Selecting the proper greenhouse plants for your hydroponics system
Greenhouse plants are easily grown hydroponically. Some drawbacks include high day-time temperatures possibly reaching 115 fahrenheit (46 C) within the greenhouse, a more humid environment than outside which encourages bacterial and fungal diseases and the lack of pollinating insects.
On the other hand, it can keep animals out, give you more control over the growing environment and supply a little heat on cold nights. And a greenhouse is well suited for hydroponics.
When I first put up my greenhouse, I was not sure what to plant so I chose, tomatoes, squash, basil, cilantro, parsely, green peppers, lettuce, hot peppers and bush string beans.
The tomatoes and squash were grown in Mitteider grow boxes with 5 plants in one 6 foot by 3 foot growbox and the rest were placed in ebb and flow hydroponics systems.
Greenhouse plants I had great success with were basil, parsely, string beans, green peppers and hot peppers except that my 'bush' type string beans grew 12 feet tall forcing me to quickly figure out a means of plant support. Later I realized that they were a 'hybrid' variety and, as such, are not really guaranteed to breed true - they had reverted to the characteristics of some earlier ancestor.
Still they had a better than average yield. The tomatoes grew to 14 feet with an average yield but caught a plant disease and died. Now I realize they were too closely packed together in an extremely humid place so were bound to fail and since they could not spread out they grew very tall.
The worst problem was with the squash. First they had to be constantly treated for powdery mildew and second I grew a lot of squash blossoms but no squash.
I eventually learned that they have male and female flowers and rely on pollinating insects to produce squash but my greenhouse was closed with no bugs at all. I ended up hand pollinating them for a small yield. So, learn from my experiences and realize that some plants are not suited for growing in a greenhouse.
Squash, melons, pumpkins and cucumbers are only some plants with male and female flowers so if grown indoors or inside a closed greenhouse will not produce fruit without manual intervention. There are also plants that prefer colder weather.
My lettuce grew just fine but was extremely bitter because colder temperatures are required to make lettuce sweet. Radishes also need lower temperatures or the root will not form into a radish which is something that really mystified me when I first put them in the greenhouse. Later I also learned that well-fertilized radishes tend to produce very leafy plants with very little radish root.
Other cold weather plants include cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, spinach, peas, beets, broccoli and cauliflower. Plants that grow well in greenhouses are string beans, cukes, melons, squash, peppers, basil, parsely and, of course, tomatoes.
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