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    Greenhouse supply must-haves

    Authored by Leah Chester-Davis

    Greenhouses can be used for many different purposes such as starting seeds, hardening off seedlings, extending the season, overwintering plants, or drying plant materials. Just as there are a lot of uses and many different types of greenhouses, there is also more than one way to set up and stock a greenhouse so that it best serves what you wish to do.

    Supplies for for setting up your greenhouse

    While the list may vary depending on the type of greenhouse you have and what you are growing, here are a few considerations when it comes to basic supplies:

    Water

    A water source near your greenhouse is critical. Whether you have a small hobby structure where you use a watering can or whether you have a more expensive design with an installed irrigation system, if you’re growing plants, a water source needs to be close by and convenient.

    Energy source & heaters, fans, lighting

    While some small greenhouses do not have a heating and cooling system, or any type of automatic controls, some do to heat the greenhouse, to help modulate water temperature, to operate the ventilation system for temperature control, to run fans for better air circulation and uniform temperatures, and to help remove moisture from leaf surfaces. In small greenhouses without any type of system, Oklahoma Extension recommends one or more space heaters as needed and fans to improve air circulation. Make sure electrical fittings and switches are waterproof and installed by an electrician. Grow lights or fluorescent lights may also come in handy, another reason to have an electricity source nearby. They can help facilitate seed germination and plant growth.

    Ventilation

    Small windows or vents that can be opened are important when built-up heat and humidity needs to be removed. Fans also help facilitate better air flow and circulation. 

    Benches (tables)

    Benches are what many people may call tables. They are any type of platform such as a table or shelving that has air spaces in the surface to allow for better air circulation and to allow water to drain from the surface, which is important in reducing risks of disease. They are where you will set trays or containers of plants for growing and should ideally be around waist high to make them more easily accessible for various plant maintenance tasks. They need to be sturdy and durable to hold up to the weight of growing trays and to withstand water and heat. They can be bought commercially or constructed using durable materials such as galvanized metal, recycled plastic, and cedar, cypress or other woods that are resistant to decay.

    Stock your greenhouse 

    • Water
    • Energy source, heaters, fans, lighting
    • Ventilation
    • Benches
    • Tubs, buckets with lids
    • Trays, pots and other containers
    • Trowels and garden hand tools
    • Shade cloths
    • Greenhouse thermometer
    • Sink or washtub
    • Cleaning and plant care supplies
    • Storage area
    • Temperature alarm system

    Greenhouse tools

    Once you have the basics ready, it's time to make sure you have everything for planting and caring for your plants.

    Tubs or buckets with tight-fitting lids

    These are great places to store growing mediums to keep them dry, protected from pathogens, and to keep out insects that may want to lay their eggs in them. In addition to any potting mixes, they are useful for storing anything that may be used in your growing mixes such as perlite, vermiculite, sand, or other materials. A separate bin for trash is important to help keep the area tidy and to facilitate the removal of any dead or diseased plants. 

    Trays, pots & other containers

    A supply of seedling trays and plastic or biodegradable containers at the ready will help gardening efforts rather than having to spend time gathering them when you are ready to plant.

    Trowels & other garden hand tools

    Items such as trowels, plant hangers, plant tags, pens, a knife, cleaning brushes, and brooms are helpful.

    Shade cloths

    On hot days, plants benefit from shade to keep them from burning or overheating. Fabrics are available in light, medium, and heavy densities. Bungee balls help keep the fabric in place.

    Supplies for cleaning up and monitoring your greenhouse

    Don't forget to have easy access to various cleaning and monitoring systems for your greenhouse.

    Greenhouse thermometer

    No matter the size of your greenhouse, a greenhouse thermometer checks the temperature, humidity, and climate to ensure optimal growing conditions for your plants. There are many styles and price points available with many features depending on your greenhouse growing needs. One type to consider, according to Greenhouse Grower, is an infrared thermometer, which measures the surface temperature. Because growing media may differ greatly from the room temperature, such a thermometer helps you get an accurate reading and gives you a clue on how to adjust any heating in the greenhouse. The result can be better germination and rooting and even reduced heating costs. According to Greenhouse Grower, all greenhouse temperatures should be based on the plant and media temperatures, not air. 

    Sink or washtub

    Wherever you are gardening, it’s helpful to have a place to wash your hands, clean your garden tools, rinse off produce, or even soak containers. 

    Cleaning and plant care supplies

    It is helpful to have various cleaning supplies on hand; items like detergent, disinfectant sprays, bleach, and insecticidal soaps and oils. Use as needed and according to label directions to keep tools, containers, and plants free from pests and bacteria. 

    Storage area such as a small closet

    A storage area for pots, trays, stakes, plant tags, cleaning supplies, and pesticides helps keep your greenhouse looking clean and organized. Store in a cabinet that locks if you have pets or small children.

    Temperature alarm system

    In the event of a power failure in the greenhouse, Oklahoma Extension recommends investing in a temperature alarm system to alert you, particularly if you are growing expensive plants or highly prized tropical plants.

    And lastly...

    Plants

    – The most fun item on the list and the reason for the greenhouse in the first place. Happy Gardening!


    More indoor growing tips

    If you're an indoor seed-starter or a plant parent for houseplants, grow lights may be on your mind. Learn more about these fake sun makers.