Greenhouse plants don't require as much water as outdoor garden plants.
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Greenhouse plants don't require as much water as outdoor garden plants.

Greenhouse gardening has been gaining popularity amongst gardening enthusiasts lately. It's unsurprising since it's a practical way of growing plants in a controlled environment that shields them from harsh weather conditions. While it's true that greenhouse plants require certain conditions to thrive, they don't need as much water as outdoor garden plants do. In this blog post, we will discuss how to determine the watering requirements of greenhouse plants and provide tips on watering dos and don'ts that will help improve their health and growth. 


I. Introduction

A. Explanation of greenhouse plants and their needs

Greenhouse plants are grown in a controlled environment, typically made of glass or other transparent materials. These plants require proper conditions, such as adequate lighting, temperature, air quality, and moisture. The benefit of growing plants in a greenhouse is that the environmental conditions can be regulated to meet their needs, which allows for greater control over their growth and production. Greenhouse plants still require water, but not as much as outdoor plants due to the controlled environment. Understanding the needs of greenhouse plants is essential for their successful growth and production. This includes monitoring temperature and humidity levels and providing adequate lighting and ventilation. Using proper growing techniques and selecting the right fertilizers and pesticides can also play a significant role in plant growth and development in a greenhouse environment. Greenhouse plants can produce higher yields and better-quality crops with the right conditions and care, making them a valuable option for commercial growers and hobbyists.


B. Importance of water for greenhouse plants

Water is essential for all plant life, including those in greenhouses. Plants use water to digest nutrients and photosynthesize, which produces oxygen and glucose. Without water, the plants' cells will become dehydrated and unable to perform these essential functions, leading to poor growth or even death. It is important to apply water directly to the roots of the plants, as overhead watering can lead to moisture-related diseases. Irrigation systems should be selected depending on the plant's needs and the greenhouse environment. While it may take some time to establish a routine, greenhouse plants can flourish with proper attention to water needs and delivery.  Overwatering can also harm greenhouse plants, resulting in root rot and other diseases. It is important to monitor the moisture levels in the soil regularly and adjust the watering frequency as needed. Using high-quality soil and ensuring proper drainage can also help prevent water-related issues. Ultimately, understanding and meeting the water needs of greenhouse plants is essential for their growth and overall health. With careful attention and proper care, these plants can thrive and provide a beautiful and bountiful harvest.


C. Shade provided to plants

Shading plays a vital role in the growth and well-being of greenhouse plants. Installing shade cloth can reduce the amount of moisture loss from the soil, leading to a decreased need for frequent watering. Proper shading also shields plants from harsh sunlight, preventing sunburn and other harmful factors that can reduce plant growth and health. Shade cloths are available in different densities, ranging from 5% to 95%, of which knitted cloth is the most popular. The percentage of shade cloth chosen depends on the types of plants being grown and the intensity of sunlight in the area. Shade cloth reduces water and energy costs and helps lower a greenhouse's carbon footprint. [1]


D. Airflow systems and fan ventilation

D. Airflow systems and fan ventilation are essential in maintaining the health of greenhouse plants. These systems increase evapotranspiration, which leads to less frequent watering needs. Proper ventilation is also crucial in preventing excessive temperatures that can harm plants. The use of fans helps create a vacuum that draws in cooler outside air, facilitating air exchange. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers suggests that sidewall vents should be combined to equal the combined ridge vent area, which should be 15-20% of the floor area. Additionally, horizontal airflow fans can enhance air circulation, which is vital in achieving uniform plant growth. Through proper ventilation, greenhouse plants can thrive without excess watering. [2]


II. How to water greenhouse plants

A. Frequency of watering

There is no fixed formula for Frequency when watering plants in a greenhouse. It largely depends on the type of plants, weather conditions, and the environment inside the greenhouse. Generally, waiting until the top two inches of soil are dry is best before watering. Overwatering can lead to fungal diseases and attract pests, so it's crucial to avoid it. Depending on the size of the plant, water needs to be poured slowly into the soil at the roots to be properly absorbed. It's also important to avoid getting the leaves wet. A helpful tip is to group plants with similar watering needs to make the process more manageable. With careful observation and patience, you'll be able to determine the required Frequency of watering for your plants in no time. 


B. Watering plants at the roots

Water plants at the roots are crucial for their survival in a greenhouse. Directing water at the base of plants delivers hydration right where it's needed - the roots. This method ensures healthy growth and discourages fungal disease. Shallow and surface-level watering discourages deep root development, which plants need to thrive. It's recommended to water less frequently but thoroughly saturate the soil instead. This encourages roots to reach deep for residual water, even when the soil surface appears dry. The standard rule of thumb is to give plants at least one inch of water per week and as much as double that amount during the peak of summer. Proper watering techniques are key to keeping your greenhouse plants healthy and happy. 


F. Tips for watering in a greenhouse

When watering plants in a greenhouse, there are a few tips to remember to ensure your plants thrive. Firstly, water plants at the roots and avoid getting the leaves wet. Thoroughly watering a plant means it needs water less frequently than slightly wetting it daily. Secondly, give plants equivalent water to 10% of their container volume. Pour slowly to ensure the compost absorbs the water, and use saucers to catch excess runoff. Lastly, group plants with similar watering need together to avoid over or under-watering. By following these tips, you can ensure your greenhouse plants receive the right amount of water for optimum growth.

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