Utilizing a Greenhouse for Stargazing

adaGreenhouses are typically thought of as structures solely for growing plants. However, thinking of a greenhouse in the simplest of terms, a glass structure, will open the door to the limitless possibilities greenhouses have to offer. Gardening is a popular use for greenhouses, since they create the ideal living environment for plants; however, their ample lighting makes them perfect for rehab facilities, and their abundance of windows allows users to enjoy the great outdoors without having to physically be outside. For this reason, greenhouses are the perfect structure to use for nightly stargazing with family, friends, or a significant other. Stargazing greenhouses are great for homes, but they are also a wonderful addition to children’s camps and retirement homes. What was once a summer time activity can be enjoyed at any time of year by using a greenhouse for stargazing.

The physical location of the greenhouse is important, and planning it in an open area with little to no tree coverage will be the most ideal positioning for a clear view of the stars at night. A freestanding greenhouse will provide a panoramic view of the nighttime sky, however, lean-to greenhouses are the perfect alternative for users who do not have the space for an entire standalone structure. Designing the roof with curved eaves in a dome shape will resemble a planetarium and create a truly unique stargazing experience for users of all ages.

Greenhouse specifics, such as glazing, window configurations, and accessories are important when designing any greenhouse, but they will need to be considered slightly different when the structure will also be used for stargazing. Glazing, at least for the roof, should be glass, in order to provide the clearest view of the sky. Instead of simple ridge vents on the ceiling, consider incorporating a retractable panel system, which can be opened to provide a completely unobstructed view of the stars. The skylight can be connected to a greenhouse control system, which will allow users to open and close the roof using an on/off switch. Incorporating larger trees and vegetation will allow users to feel like stargazing in the great outdoors, and the control system can be connected to all other greenhouse accessories to assist with creating the ideal environment for the plants. Stargazing is a popular summertime hobby for people of all ages, and with a little creative greenhouse designing, it can be enjoyed year round in a comfortable environment.

Tiny Gardens – Feed Your Family in Only 64 Square Feet

Tiny Gardens – Plant Across the Width to Maximize Choice & Yield

Many people have only a small space in which to grow, such as a porch, patio, or driveway, and want to plant so as to get the greatest possible yield in the least space. Here’s an idea on how to do that.

You can plant across the width of a Grow-Box (simple 2″ X 8″ container) or a soil-bed, rather than the traditional lengthwise, if you’re willing to do the extra work of feeding, watering, weeding, and pruning that it requires. Remember the first law of plant growth – direct sunlight all day long – and that applies to all of your plants, for optimum harvest. Therefore, planting close together as I’ll suggest here requires that you prune your plants so that they do NOT shade or overlap each other.

You’ll also need to water by hand, to assure even coverage to all plants. And if you’re in the soil, weeding will not be as easy because of the close proximity of plants to each other. The two-way hoe is still the best tool for the job.

And remember to quit feeding the single-crop varieties three weeks before they reach maturity, and ever-bearing crops 8 weeks before hard frost, so as not to waste fertilizers. Multiple or extended (ever-bearing) crops are certainly an option for several of these, especially carrots, kale, lettuce, and green onions.

Here’s what you could grow in a 2″ X 8″ box 4′ wide by 16′ long

Rows are from North to South OR East to West (Yields are in parentheses):

ROW – LOC – CROP – (No. Plants & Yield)

1 – – – – 0′ 1″ – Tomatoes (2 = 30#), Cucumber (2 = 40#) and Vining Squash (1 = 10#)

2 – – – 2′ 6″ – Zucchini (3 = 45#)

3 – – – 5′ 0″ – Peppers (5 = 15#)

4 – – – 7′ 0″ – Broccoli (5 = 5# + 10# from leaves)

5 – – – 9′ 0″ – Cauliflower (5 = 10# + 10# from leaves)

6 – – – 10′ 6″ – Kale (9 = 30# – keep leaves picked and harvest for 9 months!)

7 – – – 11′ 0″ – Carrots (45 = 15# + 5# from leaves – they’re edible and tasty!)

8 – – – 12′ 6″ – Red leaf lettuce (9 = 18# – Pick outer leaves weekly to increase)

9 – – – 13′ 0″ – Romaine lettuce (9 = 18# – same as above)

10 – – – 14′ 6″ – Green onions (48 = 5# + 8# from 12 bulbs)

11 – – – 15′ 0″ – Italian parsley (16 = 10# – harvest can be season-long)

12 – – – 16′ 0″ – Sweet potatoes (5 = 25# + 10# from leaves) at opposite end of box

TOTAL YIELD – Plants = 164 – – – – Production = 314#

Tomatoes, cucumber, squash, and zucchini all should be grown on 2″ X 2″ stakes and pruned to one stem – tomatoes right at the crotch, cucumber and squash – cut sucker stems after first female blossom. Zucchini – older leaves pruned as they touch the ground or interfere with adjacent plants

Broccoli and cauliflower leaves should be pruned to keep them off the ground and away from adjacent plants (eat them, they’re edible!).

Sweet potatoes will only work in the space described above if you can let them run outside the box. You’ll need to prune and train them so they don’t cover your onions and lettuce. These leaves are also edible – use them.

Why Should I Use Organic Fertilizer?

Many of us are concerned about how safe our home garden’s fertilizer is. We want to grow our own healthy veggies, but don’t want to add to the problem of illness and pesticide poisoning. This can be a challenging task. It seems like all the great gardeners, the ones that bring in the mega harvests, have an awesome fertilizer by their side. Who knows what this fertilizer contains? All we really know is the amazing effect it has on our plants.

What if I told you there was a fertilizer you could be sure about? One that will give the plants in your garden all the nutrients they need, but in a natural one. Yes, I’m sure you want a fertilizer that can explain itself, and list an honest disclosure of all the ingredients it posses. If this is your wish, then you’re looking for an Organic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers aren’t hard to find. I’m not saying that you’ll be able to find them in the garden section of Walmart, but if you go to a gardening store, you should be able to find at least one brand that says organic on it. Even Ace, or a hardware store will most likely have a brand. It’s more likely that this product will be in stoke during the summer months. Stores tend to forget about winter veggies.

If you’re not interested in going in store, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a product that’s organic. It actually means that you’ll have more of a selection as to which fertilizer to go with. Have you tried the lawn, and garden section on Amazon? Not only do they have thousands of gardening fertilizers for sale there, they also have hundreds of ones that are certified organic.

A great reason to by your organic fertilizer from Amazon is the access to reviews. These reviews are available to you whether you’re a member of Amazon or not. There’s also something called a verified review, this is a review written by someone that has bought the product from Amazon. Some reviews left on Amazon aren’t fair, so you should read them all and really get a feel for the quality of the product.

You can also make your own organic fertilizer using compost. Have banana peels? These are very nutritious to plants. You could also try crushed egg shells as an ingredient for your home made fertilizer. I know a lot of gardeners say cabbage leaves do the trick. Another option is to put bean poles in the fertilizer, as they add nitrogen to the soil, something tomatoes need to thrive.

So you see, you don’t have to use a product that was made in a lab to get the nutrition your soil needs actually in the ground. There are loads of natural ways to do it. Why risk your health with something that wasn’t made the way nature intended? It’s important that you keep your family safe with the right fertilizer in the garden.

Grow Healthy Food Without Soil Using Aquaponics

Did you know you can grow food without soil? The system that will allow you to do this is known as aquaponics. Instead of growing plants in soil, you grow them in water. It is a type of hydroculture culture.

Aquaponics combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic way to grow plants. The plants grown in the hydroponic system help the aquatic animals thrive in the aquaculture environment. In turn the aquatic animals in the aquaculture environment help the plants survive in the hydroculture system. The aquatic animals can be of the tropical type such as the tilapia. They also be the type of fish more suited colder climates such as trout.

Here is how this works. In the aquaculture environment, the waste produced by the aquatic animals and left-over fish food, accumulates. This accumulation eventually makes the water to toxic for the fish and other aquatic animals to survive to thrive. The water is circulated into the hydroponics system where the roots of the plants use these waste materials as nutrients. The roots of the plants absorb these toxins and cleanses the water. This cleansed water is sent back to the aquatic animals in the aquaculture system.

With regards to plants being grown in the hydroponics part of the aquaponics system, the cost of fertilization is substantially reduced when compared to plants grown in a stand-alone hydroponics system. This is because a hydroponics system does not produce any nutrients for the plants within its closed system. The aquaponics system reuses the water used in the growing process. Therefore substantially less water is used than growing plants in a ground based system. The aquaponics system of growing plants can be more beneficial for the environment as it does not produce the run-off typically produced in most ground based agriculture.

Because plants grown in an aquaponics system receive most of their nutrients from an aquaculture system, not as much expensive fertilizer needs to be introduced into the hyroponics part of the system. However the aquatic animals which provide the nutrients do require food.

Deciding between a ground based food production system and a hydroculture based system ultimately requires understanding how both systems work and then realizing the advantages and disadvantages of each system. Deciding between hydroponics and aquaponics also requires in-depth knowledge. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Either system will provide a higher yield of crop than regular ground based agriculture and generally have less impact on the surrounding environment.

Greenhouse Ventilation – Why Is It Important?

There are a number of factors to consider for creating the optimal climate inside your greenhouse. One of the most important aspects of climate is air quality. But you might be asking “why is the ventilation of my greenhouse so important?”. There are a number reasons for this.Without proper ventilation the plants will not grow as fast and what they yield will be substandard. Proper ventilation will help keep the environment in your greenhouse at level best suited for the plants you are growing.

Environmental conditions in your greenhouse are greatly affected by ventilation. These environmental conditions affect the plant’s ability to perform photosynthesis. This process involves the plant’s ability to convert light from the Sun into chemical energy. This energy is used by the plant to give it fuel to grow. This includes the plant’s ability to take in important elements from the soil and complete the reproductive cycle.

Proper ventilation of your greenhouse will help with air circulation, temperature and humidity control. These factors greatly affect the ability of your plants to grow in a productive manner. This will help provide your plants with the necessary amount of carbon dioxide to grow.

Plants need carbon dioxide to perform proper chemical reactions to occur such a photosynthesis. When the levels of carbon dioxide start to decrease the ability of the plant to grow decreases. Proper ventilation in your greenhouse will help keep the level of carbon dioxide at the level needed for healthy grow.

As the plants grow they consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. But many people do no know that plants require oxygen to grow. Oxygen from fresh air is required by their roots. The roots require oxygen to grow and this is directly linked to the plant’s ability to take in nutrients from the soil.

Proper ventilation will keep the inside of your greenhouse filled with fresh air, so your plants can thrive. Healthy plants will grow faster and give you the best yield of its fruits.

Keeping the proper flow of air in your greenhouse will require expert knowledge of how to achieve this. The type of ventilation system you decide to use will depend on the design of your greenhouse and the plants you are growing. Some of these are natural and others are mechanical systems.

Natural system ventilation can involve just simply opening up a part of the greenhouse. The hoop style greenhouse is well suited for this. Structures which are built from more rigid materials may need a mechanical ventilation system. These structures are often designed to be operated year-round and a mechanical ventilation system is recommended.

Whatever greenhouse design you decide to build, understanding about proper ventilation is important. Without proper ventilation the growth of your plants will suffer.