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Do you want to have good fruits and vegetables all year round? To hasten crops, anticipate harvests and make the pleasure of growing last, the greenhouse garden has many advantages. Widely used by professionals, it is now very popular with individuals, whether experienced gardeners or beginners.
The principle of sheltered cultivation
A greenhouse is a closed structure which makes it possible to cultivate a vegetable garden, protect plants and carry out sowing and cuttings by creating a microclimate of which you have the control. You will be able to manage nature and the seasons. The greenhouse aims to protect fragile vegetables from the cold of winter and nuisance. The principle: the sun's rays penetrate from the top of the structure and the transparent or translucent walls. The greenhouse captures the heat of the sun in order to use it at night and during cold periods. The greenhouse must be well sunny to provide maximum light. There must be a good temperature (neither too hot nor too cold).
Benefits all year round
Early cultivation and more frequent harvests Thanks to the greenhouse, it is possible to sow well before the sowing period and enjoy fruits and vegetables for a much longer period. The greenhouse is very useful for early crops. The sowing will be done under shelter in the warm, which will avoid weakening the vegetables of the vegetable garden by temperatures not yet in phase with the natural requirements. Many crops can thus be started earlier in the year, which allows for example to increase the number of vegetable harvests. Indeed, you can grow tomatoes, apples or potatoes all year round. No need to wait for the right season or the right climatic conditions (heat, humidity, sun) to successfully grow them. For example, in a hot environment, tomatoes ripen earlier and late varieties can produce longer. Thus, the gardener who grows his tomatoes in the greenhouse can save three to four weeks compared to the same feet grown outside. Greenhouse equipment such as heating systems, automatic watering systems or tarpaulins will further improve the productivity of each plant. Protected crops The main asset of greenhouses is the protection of crops. Indeed, the greenhouse effectively protects from changes in climatic conditions, such as cold or hail. Your crops are sheltered from any meteorological nuisance and from the thermal amplitude between night and day. Your production is assured, despite the vagaries of the weather. Not to mention that your vegetables and young plants are safe from the voracious appetite of slugs, birds and rodents!
Where to install the vegetable garden in a greenhouse?
The location is crucial, the greenhouse should be installed according to light exposure to ensure the best growth of plants. The greenhouse should benefit from maximum sunshine during the cold season. In the middle of winter, the best exposure is east-west. Another factor not to be overlooked during installation: the wind. A greenhouse exposed to the wind, undergoes a very high caloric loss in winter, which implies more heating, and therefore more costs. In addition, violent gusts can break the glazing or even tear off the windows. To avoid this, orient your greenhouse perpendicular to the prevailing winds, the main door will be located opposite them. Also avoid the proximity of trees and walls which could throw shade on the greenhouse. This should be placed in an open area. Another non-negligible advantage: you will avoid the laborious cleaning of the sheets and the resin fallen on the glazing!
Vegetable garden in greenhouse: how to equip it?
The heater is not required to successfully complete most seedlings. Protected in their shelter, the young plants suffer much less from temperature differences than outside. However, heating cables are necessary for off-season crops. We can equip the greenhouse with a small electric heater with a thermostat so that the interior temperature of the greenhouse does not drop below 2 degrees. It will suffice to regularly check the temperature and adjust it using a thermostat. It is also important to ensure good ventilation inside the greenhouse, ventilate it regularly to control humidity and prevent the greenhouse from turning into a furnace, the sun can raise the interior temperature very high. The warm and confined spaces are indeed conducive to the development of unwanted fungi. Ventilation is therefore essential to regulate the temperature in your greenhouse. Roof skylights must be large enough to allow hot air to escape. The addition of side skylights significantly improves ventilation by allowing air circulation from the bottom to the top. As for thespray it is essential for sowing and planting. Plants in the greenhouse do not benefit from the natural watering that is rain and dew. In this warm and protected atmosphere, crops can quickly run out of water. You can plan an automatic installation like a drip or a porous pipe.
Types of greenhouse vegetable garden: possible solutions
Cultivation under shelter can be carried out using different more or less expensive techniques. The type of greenhouse depends mainly on the space available. Smaller plants will be used as a priority for sowing, while larger structures will accommodate the tallest plants. Bell, chassis, tunnel greenhouse ... Everyone has their own solution! The bell For the smallest budgets, culture can simply be done under a bell. There are plastic or glass. The bells are placed on the ground to protect the chilly plants from the cold and from "predators" and to concentrate the heat of the first rays of the sun. The bells are a very practical and inexpensive solution to start cultivation under shelter. And even more economical solution, you can make your own bell by simply cutting out the base of a large plastic bottle. The BA of sheltered culture! The chassis Going upmarket, cultivation under shelter can be carried out under chassis. If you lack space or if you do not do a lot of sowing, it will gladly replace the greenhouse as long as you equip it with an electric heating cable. This consists of a simple glass or translucent plastic plate placed on a wooden or steel frame. You can make your own chassis. It is placed on a planting square, preferably in sunny places and helps protect plants from the cold by concentrating the heat of the sun. To stabilize the temperature under the shelter as well as possible, you can place a straw mat on the windows if the nights are going to be cold. The greenhouse tunnel When the goal is to protect tall plants such as tomatoes, green beans, eggplant plants, peppers ... the use of a tunnel greenhouse is more appropriate. Again, you can make the shelter yourself. The tunnel greenhouse consists of a hoop device which covers the planting square. These hoops which can be made of plastic, metal or willow branch are covered with a good quality plastic (or horticultural polyester) or a winter veil. Depending on the plants received, it is possible, as under a frame, to install a buried heating system to extend the growing season under cover. Choosing a model with side vents is a good idea for efficient ventilation. It is advisable to provide a second door at the other end of the greenhouse. PVC greenhouses PVC greenhouses sold on the market are designed to allow maximum light penetration and minimum heat loss. They are also more aesthetic than "tunnel" greenhouses. PVC is the cheapest of all materials; it is also a good insulator, which limits condensation. In addition, its maintenance is easy. However, you should know that PVC tarnishes over time, its longevity is shorter compared to wood or aluminum. Aluminum greenhouses Aluminum is the most common structure, it provides great resistance, especially to strong winds. Lightweight, aluminum requires little maintenance and does not rust. High-end aluminum greenhouses therefore have a very long service life. On the downside, aluminum is not a very good insulator. Choice of glazing: glass or polycarbonate? The polycarbonate has the advantage of being resistant and of not breaking like glass (in the event of hail for example), of being a better insulator and of limiting the impact of the sun in summer. In addition, it is light and easy to install. However, it will have to be changed after 8 to 10 years. The glass, heavier, will nevertheless be more translucent and will let light through better. The glass 90% crossed by the light rays provides the best greenhouse effect. However, it is relatively fragile.
What to grow under shelter?
The choice is vast! It is indeed possible to grow most fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse: carrots harvested from March-April, turnips, leeks to be harvested from June, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers, radishes, lettuces (for eat salads all year round) and fragile species. Vegetables that are bursting with flavor and can be picked when ripe. Without forgetting the aromatic plants such as oregano, thyme, sorrel, parsley… enough to make your mouth water all year round!