Monday, October 20, 2014

Tasks: The Greenhouse In October

Many greenhouse growers use their greenhouses for a short period during the warmer months of the year, but there are a small percentage of us that grow year round!
This month by month outline will share what tasks may need to be done year round.
Keeping in mind that I garden in Alberta Canada, (zone 2) the outdoor growing season is from mid to the end of May until the hard frosts take my gardens in mid to late September or early October. If your climate is a bit milder than mine, you can adjust your greenhouse schedule to suit your climate.
This schedule is made for a plan to plant outdoors in Mid to late May.
OCTOBER
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October brings with it a significant slow down to the daily activities in the greenhouse.  The summer blooms, crops and heat waves have passed on to make way for the cooler temperatures of fall.  We no longer will need to be so vigilant with daily watering, damping down and venting, but instead we need to pay attention to cool weather patterns and be ready to turn on the heat at night after the sun has set. 
In spite of the beautiful colors that fall in Alberta Canada brings, it also brings with it frost and much cooler temperatures.  There are specific tasks that I will need to take care of in the greenhouse before the full effect of fall sets in on us.
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In October, in my greenhouse I do the following tasks:
*  I live in a cooler climate and that means that I will have to take measures to ensure the heat is kept in the greenhouse over the winter. I will need to install my winter flooring over the decking in the greenhouse.
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The material that I use to insulate the floor in winter months is a 1/2 inch thick layer of foam matting.  (I use anti fatigue mats) This layer  of flooring mats will help to insulate the floor and keep some of the chill off as the temperatures dip below the freezing point.
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*  We all need to be sure that our heating systems are in perfect working order.  We certainly do NOT want to get caught with our “pants down” if a cold snap should hit. 
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*  Make sure the thermostat on the heating system is set to help keep things at a “happy” temperature inside the greenhouse…  Especially during those cooler nights.
*  It is time for us to stop damping down this month.  There is no longer the need to provide extra humidity, or too cool things off.  Too much humidity can cause more harm than good.
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*  Try to always keep some ventilation going.  We don’t need as much air flow venting as we did in the hot summer months, but we do need some air flow to keep fresh air moving about and helping to even out the temps in the greenhouse.
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*  Between mid morning and early afternoon is the best time to open your vents but remember to close them at night.  Try not to open vents on wet days if possible.
*  Be careful with your watering!!!   Over watering is a possibility now that it is cooler and the days are shorter.  Our plants are not as active and the warm temps are gone.  They do not need too much water this time of year. 
*  Try not to water too late in the day, as we need to allow the leaves and staging (if it gets wet) to dry out before it gets dark outside.  If we water early on in the day, any splashes can dry out before the sun sets.
*  Clean up your plants!  Remove any dead or yellowing leaves and/or spent flowers.   Spray I insects or diseases are present.  Make sure that if you need to spray for bugs, that you do it early in the day, regardless if you are using a “green” home made spray or a chemical commercial one.
*  Bring all of your frost sensitive plants inside for the winter months
*  Stop feeding your plants on a weekly basis this month.  The cooler temperatures and shorter days have caused many of them to go dormant.  Starting in October, cutting back to monthly feeding for most plants will be sufficient.
*  Assess what you will need to do to winterize the greenhouse for those coldest of months…make sure you have the supplies to do this.  We must have it all in place in the next month or so!
* Check your stock of supplies such as pots, soil, plant food, bulbs etc. and replenish what is low.
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*  keep your water reservoirs filled!  I use two large plastic garbage cans to hold water for the greenhouse.  I fill mine as needed from the outside tap.  It will not only keep your plants moderately watered…but will help keep some humidity in the air.
* Don’t forget to update your garden journals!!! Continue to take lots of photos to remind yourself of the things you do and do not like for future reference!
* maintain those clean conditions in the greenhouse…this will help prevent problems!!
I will see you again in November with more greenhouse tasks!
What tasks do you do for the month of October in your greenhouse?
Until next time….Happy gardening!
(¯`v´¯)
`*.¸.*´Glenda/Tootsie
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(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

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