The summer months are a time of abundance and growth in the garden and while it is a time when the garden starts to give back in terms of colourful blooms and the first harvest of edibles, it is also a time when, as every gardener knows, you have to put just as much in.
For those gardens with the benefit of a greenhouse it is vital to keep on top of the many jobs that need doing to ensure the greenhouse is managed well throughout the summer. The team here at Henchman have had a good dig about in the best guides to summer greenhouses the web has to offer and have compiled a helpful list of things to consider and jobs to get done in the greenhouse over the coming months.
To do list
Top of the greenhouse to-do list is watering. As the temperature starts to climb so too will the rate at which plants drink. The best advice is not to wait for the wilt, but to keep on top of a routine of regular watering both morning and night. Experts also recommend damping down the floor of the greenhouse too on sunny days to cool the air and humidify the atmosphere.
Good greenhouse ventilation is also important over the summer months to avoid overheating. Leaving the upper ventilators open at night or, if particularly cool or winder conditions are expected overnight, opening the ventilators first things in the morning as the morning sun starts to raise the temperature.
Ensure you can access the upper ventilation windows in the greenhouse safely. The Henchman tripod ladder is a safer alternative to a step ladder and can be used for numerous garden jobs this season on all terrains thanks to its adjustable legs.
Another key consideration is shading the greenhouse. If yours is in a particularly sunny spot you run the risk of scorching plants. However, it is important to use just the minimum amount of shading as it limits the light getting to plants. There are various options to consider from internal or external blinds to shade netting and shading paints. Check out the RHS’ guide to shading for some excellent advice and information.
Warm weather and lush growth make for ideal pest conditions, so it is important to look for signs of bugs and treat them before they become a nuisance. Aphids love soft stemmed plants and mites. They can be hard to spot but can damage young plants quickly. Introducing some pest guzzling predators such as ladybirds is the most environmentally friendly solution. Natural gardener Jean Vernon has some great advice on natural greenhouse pest control that can be found in the Hartley Magazine.
Also ensure that any climbing plants along the inside of the greenhouse are tied to allow light to get to other plants.
Planting & harvesting
By mid-June the greenhouse should be starting to deliver its bounty and the early harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce should be ready. Summer salads also get a boost from crunch radishes, beetroot and French beans in the early summer.
June is also the month to move summer bedding plants that have been cultivated in the greenhouse, outside. The same goes for hanging baskets and tubs that have been given a greenhouse boost.
Moving into July and tomatoes will continue to be plentiful and peppers will also become ready. Now is a good time to sow herbs such as parsley and move flowering plants such as roses and fuchsias outside.
Taking cuttings from new shoots is a great way to ensure a supply of new plants and the greenhouse is the perfect home for cultivating them. Check out the Gardeners’ World step-by-step guide to taking summer cuttings and become guru of your own greenhouse.
Soft fruits are in abundance over the summer with gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, strawberries and cherries ready for harvest from June onwards into August. Come July/August blackberries and blueberries, while plums, damsons and sloes yield later summer / early autumn fruit.
Take a look at Greenhouse Growing’s website for more information on cultivating greenhouse fruit. The Greenhouse Growing Guide featured on the Greenhouse Stores’ website also offers an excellent overview of making the most of the growing opportunities a greenhouse offers and what to plant and harvest all year round.