Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

It is hard to believe, but I have been having so much trouble trying to work out exactly how to use my greenhouse.

It seems like ages since I last posted, but I’ve been a bit distracted. With the US elections happening in the last week we have been watching very closely.

I can’t lie, but I am so glad Trump is gone. He was setting up Australia to end up in Trade Wars with China. Our government has been lapdogs to the US President for so many years, but with Trump it was getting dangerous. We were shooting ourselves in the foot to make Trump look good, what the hell were we thinking?

We hope with Biden as President that Australia will have a brighter future as well. I love my country, but I hate seeing where our current leaders are taking us.

Now back to the blog, or rather my life in my home.

Trying to use a greenhouse

Now, let’s talk about this. Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

I bought a mini greenhouse in winter to try and grow mushrooms in it. At the time I thought it could be good because then I could also raise seeds with it.

So over the last few months, I have been trying to use it. The first place I had it, well it didn’t get a lot of sun. So I moved it where it would get a lot more.

But do I leave it open, close it up, how do I get the humidity in there. Melbourne is not a very humid city. We get some, but not a lot. Our climate is a lot drier.

The problems

There are lots, but the biggest issues I have is where to find information on how to use a greenhouse.

When you go searching there is lots of information on how to put seeds in punnets for it. Or you can find out what is the best type of greenhouse to use, but how to actually use it, well I’m stumped.

It is almost impossible to find any information.

Melbourne summers

It gets so hot here in Melbourne and not to mention that we have a hole in the ozone over us. What that generally means is that the sun is really scorching. It is very hard to stand in the sun in the summer. You can feel the sun burning your skin. It is terrible.

It wasn’t like that when I was a kid. So the big question becomes how do I protect my plants from it?

In the greenhouse, it gets really hot regardless if I have the flap open or not. I have tried searching everywhere for information, but as I said before, that is hard to find.

Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

Trial and Error

It seems that trial and error is going to be the way to go as I’m trying to work out how to use my greenhouse. So far the trials have not been great, and the errors huge. Some things have grown, while others started and then just died. I’m watering everything in there on a regular basis, so that isn’t the problem.

The latest thing I’m trying is a piece of white cloth over the top. So the harsh midday sun will be diffused for the plants in it. I’m leaving the flap down, but have it unzipped. Here take a look.

Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

I am really hoping this works. The cloth should cut out a lot of the harsh light, well that is what I am hoping.

Check out these punnets.

They are in the sun, but the light is diffused. I really hope this works.

What about you?

Have you used a greenhouse in a country with harsh conditions?

I don’t want to do grow lights, they are expensive and I don’t really think I have anywhere to put them right now. I need help.

Trying to work out how to use my greenhouse

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  1. mmmmm…I thought that a greenhouse was more for the colder climes? To create a warmer space for things to grow? But how about you put it in a place under a tree? It is still warm enough, but a bit more protected from the sun. I would think it would get way too hot in direct sun. But I’m assuming, because I’ve never had a greenhouse! Someone at a nursery could maybe give you some direction. 🙂

    1. Maybe that is where I am going wrong, I thought I needed to protect the seedlings. I just don’t want the expensive of grow lights for indoors, plus I don’t have any room for them. I am just trying out lots of different things now and we will see what works. I’m sure you will hear more on it here. I might try doing two lots, put one in the greenhouse and the others on the outdoor table, see which ones work. I will let you know. Thank you Zelmare.

  2. I never had a greenhouse but I did volunteer at a butterfly exhibit which was in a small greenhouse. It was very humid in there and hot. We had to water the floors constantly. They had to be wet all the time. The greenhouse was full of plants that were watered daily. The plants and the soil gave off water. And there were some kind of fan that sent out humidity which were on all the time. The butterflies had to have high humidity to live and chrysalis to open. The greenhouse doors were closed but it seems like the windows on the top opened at times but I am not sure about that.
    If I were trying to find out how to run a greenhouse I would contact a commercial greenhouse and pump them for information.
    I do want to say, what you wrote about your country and the US I had no idea about. I realize that it isn’t my fault the policies my country enacts but I want to say all the same that I am sorry. And I hope with you that things are better with the Biden administration. We can always hope, wait and see.

    1. Butterfly houses are amazing, and so humid.Mine is so small that many things that would work for other things won’t work for mine, but I’m starting to wonder if at this time of the year I should put them outside and maybe put them back in at night. The cloth over the top and leaving the flap open seems to be working well so far.
      Yeah, it is a shame that our government keep doing it, especially when we know that we have called on the US gov. at least five times to help us out of sticky situations and each time we have been told no. But yes, we can always hope that things will be better. Thank you Lena.

  3. I have a book called The Greenhouse Expert by Dr. D G Hessayon it’s very helpful. To keep the sun from burning the plants and cut the UV that make it too hot and kill things, I have a shade on the roof of the greenhouse – look up Palram greenhouses, that’s the kind I have and the shade came from them. My Dad lives in NZ and when he was a teenager he worked for a garden centre, Oderings I think, but anyhow, they whitewashed the roofs of their greenhouses. Hope this helps – I’ve had a greenhouse for 11 years and I’m still learning 😂

    1. Okay, thank you, I will check that out Tania. Someone else talked about whitewashing the roof, mine is a plastic thing, so I can’t do that. Let’s see, I really hope it does Tania, thanks again.

  4. I also have a greenhouse in the Desert Southwest US. It gets really hot in the summer inside, and have not had much success getting it to cool down inside. I will get a bag of birdseed later this winter and plant it all on the south side of the greenhouse. This way the sunflowers will shade the greenhouse and the other plants will be a pollinator garden to attract the pollinators for the crops in the greenhouse.

    1. I have mine on cement, so I can’t really do that Kelly, though I think the white cloth over the top is help a lot. The plants still get their 6 to 8 hours of light each day, but it is diffused and not so harsh. I love sunflowers, I’ve been trying to grow some, but so far not much luck. Thank you Kelly.

  5. I am thinking of having/building my first ever greenhouse within a few months (in 2021). So, call me ‘not-even-a-beginner’. Yet, I like to consider the greenhouses ‘mostly’ as places to protect plants from cold. I understand that you also need a more humid space protected from “harsh” sunlight. That second part seems easy. You can use some covers like the plastic ones that are made to pass some pre-determined amount of sunlight without obstructing airflow… For humidification all I can think of is putting some open water within the space. Basically, a sweet spot getting ‘just enough’ sunlight should help. Please share your final setup when you reach the greenhouse nirvana.

    1. I think greenhouses in general protect plants, so protect them from extremes of weather. That is my understanding, though that understanding is very limited. They say the plants need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, not shade but direct light, and that is where I hit the problems. If I close it up the humidity is there, but then it makes it suffocating, so I am not sure. I might just have to wing it and see what happens. Thank you bcelasun

  6. I have a could of ideas. A pan of rocks with water in it for humidity will help. If the air is really hot a small fan would help too. They have fans and misters in the conservatory here.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think mine is big enough for a fan, but I think the white cloth over the top is helping a lot, it seems to like the diffuse light, today it is quite warm and the flap is open all the way. Thank you Sherry.

  7. Hi Leanne, here in the UK if the sun is harsh ( not very often granted !! ), we cover our greenhouse in fleece as you have done to cool things down. I also have a minimum/ maximum thermometer in mine so i know the tempeature variation. Cooling it down is definately the right way to go.

    1. That is good to hear Ian, I am finding so far that the white cloth seems to be working quite well. I also cut off some to put over a hydrangea in the front garden that gets sunburnt on very hot days. I hope it helps that too. When I planted it, it was meant to get the shade from the wisteria, which it did, but then we had to get rid of it, and now it doesn’t get the shade. I will keep going with the cloth on the greenhouse, thank you for that Ian.

  8. Could you contact a Gardening expert in Australia – in the UK we have Monty Don, Alan Titchmarsh and the R.H.S. Could you send one of your experts an email – and see their advise? You have totally different weather from us – so much sunshine.and heat

    From own experience – when it gets half as hot as you have – plants in our glass greenhouses would struggle – its just too hot. We use paint on white wash over the glass and open all the vents and get the plants out of the greenhouse as fast as possible.

    If you think where mushrooms grow naturally under the ground and on logs – they like cool damp and dark environments – a plastic greenhouse is probably not the right place for them – better a dark shed or earth cellar – maybe an old beer barrel cask or very large flower pot in the darkest place in your garden.

    1. I don’t know if I can contact them, I might have to try and see what happens. Though I am not trying to grow mushrooms in it anymore. I was over winter and it was away from the sun then. I was trying blue oyster and shiitake.
      Now I am trying to do seedlings for the veggie patch. So far I am finding the white cloth over the top quite good, it is still warm in there, but it is warm outside it as well. Fingers crossed I get it worked out. Thank you for the suggestion.

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