallacy that you can't hve pots sitting in water or the plants will die. Look at wicking boxes, for example.

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    1. Ah, I am envious of your polyhouse. I hope to have one soon (in the coming months) as I make some changes to the yard.
      Thanks for the water-standing info. Yet another gardening fallacy bites the dust. I figured the roots of the plants in wicking beds wouldn't get down to the water reservoir layer, but obviously not (or they just like it there).

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  4. Talk to Yvonne. I was over there a couple of weeks ago delivering her thermomix and she actually made a shadecloth cover for her greenhouse. She seems pretty happy with the results...

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    1. Excellent. Yet another win for the shadecloth. I am now convinced! :)

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  5. Thanks for the extra information and photos, Bek. Are your water trays made from old plastic lids?

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    1. No problem. I actually cannot remember where I got those plastic trays from. I think they were in some packaging which I kept as I thought they may come in handy. But any impermeable and leakproof dish would work I guess.

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  6. I think your shade house is growing plants beautifully. It is so clever that you have grown directly in the earth below it, I have never seen anyone do this but it is so sensible! I love how your trays sit in water troughs, so advantageous. Lovely photographs Bek :D

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    1. Cheers Merryn. As they say necessity is the mother of invention!

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