TRANSITIONING TO GREENHOUSE GROWING: HOW TO MAKE IT EASY
by Adrian White
20 December, 2021 by
TRANSITIONING TO GREENHOUSE GROWING: HOW TO MAKE IT EASY
Lucija Johum

Has the intrigue and sophistication of growing in a greenhouse finally appealed to you?

Have you been considering greenhouse growing for quite a while, and you’re finally ready to make the change?

Welcome aboard. The excellent reasons to switch to greenhouse growing are many, and there’s also plenty of plants you can be more successful at growing with these structures than without them, too – whether its’s for business, or for a hobby.

The incentives and rewards are certainly worth the switch, and that’s a fact. 

But for newbies to the method, getting started on the good foot may seem like quite the challenge, even intimidating to some. 

On the other hand, those unfamiliar with what it all takes can be a bit overconfident, and overlook the details of what it really takes to run these operations smoothly.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be intimidating. Nor do you have to go into the transition completely blind, either.

Whether you’re switching from an indoor system – or from simple outdoor growing to the use of covered structures – here’s some invaluable tips to guarantee that you’ll land on your feet.

START SMALL

To be a successful greenhouse grower – especially just starting out – you don’t necessarily have to invest in the biggest one available on the market right away. (Though if you’re feeling confident, certainly don’t hold back!)

Bigger does not immediately mean better. For really busy farmers and gardeners just starting out, an enormous structure right off the bat may be quite the task (and may I say, an overwhelming curve ball?) to get the hang of managing – particularly in the middle of an already expectedly busy season.

Instead, start small. This could even mean beginning with a structure just for starts, nursery plants, or crops that are low-maintenance, so the stakes are not quite as high right away.

There are plenty of options to choose from on the smaller side of things too, especially in the realm of hoop houses or polytunnels. A smaller structure is much easier to control and manage than a larger one, especially if you have the right accessories.

Want to go bigger once you get the hang of things? You certainly can, as many kits are designed to be built upon and expanded.

Once you’ve perfected your greenhouse game, going for larger structures will boost both your yields and profits, and you’ll certainly want to go that route to grow your business. But starting small first will ensure that you’ll be doing it right, and help you ease into that phase comfortably and correctly!

START CHEAP

It’s the same logic as with your greenhouse size, in a way.

Except in this case, there’s no need to invest in an expensive one right away. (After all, more expensive greenhouses tend to be the larger ones, though not always).

Work instead with something less expensive that still meets your needs (on top of it being a more manageable size), and see if it’s the right fit for you and your business. See if you can handle it and ensure that your smaller, more cautious investment was worth it.

On the other hand, if you are going cheaper, make sure it’s still good quality! Details are important, all the way from plastic to the supports, trusses, and more.

What more, starting small and starting cheap are related in a way: the smaller the structure you invest in, the cheaper it’s more likely to be. 

Then, once you’ve become quite acquainted with working your structure and integrating it into your business, you can move on up a size. It will be yet another investment, but starting out with something cheaper will help you know if it’s worth it or not.

START SIMPLE

It’s easy for the most ambitious growers to go whole hog at the very beginning. They want the largest, fanciest greenhouse, with all the latest technologies and accessories in tow. 

This is great, and some of these businesses take off. But if you’re a busy grower already and very new to running one successfully, learning how to master all this can be a huge headache, particularly in the thick of a bustling growing season!

Instead, start simple. Invest in only a few simple accessories to begin with, maybe additions like roll-up sides or ventilation, which are very easy to operate and don’t require rocket science. (Plus, starting out with some sort of ventilation is a very important and basic necessity.)

Additional accessories can always be invested in and added on later to your basic structure, in most cases. Not only will this keep your costs down to begin with, but you can the slowly and surely get acquainted with what your greenhouse really, truly needs in addition to your business itself.

ONE PLANT AT A TIME

Permaculture and companion planting are hot terms in the gardening world today. Logically, greenhouses can really expand what’s possible in these realms, and for many different kinds of growers.

Experts never forget, however, that every plant’s needs are different. And once you get this simple technology involved, the way you approach growing different plants completely changes, too.

Even if you want to grow a startling rainbow of different plants within your structure, remember that you will have to balance every minute detail of their environment to be of benefit to ALL of them, not just some. This can be quite a bit of finesse for a beginner to learn.

For that reason, try stepping into the world of greenhouse growing one plant at a time. Invest in a structure that will only house one species or variety, get the hang of that, and then integrate other species as you go along.

As you grow in experience, the bridge from monoculture to more diversity will then become easier. You can perfect your approach to growing tomatoes, for example, and then have better knowledge of how to bring basil into the mix later.

DON’T EXPAND – ENHANCE!

You may have noticed a general theme in all of these greenhouse transition tips I’ve described.

The real essence of a smart transition: it’s about enhancing the way your already established business (or hobby) functions, and not just about expanding rapidly or leaping wildly forward into the unknown.

Don’t start out by getting the largest, most complicated and expensive model possible. 

Think instead more critically about the right structure that your business really needs – it could easily be something small and simple.

More importantly, wanting a greenhouse doesn’t mean that you have to needlessly complicate your system or operation with something enormous, complex, and costly. These marvels of technology should, after all, be simplifying your business, not the other way around!

Use this technology to enhance what you already have. 

Once you’ve mastered that, use the amazing potentials that these structures provide to expand into new, exciting territory!

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

So maybe you are the bold, daring, and ambitious grower who wants to get their hands dirty right away.

To take your business to the next level, you want that large greenhouse with the boatload of accessories. Maybe you have the money to invest in it all right away, too.

While exercising caution is wise as you explore the transition, never overestimate the power of self-education and doing your homework. 

If you’ve made an airtight plan, crunched all the numbers, and done plenty of research on everything it will take to run your dream operation, then don’t hold back! Get that greenhouse today.

And if you were ultimately fastidious enough to have planned every single detail that will go into your structure, all you’ll need is the hard work and ambition of a masterful grower to pull it off, and have things running smoothly in no time.

ARE YOU READY?

The beginning of your greenhouse dream is just around the corner! 

Where will you begin? 

Will you enhance what you’re already growing with some slow, smart steps? Do you have a smaller budget to begin with?

Or will you leap in head-first, going for the larger sizes and complex accessorizing?

Either way, making the change can be easy. 

Start out slow and simple – or, come up with a master plan for how your greenhouse will successfully enhance your business, no matter it’s size or complexity!

TRANSITIONING TO GREENHOUSE GROWING: HOW TO MAKE IT EASY
Lucija Johum 20 December, 2021
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