Green Tomato Chutney Recipe

I’m not by any means a gardener, but I do love my grandchildren and when they clamored to buy some seeds, I let them pick one packet each. Chloe the eldest picked a packet of mixed flowers, and I reckoned I could cope with them. But the youngest Bethany was going through one of those phases that children go through. She had taken to eating tomatoes, as if they were apples, she couldn’t get enough of them.

Yes, that’s Right. You’ve guessed it. She picked a packet of tomato seeds. Glory be, what was I to do now, as far as I was aware you needed a greenhouse in these northern climes, to grow tomatoes. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was having none of it.

‘You said I could pick my own seeds, Grandad,’ she cried.

‘Yes, but I don’t think you can grow them without a greenhouse.’ I said.


‘Because, they don’t like the cold.’

‘But it’s not cold, Grandad, it’s nice and warm.’

‘I don’t mean just today, I mean in general.’

‘What’s in general?’

‘It means…em… it’s cold most days.’

‘That’s alright then, we’ll plant them today while it’s warm.’

I gave in then, thinking, we’ll plant the seeds today and she’ll eventually forget all about them.

I paid for the seeds, a pack of plant pots, a bag of compost, and lugged them home on the bus. After getting off the bus the girls ran ahead, leaving me to hump the compost and plant pots. Reaching the house and since my hands were full, I pushed the door open with my foot and was just in time to hear the little one say, ‘And, Grandma, Grandad’s coming with the pots and the compy stuff and we’re going to plant the seeds straight away.’

‘Hold it, hold it,’ I said as I staggered through the door, ‘before Grandad does anything, he’s going to have a nice cup of tea.’

‘Aw, Grandad,’ she said.

But she waited, after a fashion, humming a hawing, until I had a cup of tea, and then she dragged me out into the garden.

Opening the bag of compost I filled six pots for Chloe and let her plant her own flower seeds, then help Bethany with her tomato seeds. Now all we could do was wait.

The weather was mild so it should have been, since it was May and we were far too late for planting tomato seeds. Two weeks went by and the flowers started to show, but there was no sign of the tomatoes. Another two week went by and just when I’d given up. Bethany came racing indoors, all excited.

‘Come and look Grandad, they are growing.’

And sure enough the tomatoes were showing, but I didn’t hold out much hope for the crop. Anyway as soon as the plants were big enough I transplanted them into a couple of grow bags and they took off, like Jack’s magic beanstalk.


It’s now the 30th of September, the plants are 5ft high, filled with tomatoes, and are still flowering. Bethany is over the moon and is looking forward to picking her first fruit, or should I say vegetable? But as we slide into October, no way on earth are they going to ripen and to save her disappointment I decided after consultation with the Grand Dame, my mother in-law, to turn them into chutney. See the recipe below. By the way, Chloe’s flowers bloomed, though they are nearly finished now.

Green Tomato Chutney.

Will make 5- 6lb.


4lb green tomatoes

1lb apples

1lb of onions

8oz of raisins

2lb of soft brown sugar

1/2oz of salt

1/2oz of root ginger

1oz of mustard seeds

11/2 pints of malt vinegar


Cut up tomatoes, peel, core, and cut up apples, cut up onions and chop raisins.

Bruise ginger and tie in muslin bag.

Place all ingredients into pan, bring to boil and simmer until vinegar has been absorbed. (Approx 2 hours) At this point you should be able to draw a wooden spoon across the mixture and it will leave an impression.

Remove the bag of ginger, pour chutney into hot dry screw-top jars and place waxed discs on top of each one.

Cover jars with a clean cloth until cold.

Screw on lids (Make sure they are vinegar proof first) label and store in a cool cupboard.

Mmm, I can taste it now.

Growing Tomatoes – How to Avoid Common Problems

One of the most exciting moments in tomato growing is when flowers begin to fade and the first little pea-like fruits appear. Each day they grow a little bigger until they reach their mature size when they start to change colour and become ripe tomatoes. They look almost too good to eat! However, temperatures and humidity have to be right for flowers to set fruit. If flowers fail to set, blossom drop is the result and those pretty little blooms wither and break off at the knuckle. To avoid blossom drop, mist and tap plants daily to help release pollen. If the weather is particularly hot and dry, also water around the base of plants to increase humidity.

Watering can be a tricky business when it comes to tomatoes especially if they are grown in containers. However, correct watering can help avoid blossom end rot, which is caused by a lack of calcium when the fruits are swelling and leaves a dark leathery patch on the underside of the tomatoes. The first aim should be to keep the entire root area moist by giving them a thorough watering once a week (especially when the fruits are swelling) and water moderately in between. The reason is that roots are only able to feed and absorb nutrients (including calcium) from areas of soil that are moist. If half of the soil that your plant is growing in is dry, calcium uptake may also be reduced by half.

One way to keep tomato plants healthy, especially when grown in a confined space such as a greenhouse or where they may be planted close together, is to increase aeration. This may be done by removing old, lower leaves below the first truss to improve air circulation.

Opinion about deleafing varies considerably. Some gardeners will leave most leaves on their plants which helps shield tomatoes from direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight and heat can cause sun scald, greenback and blotchy ripening. Some growers, especially those who grow in greenhouses, remove all leaves below the truss that is producing ripe fruit. This enables plants resourses to be directed into the fruit rather than having to support lots of leaves. Plants grown in greenhouses do not usually have their fruit in direct sunlight for long periods, so avoid the problems of sun scald etc.

When watering, avoid splashing soil up onto the lowest leaves which may transfer soil infections into a plant through the leaves. Splashing water up onto growing fruit may also create ghost spot which is caused by grey mould soil spores and displays small transparent water-like rings. It’s also a good idea to pull off suckers, side shoots and leaf branches by hand rather than cut them because the blades of knives and scissors can spread disease from one plant to another.

Nick Chenhall has been a keen tomato grower for many years and runs his own tomato growing website. If you would like to find out more about growing tomatoes, please visit:

Best Tips For Growing Tomatoes In Cold Weather

One of the biggest enemy of a tomato plant is cold weather. That’s why growing tomatoes in cold climates forces us to choose between the two: greenhouse or indoor garden with fluorescent lights. Either way we need to remember both about the light and the temperature. We will discuss all these issues in this article.

If we live in a colder climate and we are fixated on growing tomatoes in cold weather, then we have to do one of 2 things. We either have to fix up a nice place indoors for them with plenty of light, and the proper temperatures, or we have to install a green house outdoors.

Now, when we talk about greenhouses, we don’t have to be talking about the big expensive kind you see at the local garden centers. Because most of us do not have enough resources or space to install one, we should consider smaller alternatives. Small versions however can be built or even kits found on places such as eBay for less than a hundred dollars, complete.

Among the most important benefits of using a greenhouse is the fact that it protects the plants from both wind and low temperatures. This is probably the best scenario as the plants will be able to take advantage of natural light which is best for them. If that’s not possible however, then perhaps you have some extra space inside the house or even the garage where you can set up your tomato garden.

Just make sure that where ever you put them, they have access to plenty of light. Where sunshine is lacking, fluorescent lights can be used in place of it. The longer the lights can stay on, the better off your plants will be. Then once you have your area set up, simply carry on with your gardening the same way you would normally care for your plants.

Further care of your plants should include feeding them and pruning them back. When the leaves have plenty of room to grow and they aren’t all bunched together, they will produce far more fruits than if left to their own devices. Taking good care of your plant regardless whether it’s growing indoors or outdoors will always help it in producing better quality fruits. You need to make sure that your tomato garden will drain well and your plants will not experience floods or droughts. Water them every day and remember that they like to be moist.

Pawel Kalkus is an internet writer and gardener with 15 years of experience in organic vegetable gardening. If you liked this article on growing tomatoes in cold weather go get your free copy of his “7 Best Tomato Growing Tips” ebook here.

Reasons You Should Create an Organic Hydroponic Greenhouse

Soil is very essential for a plant’s life. Many people would wonder how a plant would grow without the use of soil. Because of the many advances and new technological discoveries, everything can be made in an instant such as food, beverages, and even plants. There are new methods in these modern days where they can grow the plants fast. The use of the traditional method of agriculture, which consists of the slow process of cultivating, watering, sowing, and attending to the plant everyday, became less popular to those gardeners who have learned the methods of organic hydroponics. Organic hydroponics lessens a gardener’s effort of growing the plant in an instant. A person can grow his plants fast and can create more production by applying the methods of organic hydroponics. Others have known this method to be interesting in the first place, because it does not require the use of soil to raise the plants. Some people also know this process as soil-less culture, water gardening, soil-less gardening, and chemi-culture. For many farmers and gardeners it is commonly known as hydroponics gardening. This methodical way of gardening shows a simultaneous way of cultivating the plants without any presence of soil. The needed nutrients needed by the plants are directly supplied on their roots. The organic chemical fertilizers must be in dissolved so that they will be fed for the plants. The nutrients must be soluble enough so that the roots will surely zip the solution. This is an amazing process that no soil is needed to complement the liquid provided to the plants. Many greenhouses are now used in applying organic hydroponic fertilizers to their plants. However, there are still many greenhouse owners who do not want to perform this method on their plants. They believe that it is ecologically harmful and bad for the environment, but this could not be true according to many experts who study the science of hydroponics. They insist that in this way they could attend to the much needed demand of food supply nowadays. This could be true because organic hydroponics allows the plant to quickly grow healthier. A gardener should also be satisfied to the increase of his crop production than his usual harvested crop. Here are some benefits and advantages of using organic and hydroponics gardening. 1. A person may not worry if the water fed to the plants could be less or enough for the roots. 2. He may not worry on the fertilizer or chemical solution applied to the plants because the amount may not matter as long as the plants is able to sustain its fast growth and production. 3. Many organic hydroponics greenhouses are used for many researches and studies for plant and seed propagation using the science of hydroponics. They seem to be valuable for many scientists that experiments about technological advancements on how to improve more on plant organic fertilizers and chemical solutions. 4. The space needed for holding the plants is now more convenient because he may use lesser space to accommodate and attend to more plants than being more concerned in potting and sowing or cultivating any soil. 5. Hydroponics gardening helps a person conserve more time and effort. It relieves a person on laborious work in attending to the different needs of the soil such as keeping the soil wet, sowing, weeding the soil, and nurturing the soil. 6. Plants can grow together even if they are grown close to each other. Unlike in traditional agriculture, the plants need more space because the soil creates bigger roots for the plants. In hydroponics gardening the roots of the plants grow smaller in contrast to a larger plant or crop. 7. A farmer can practice multiple cropping for he can harvest and plant the crops at the same time. He may realize that he harvested more crops compared to his previous harvest where he had used the normal way of planting. 8. He may be able to grow larger and healthier plants because of the organic fertilizer supplied on the roots of the plants. Nowadays, hydroponics gardening is widely accepted by many farmers and gardeners. The presence of many organic hydroponic greenhouses is a proof to its popularity and accessibility to the needs of plants and crops in this modern time to accommodate more plant and crop production.

Read about pruning tomatoes and ripen tomatoes at the Tomato Growing website.

American Home Vegetable Gardening & the Tomato

A hundred years ago, almost every American family grew some of their own produce at home.  In rural America, farming families would grow almost all their vegetables, as well as raise livestock for their meat and dairy needs.

Today, with the advent of mass transportation and the growth of suburban America, there are fewer and fewer self-supporting family farms.  Many Americans living in urban or suburban areas do the majority of their grocery shopping at large commercial grocery stores.  However, home vegetable gardening has reemerged as a popular hobby for families.

Of all homegrown vegetables, the tomato is considered the most popular crop.  Many American families plant at least one tomato plant each year, either in their backyard or somewhere in the landscaping around their home.  What is the reason for the tomato plant’s widespread popularity?  It is an extremely easy plant to grow, thriving in almost all U.S. climate conditions and soil types.  Tomatoes will grow in almost any location that receives at least four hours of sunlight per day.  They do require regular watering for optimum fruit production, but will produce some fruit even in dry conditions.

Tomatoes are a fairly disease resistant crop, too, suffering only occasionally from leaf wilt and blight.  Good planting and pruning techniques can usually prevent these problems.  Tomato bugs, white flies, and cutworms can also pose threat to tomatoes, but these pests can usually be kept at bay with soap spray, cutworm collars placed at the bottom of the plant, or other commercially available pesticide sprays.

Because tomatoes are such a popular plant for home gardeners, they are usually readily available for purchase as young plants from local garden centers and discount stores during the early spring months of the year.  Plants found in stores will probably be of the more common varieties and hybrids such as Better Boy, Beefsteak, Sweet 100 (a cherry type tomato) and Early Girl.  Less common varieties may have to be purchased as seeds and grown “from scratch” by the gardener.  Growing plants from seed is certainly a more economical option than buying already established plants, and can be worthwhile, particularly when planting on a large scale.

Growing plants from seed is not difficult, and seed packets for many vegetables and herbs usually begin appearing on store shelves as early as January or February.  Starting plants from seed indoors is a good way to get a head start on the growing seasons, and can often result in bigger plants and larger harvests.  All you really need are pots full of soil and a warm, sunny location for them during the day.  For optimum seed starting conditions, you can also use a grow light or heat lamp.

Greenhouses can also be enormously helpful in starting plants from seed, because they create warmer growing climates for the plants than the surrounding air outside.  For the gardener with space restrictions, indoor tabletop green houses can be a good option, as they occupy no more space than a small table or workbench.  For the serious gardener with plenty of outdoor space, a larger outdoor greenhouse may be the better choice.  Greenhouse kits to help you build your own greenhouse are readily available through specialty catalogs and online stores.

Though home gardening isn’t what it used to be a century ago, it has adapted along with the American family and our growing and changing way of life.  Most families today obtain the vast majority of their food from grocery stores; however, the small suburban garden continues to thrive as a source of good food and a leisurely pastime for millions of American families today.

For more information on building a greenhouse, visit Home Products ‘n’ More. There you’ll find a variety of greenhouse kits and greenhouse supplies, all with free shipping!

Learn About Fertilization for Greenhouse Plants

A plant newly potted will need some time so that it can grow new roots in order to absorb or take in the fertilizer that you will apply. How you fertilize and what type of fertilizer you use is dependent on what kinds of plants or crop you grow in your greenhouse, because every crop has a particular requirement with regards to nutrients, and this requirement should be met. For house plants, it is usually much easier to fertilize a large group together. Generally, plants need to be fertilized every one or two months while there is rapid growth and all throughout the winter season, twice or once only. Alternatively, you can apply the fertilizer more frequently when using a liquid fertilizer diluted in water; this familiarizes certain plants that otherwise be injured when you use a fertilizer of full. Generally half of the recommended strength or dosage means that you use only half fertilizer in every plant. Annual plants can flourish very rapidly and will require fertilization every two weeks throughout their “short season”. A few flowering plants such as the Azalea must not be applied fertilizer while in their blooming or flowering stage. Most fertilizers that are generally used have considerable amount of nitrogen (50 percent); they contain the preferred amount of nitrate f and are usually labeled and identified as “peat-lite”. This type is preferred and recommended for greenhouse hobby use. The N-P-K ratio can be verified by reading the label that is found at the fertilizer bag. Fertilizers are usually applied at the amount or ratio of “200 ppm nitrogen” fertilizer like “21-5-20” or “20-10-20”. This is completed by continuous liquid application; this ratio is the basis for mostly all pot grown “greenhouse plants”. The rate may be adjusted downward or upward depending on the plant that is grown. Any pre-mixed or ready mixture of fertilizer for the kind of plants that you grow is acceptable; for most flowering and foliar plants. An N-P-K ratio analysis that is similar to “1-2-1” will supply a balanced growth. Soluble fertilizers can be conveniently applied and deliver faster results compared to solid fertilizers or “slow release” gravel-like fertilizers. Just apply the solution in a manner like you are watering your plants, however, instead of water, use the fertilizer solution, making certain that the plant soil is slightly moist before application. You should never apply fertilizer solution onto plants with dry soil the roots can be injured by the fertilizer chemicals; moist soil further dilutes the chemicals. Apply fertilizers always following or much weaker dose than the suggested dilution strength, and not stronger, as seedlings, newly established cuttings, and developing plants will derive benefit from much weaker solutions; stronger solution will only injure young and soft roots. There are many injections or siphon devices available in the market to make application of soluble fertilizers much easier; however, when you use them, be certain that you install “backflow preventers” in order to keep the nutrients or chemicals in the fertilizer solution from contaminating your water supply in the home. Likewise do not water your plants with a “water-softened” water due to its “high salt” content. Recommended fertilizer products A mixture of floramicro, florabloom and floragro, will enable you to combine a wide range of many different nutrient blends or solutions in order to fulfill the specific requirement of virtually any kind of plant that you grow, and at different stages of the plants life.  This is accomplished by changing the mixture combinations as well as the general strength of your solution. You can combine different ratios and different strength of nutrients by adjusting the water quantity when blending floragro, floramicro and florabloom. Calcium Nitrate in Greenhouse Grade may be used in large scale growing. It can be economical to buy fertilizers in 50-pound quantities. Calcium Nitrate in Greenhouse Grade and Hydro-Gro are great combinations to achieve complete nutrient blend. Greenhouse plants need your attention. Check on them each day to be sure that they are free from disease and pests and act immediately if there is any problem. It is a wise idea to know the characteristics of each type of plant that you grow in your greenhouse. Have fun taking care of your plants!

To read about tomato diseases and freezing tomatoes, visit the Tomato Growing site.

The Structure of a Greenhouse

Having a farm is not just about planting crops and harvesting it. There is a lot of work to be done to protect it from disease, pests and the weather. Since these areas are usually big and require a lot of manpower, scientists have come up with a better idea. This plan is to grow crops in a controlled environment which makes it easy to grow crops all throughout the year. This structure which can be big or small depending on the open space in the farm is known as the greenhouse. A greenhouse is an enclosed building that is usually made up of metal, wood and glass. These structures are designed so that the farmer can grow vegetables, flowers and fruits. The person can buy one and have it assembled in the farm or have it custom made according to certain specifications. This new method has better results than doing farming the non-organic way such as the use of sewage, irradiation, pesticides and herbicides. This is only after tests have shown that this is a health risk that does more harm than good. A very good example which has shown that this approach is effective is the use of hydroponics farming. This technique doesn’t require the use of soil but rather water to make the plant grow. In one experiment, scientists were able to produce more tomatoes using water than it was using soil. Since then, other ways of doing hydroponics have been done and this has helped the productivity of the farmers. More farmers rely on free standing greenhouses. Before these can be set up in the farmland, a good location must be determined that should provide adequate sunlight and wind to help the plants grow. The most important thing that keeps the greenhouse standing is the frame. Developers have made versions using wood, metal, aluminum and plastic. The farmer can use any of these or have one that is a combination of any of these materials. This will depend on the budget of the farmer and the type of weather conditions there is in the area. Plants grow because of two things. The first is the nutrients that are given to it. The second is sunlight. This makes it important for the farmer to choose the right panels. Traditional greenhouses use glass but there are many problems when these are used as panels. Since it doesn’t protect the crops from the sun and merely lets it in, too much heat can kill the plants. When there is a hurricane or a hailstorm, rocks and other things in most cases break the glass. This will cost a lot of money on the part of farmer to replace. In order for the farmer to make money in selling crops than paying for repairs, designers have made panels using other things such as plastic, film and Plexiglas. This is a remarkable improvement since these are shatterproof and are able to stand severe weather conditions. These also allow only 75% of ultraviolet light to enter the greenhouse which is the sufficient amount needed to help the plants grow. The climate is changing and that is something that people cannot change. The effects of El Niño and La Niña have made the weather worse than the year before and this is a challenge that farmers must face. Another thing that makes up the greenhouse is the equipment needed to keep it running. Farming in a cold climate can be difficult and since plants need warmth, a heater should also be installed. Heaters come in big and small sizes. This can be powered by electricity, using propane gas, oil and other non-renewable resources. This device gives farmers the means to meet the demands of the people especially during the winter. Farms have also changed thanks to technology. People don’t have to till the land anymore using rakes. Greenhouses can have timers which release water mixed with nutrients at certain times of the day helping the plants grow.  Though it is quite expensive to build a greenhouse, by selecting the proper structure, the farmer can be sure that come harvest time, there will be enough crops to sell to the market and money can be made.

Want to find out about tomato diseases and freezing tomatoes? Get tips from the Tomato Growing website.

What is Hydroponics Greenhouses

Hydroponic greenhouses provide an inorganic method of raising plants. Most plants that are hydroponically raised must be treated with proper care in controlled conditions. The use of gravel is common on this kind of greenhouses where the gravel supports the roots of the plants because no soil is used in raising the plants. It also balances the assorted nutrients that feed the plants in the form of liquid. Those large commercially oriented greenhouse have automated ways to refine and propagate seeds. All the things needed to grow the seeds are all set with automated care and maintenance. There are sensitive sensors on the gravel that automatically turns on the pumps that contains water or other chemical solutions that are applied on the seeds. Using hydroponic greenhouses gives a gardener the advantage of increasing the crop amount yielded in a single harvest. In normal agriculture, he may only produce the regular crop harvest. He may double or triple the crop production by applying the methods in hydroponic gardening. It should create big success in his greenhouse by using chemical fertilizers rather than the usual potting soil or organic fertilizers. Steve Fox of New Mexico proposes that greenhouse gardeners should increase the production of yielded crop by extensively practicing the use of inorganic chemical fertilizers. He may also avoid poisoning the soil from organic chemical fertilizers that kills the living microorganisms that are essential in the natural growth of the plants. He says that these chemicals should be used only on controlled conditions by special hydroponic greenhouses where the destruction of the gravel beds will be avoided which are important in the for the root support of the hydroponically raised plants. A person may wonder how the food he eats comes from hydroponic greenhouses knowing that this method used chemical inorganic fertilizer. This could bother a person’s mindset on the food that he eats. Many nutritionists have proven that these vegetables or fruits that came from hydroponic greenhouses are safe and nutritious because plants only absorb the fertilizer in an organic state. Daniel Arnon, a physiologist professor from the University of California have stated that the plant nutrients acquired from organic composts are applied to plants when they are converted into inorganic state because of the role of the microorganisms to fertilize the soil. Many food scientists have studied and proved that all fertilizer elements should be converted first into soluble form before the roots of the plant use it. The widely used chemical fertilizers have oriented many greenhouses to feed the crops and not the soil. This may result to the death of the soil because of the break down of the organic composition. When it comes to fertilizing the soil, it is important to remember the proper organic steps to feed the soil so that it will produce sufficient inorganic fertilizer needed to produce more nutrients in it. This points out that organic gardening may not necessarily produce the needed nutrients, where in organic fertilizer must be formed first to supply the nutrients in the organic form.  When a person applies raw chemical fertilizers on the soil, he may affect the soil condition. Microorganisms that may have been living in the soil would surely die because of these artificial fertilizers. The soil can no longer grow any plants unless the continuous use of chemical fertilizers is applied. Hydroponic gardening may not need the services of the soil. The plants are fed through exact nutrient dosages to increase their production and for faster growth. Business minded persons are interested on this kind of method. On the other hand, the world today cannot anymore accommodate the growing demand for food because of the unstoppable growth of the world’s population that is why chemicals are now widely used on many crops to satisfy with the increasing demand for food supply. Many experts realize that the use of chemical solutions in crops is bad for the environment. Most of these chemical solutions are made from petroleum products that should give a person the conclusion that these products are pollutants. However, the present times dictate the need to accept this reality because of the need to supply the farmers with the needed chemical solutions to produce and harvest more crops to sustain the production of food.

Learn about tomato varieties and tomato blight at the Tomato Growing site.

Finding the Right Greenhouse to Buy

A farmer who has worked the land and still faces the same problems will eventually get tired. That person has to then make a choice. That is whether to sell the farm or try a new approach to make it profitable. This decision will not be easy. Perhaps this is because the land has been with the family for years. Every known pesticide and herbicide has been used but still during the same time each year, the same pests still come and do considerable damage. This approach will require something new and this is the best time that scientists and other experts will suggest that the farmer buy a greenhouse. The greenhouse is an enclosed structure that allows the farmer to grow crops in a controlled environment. This means that the right nutrients and proper sunlight are provided all year round without anymore having to worry about pests. This can be made of glass, metal, wood or plastic. The farmer just has to decide where the greenhouse will be placed and the size to get. Greenhouses can grow a variety of things. People first used this to grow flowers but tests have shown that this can increase the productivity of crops 10 times more than traditional farming. This has enabled farmers to grow fruits and vegetables giving these individuals more profit than ever before. One technique that has proven very effective when using greenhouses is hydroponics farming. This is done by using water instead of soil to grow the crops. Scientists and other experts have found more than one way to do this which is gaining popularity in the agricultural industry. People can get greenhouses in different shapes and sizes. A lot of customers prefer the free-standing models. If ever the supplier does not have the size for the farmer, this can be custom built and delivered in a few days. The kind of structure used for the greenhouse depends on the weather where the farm is situated. Should the area have strong winds, then the structure made out of metal instead of wood will be a good choice. The other thing that makes up the greenhouse is the panels. Just like the frames, this can be installed using different materials. The market currently has it in plastic, film and glass. If the farm experiences hailstorms or snow storms often, it will be a food idea for the farmer to get panels made of plastic or Plexiglas. Since these are shatter proof, the farmer will be able to save money. This is because when ordinary glass is used and it is damaged, it has to be replaced. Greenhouses work well especially during winter. Suppliers also provide the equipment to keep the crops warm. The heaters used will depend on the size of the structure and the budget of the farmer. There are some models that are powered by electricity, gas and oil. This machine will give the farmers the means to meet the demands of the people during this period. Since it takes a lot of effort on the part of the farmer to maintain the farm, another thing that can help is the installation of a timer. Greenhouses can have timers which will release water mixed with nutrients at certain times of the day to help the plants grow.  Owning a farm is not just about planting crops and harvesting it. Since there is a lot of work to be done, the person must be prepared always to face the challenges ahead. This could be in the form of diseases, pests and the weather. Buying a greenhouse has proven to be the effective way of growing crops and with the efforts of the farmer; the investment for this structure will soon pay off. More crops will be sold during harvesting season and profits will grow. The farmer could then invest in more greenhouses if there is still space in the farm. Should the farmer decide to get one, the things to be considered are the budget, the size of the farm and the weather conditions that exist. By getting the right structure for the job, the land will grow and pass on to the next generation.

Read about tomato hornworm and hydroponic tomatoes at the Tomato Growing website.

Learn About the Misting System for Your Greenhouse

Greenhouses have become important tools in plant cultivation. They provide much needed growing rooms for places which are not very conducive for the development of certain plants. They allow the cultivation of plants in places which could grow these plants normally. There are many factors which can affect the development of plants inside a greenhouse. The proper balance of air circulation, ventilation, humidity, shading and heating will provide the plants with an optimum environment. Misting Other factors will such as ventilation and shading, are important for prevention of overheating in the greenhouse. However, proper misting or the control of humidity is the main factor which maintains a comfortable environment for the cultivation of plants. Evaporation uses up heat when it turns water from liquid into a gas. When the venting process is done, much needed moisture is lost from the greenhouse because it escapes into the air. Misting is one of the ways to replace the lost moisture inside the greenhouse. The amount of moisture which is needed to be maintained by the greenhouse is dependent on several factors such as the amount of shading and ventilation that is provided, the status of the local climate and the fluctuations in the daily weather. The rule of thumb is that for each 10 square-ft of area, there must be 1-2 gallons/hour of moisture. A misting system will effectively distribute moisture evenly to all the parts of the greenhouse. A good misting system can disperse water in a fine mist, this will prevent the plants from being soaked. Misting systems reduce temperatures by as much as twenty-five degrees F which is about 14 degrees Celsius. Here are some facts about misting systems -Misting systems can be used to disperse water in an ultra fine mist or a very coarse spray. The size of the droplets can depend on the nozzle type, the spacing of the nozzle and the operating pressure. -Misting systems are used for many different kinds of applications aside from its normal greenhouse chores. They can be used from dust suppression, controlling static electricity control and concrete curing. -Misting systems utilize pumps which are designed for intermittent or continuous duty. Intermittent pumps are designed to sprinkle water for five minutes and rest for a minute in between misting. -Misting systems now come with electronic timers which can be programmed to mist 1-14 times a day with each misting ranging from 1 minute to 24 minutes. Other systems can be programmed to mist in shorter durations but more often. -Nozzles are made from brass or plastic materials. The brass nozzles can be easily affected by minerals that abound in the water supply. The plastic nozzles can tolerate these minerals and can actually repel lime and other deposits. -The amount of water which is needed to maximize the efficiency of the misting system can be calculated by multiplying the rate of the nozzle flow per minute by the number of nozzles in the system and the result will then be multiplied again by the minutes that the misting system will be in operation each day. This result will be a good estimate of how much water is needed by the system. -Most misting systems today offer pumps which are almost noise-free. They will not affect the plants and especially the people near the greenhouse. -Misting systems can be supplemented by an evaporative cooler. They work very well in dry climates (where humidity is below 50%). The air is cooled by around 10-20 degrees by the water which is evaporated because they are drawn through the cooler and then into the greenhouse. Too much humidity can be a problem and this is why people should water the plant only when they need it. -The use of tools which can measure humidity can also be very helpful for greenhouse enthusiasts. There are other factors that need to be considered in greenhouse plant cultivation. Misting is just one of them. Misting provides the plants with much needed cooling for the plants. There are many tools out there that are available for greenhouse plant cultivations which can immensely increase the quality of their greenhouses especially in terms of misting. A cultivator just needs to find out what kind of misting system should be employed for his plants.

Information on freezing tomatoes can be found at the Tomato Growing site.

Learn All About Hoop House Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse will give many benefits to a gardener, whether he is a mere hobbyist or an expert plant cultivator. However, there are many things to consider in having a greenhouse, not to mention the expenses that come with building greenhouses. A good alternative is to own a hoop house type of greenhouse. These are very simple greenhouses which can be assembled very easily. There are many advantages in having a hoop house greenhouse, here are some of them: -Availability of more growing time A hoop house greenhouse provides a gardener more time to cultivate his favorite plants. An extra 3 to 4 months can be extracted for planting more crops in the greenhouse. -Inexpensive way to cultivate Hoop house greenhouses provide an inexpensive way to help greenhouse enthusiasts to get started into cultivating crops. -Crop protection from predators and extreme weather conditions Hoop house greenhouses are built to protect plants from different adverse conditions which can be brought about by weather conditions and different crop predators. They provide sturdy and efficient covering for the plants against these factors. -More varieties of plants can be grown Because hoop houses will allow longer growing seasons, more varieties of plants can be grown in the hoop houses. -Increased income and savings One can cultivate different crops which can be equated into additional income or savings. One can actually sell fruits and vegetables which are grown in the hoop houses or can plant crops which can be consumed by the family, therefore avoiding the need to purchase these from the supermarket. There are many reasons why gardeners have availed hoop houses for their gardens. Here are some more pertinent facts about hoop houses that should be known by other enthusiasts: -Most growers recover the cost of building their hoop houses in a single season of planting. -There are no permits required in building hoop houses since they are not considered as permanent structures. -The growing seasons can be extended by using hoop houses and several other equipments. Hoop houses usually extend growing seasons by as much as 4 months, but by adding layers of insulating film and an inflation blower, one can extend the growing season more than four months. -Hoop houses are usually made from galvanized steel. The galvanized hoops serve as the framework for the greenhouse. The material is low maintenance, very sturdy and very economical. -Hoop houses are characterized by natural regulation of its temperature. There is no need for extra equipments which can be sources of additional costs. The hoop houses are warmed by the natural sun and are cooled by the wind. One can roll the sides up and open the hoop house doors to be able to provide ventilation to the plants inside. This is a very cost effective way of cultivating plants in a greenhouse. -Hoop houses can be built in places where the winds are prevalent and where snow can be a problem. Hoop houses are built from sturdy frames which are designed to handle heavy winds and can withstand the harsh effects of snowing. One can position the hoop house perpendicular to the winds to maximize the ventilation for the plants. One should also remember to do some maintaining when the snow comes. Occasional brushing of the snow will be very beneficial for the hoop house. -Hoop houses are quite tall and gardeners can use the vertical space to be able to plant more crops. Adding purlins will allow one to hang baskets, tie up tomatoes and other plants. The baskets can then be used to plant ornamental crops or other types of plants. -One can customize his hoop house in terms of the creation of doors or windows. The traditional hoop houses have a built-in door and a couple of windows for ventilation. -There are other functions that hoop houses can do when the planting season is over. They can serve as a chicken coop if one installs poultry netting. They can also be used to grow orchids or other ornamental plants. -Hoop houses can be relocated easily. Relocating hoop houses can be done without disassembling the structure. There are many reasons why people turn to hoop houses when they want to have a greenhouse. Aside from the multiple benefits that plants can get from being sheltered by hoop houses, these greenhouses are very economical and won’t dig deep into the gardeners’ pockets.

For tips on canning tomatoes and planting tomatoes, visit the Tomato Growing website.

How to Create a Commercial Greenhouse

The productivity and efficiency of operating a greenhouse is primarily dependent on the kind of growing materials used. Kinds of Greenhouses Detached greenhouses generally independently stand from each other. However, they can be joined to gain access by way of a corridor to the other greenhouse. The Quonset is the most common detached type of greenhouse for use in commercial production. These types are constructed using arched rafters that normally have end solid walls for added support. Quonset greenhouses types are appropriate for most crop varieties however the growing capacity is to a certain degree restricted close to “the side walls” which reduces productivity and efficiency. Ridge greenhouses are joined through the eave with a shared gutter. Normally, an interior wall located underneath the gutter is absent permitting increased productivity. Ridge greenhouses can either be curved arch or gabled. Gabled greenhouses are generally suitable for substantial coverings such as fiberglass or glass, whereas curved arch greenhouses are usually covered with much lighter materials such as polycarbonates or polyethylene. Many connected ridge greenhouses often are called “range”. Planning This is one of the very important steps which have to be taken into careful consideration by the grower. Proper area selection with connection to labor, markets, utilities as well as future expansion really makes a lot of difference in how the business will profit and grow. Here are basic things to consider: • Crops that you will be growing (potted plants, Bedding plants, perennials, herbs, vegetables, etc.) • The growing period of the crops (seasonal or year-round) • Plants that will be grown (flats, pots, hydroponics bed, troughs, etc.) • Growing medium (no soil, soil, mix, compost, nutrient solution, etc.) • Growing methods (flooring, movable or fixed benches, growing bags, beds and flood) • Annual productivity (space that is required) • Marketing technique (retail, wholesale or both) • Investment or capital Here are things to be considered when constructing a commercial greenhouse: 1. Space. The area required greatly depends on your kind of business whether retail or wholesale. The minimum space must be more or less two acres so to make available parking for employees and customers, driveway access for deliveries, area for storage and also for future expansion. A wholesale venture generally will require much more because the greenhouse will be a lot more bibber and wider. 2. Zoning. These are local regulations that controls land use and encourage safety, health and the community’s welfare. Note that greenhouse operations are permitted in particular zones only. Frontage, distances of side yards, signs and also parking spaces should be specified. You should confirm with your zoning officer and ask what is required and ask regarding building codes so you will know if a permit will be needed. 3. Highway Access. Site location with regards to highways must be taken into account. For retail business, a location beside or along a high traffic road or beside a considerable residential site can greatly increase business. Wholesale business needs access to some interstate highway so to deal with heavy truck road traffic. 4. Environment. Select a location that is away from “industrial pollution”. 5. Climate. Avoid areas with extreme temperatures, as in the winter plant growth is directly related the light that is received. 6. Slope. Ground slope to provide water drainage is very important. Greenhouses must be situated on gravel base, 6-12 inches above grade. 7. Water. Plants need sufficient moisture supply for optimal development and the highest production of flowers. As to how much water is required will greatly be determined by how big is the area that will be watered, weather conditions, crops grown, time of the year and “the environment control system”. Note that water that comes from “natural sources” have some amount of impurities present, and are at times harmful to plant growth. You should have the water tested for chemicals that can be present in your water system, to address the problem, if there is a problem. 8. Electricity. Your commercial greenhouse should have enough supply of electricity as well as distribution system must be provided so to supply and manage environment in the greenhouse. As early as in the designing stage of the greenhouse, you should already call on your area’s electric utility regarding power availability and also call on your electrician to design the electrical layout. 9. Expansion. All throughout the development and planning stage, provisions must be considered for later expansion. Note that before going into the business, as in any business, careful assessment should be made before a decision is made. Plan it carefully. Good Luck.

Learn about canning tomatoes and planting tomatoes at the Tomato Growing site.