It’s now June and according to the calendar tells us it’s finally summer. Whether or not you believe that is an entirely different question. Sure the sun is making more appearances these days than it did a few months ago, but we here in the Pacific Northwest are still seeing a lot of gray skies and rain drops. Thankfully your greenhouse has a roof! But, despite what the weather outside is telling us, the month of June is here and along with it, the summer. This is a great time of year for gardeners. The sun stays out longer, the temperatures are much warmer and the chances of random frost or torrential downpours are slim, but not zero. For many of those with a green thumb this month marks the point where outdoor gardens can take shape in full. Yes, June is a busy month both in and outside of your greenhouse. Plenty of plants to repot or transplant outdoors, not to mention keeping clean and tending to the permanent features in your greenhouse. Depending on where you live in this great big world of ours, your outdoor garden might be busier than others. Some of you may be able to plant some heat loving plants outside and have them thrive. Others, like myself, will need the aid of a greenhouse in order to grow most tropical plants. Given the increased heat and sunlight hours, things like various melons, kiwi, guava and jasmine flowers will be incredibly happy within your greenhouse. Understand your greenhouse, its microclimate and the larger regional climate in which you live and you will excel in your gardening! It’s old but solid advice, know before you grow.
With it being summer and all, you have access to a lot more unfettered sunlight. While this means you will probably need some sunglasses, it also means more growing power for your plants. Speaking of power, the sun is full of it! If you’re looking to save a bit of money in the long run on electricity use inside of your greenhouse, look no further than solar panels. Though we don’t sell them ourselves, they are a great idea to harness the energy of the sun and put it to good use in your gardening efforts. While you may not need to pump heat or light into your greenhouse during the summer months, there are other things that use electricity this time of year. Fans, I speak to you now about fans. With the increased daylight and accompanying heat comes the increased need to regulate the temperature within your greenhouse. Vents are well and good but they can only get you so far. Yes, fans will end up doing most of the heavy lifting for you in terms of airflow throughout the summer months. While most new fans are relatively energy efficient, not all of them are. Though a solar panel may be somewhat costly upfront, you’ll end up saving money in the long run during the summer months by supplementing your seasonal energy needs. If you’re lucky, or live in the right area, solar panels can be useful far beyond the summer. So long as the sun is shining with some sort of intensity, you should be able to draw power from it and feed it directly back into your greenhouse. I’ve always found its best to make the decision that will save you more money in the long run whenever possible.
A second sustainability tip for the summer months comes in the form of water conservation! In a lot of areas, summer months lead to water usage limitations imposed by local governments. These are important measures municipalities use to combat drought and wild fires. While they may be limiting to gardeners, there are ways you can still effectively water your plants! If you, like many, prefer to wash their vegetables before they eat them you can actually reuse that water in your gardens. Same thing for the water used to boil eggs, wash starch from rice or even water used to boil potatoes. When washing your produce or boiling some food items, they can occasionally leach some nutrients into the water. Starch from rice and potatoes is particularly good for gardening because starch provides much needed nutrients to your growing plants. So make sure you save all that water you were planning to just let run down the drain! Obviously you don’t want to use any water that has been in contact with any soaps or other harsh chemicals, but water used to wash produce is a great way to be water conscious while still providing for your plants.
The main thing you should experience during June is growth. Generally speaking you’ve already planted and germinated your seedlings and are pretty much just waiting for your plants to flower/fruit at this point. Growth is an important part in any plant (or gardeners) life and this is the time to ensure you achieve it. Here is a simple way to stay on top of your gardening this month. Now that the sun is out longer and the temperature is heating up, watering regularly is now a necessity. On particularly warm days, daily watering may be required. Keep track of your watering so you don’t overwater while making sure things are never drying out. You should be fertilizing your plants around once a week these days, more so once they start fruiting. Make sure there is plenty of shade inside your greenhouse so your flowering plants have somewhere to hide. Too much intense sunlight is not great for your plants and can lead to burnt leaves. Giving your flowering plants a few hours of shade during the day is a great way to ensure they grow up big and strong while flowering for longer periods. Once your flowering plants have fully bloomed, go ahead and move them outdoors. These plants have essentially reached their max point for growth and would just be taking up precious space inside your greenhouse. In other cases, for things like potted roses and cacti can actually benefit from spending a few months outdoors too, just be sure to move them back inside after the summer months. For plants that are growing too quickly or out of control, add some stakes or trellises around the plants to give them structure for vertical growth! Some plants, like tomatoes, can become too top heavy without proper support which can cause them to topple over! While most things are still growing this month, herbs that you began months ago in your greenhouse can potentially be ready for harvest. Basil, chives, mint and parsley, to name a few, are all in season and taste great!
With the increased heat and sunlight this month comes the need to regulate your greenhouses microclimate. Generally speaking, even if you’re growing tropical plants, you should keep your greenhouses internal temperature less than 90° F. Fans and vents are probably the central pieces of equipment inside your greenhouse this month! Air circulation is incredibly important to regulate both the temperature and humidity inside your growing space. Too warm of temperatures and your plants won’t be too happy, likewise, too much humidity and your plants won’t be happy. Too much humidity can also bring about mold and other nasty problems for your plants. Adding extra fans at plant height can help keep the humidity at bay as well as help evaporate any excess standing water left from your near daily watering. Sunlight can also help get rid of excess standing water, make sure you only water during the day time to ensure there’s minimal standing water around your greenhouse! Sunlight is a helpful entity within your greenhouse, but it can also be harmful in large quantities. Shading your greenhouse is a great way to make sure your plants are getting the necessary sunlight, without giving them too much. Some plants want more shade than others, while some want full sunlight so plan accordingly when picking out plants or providing shade for your greenhouse. Essentially you want to make sure your greenhouse environment is perfectly suited to the plants you’re growing.
Along with climate control, June in your greenhouse increases your need to watch for pests. Warm weather can essentially bring pests out of the woodwork, so to speak. Slugs and snails, though slow moving, can really cause big problems in your garden, quickly. Slug hotels are a great, easy way to rid your garden of these little guys. These hotels are environmentally friendly in that they don’t spread harsh chemicals into your locale while still taking care of those nasty little irritants. They can also be picked up and moved around so you can strategically place and capture slugs all over your greenhouse! We also carry a wide range of fungicides and all-purpose disinfectants to keep your plants safe and healthy. Pests are a big problem for many gardeners during the warmer summer months, so make sure you’re prepared now! No one wants to lose a whole crop because they forgot to buy snail tape…
Aside from all that, this is the time of year where you can really start to enjoy your garden in earnest! From flowers to fruit, this month is a great month for those with green thumbs. We’re about halfway through the year now and you’ve accomplished a lot inside your greenhouse (or at least I assume you have), so don’t forget to celebrate! Take some time to smell your flowers (if you planted any). Don’t let gardening turn into work, we do after all sell hobby sized greenhouses. Have a great month and pleasant start to the summer season. Thank you all for reading and join me again next week!