While the East may still be covered in snow, warmer temperatures will be here for all of us before we know it. Now is the time to get your greenhouse ready, says Steve Froehlich, horticulturist at CropKing. Froehlich provides five tips to ensure you’re in tip-top shape before the spring frenzy begins.
1. Check your controllers — Make sure you’re in spring mode, and not stuck in winter mode, Froehlich warns. “The grower who I was dealing with yesterday had a program entered into his controller that was really more of a regime for end of season,” he says. “How you treat your greenhouse environment is going to be different than what it was coming out of production last fall.” Adjusting for increasing day lengths, and adjusting temperature for wild temperature swings and changing humidity. “You certainly do not want to have your equipment starting to open up vent doors, bringing in a lot of cold air. It can have a negative effect on your crop.”
2. Ready your equipment — Froehlich recommends cycling through your systems to ensure they’re working properly, such as your ventilating fans and your wet wall (if you have one). On the other hand, if you were running your lights more often in the greenhouse, it’ll be time to turn them off for greater periods of time.
3. Be prepared for bugs—Those pesky insects have been wintering somewhere, Froehlich says, and they can make it into your greenhouse even with snow still covering the ground. “Protected areas where the sun is shining can be enough to hatch these bugs out. And they’re hungry,” he says. “So start your insect scouting. Have a plan in place of what you’re going to do if you start seeing aphids, or white flies, or whatever else show up in your greenhouse.”
4. Push up the EC (electrical conductivity)—More light exposure means your plants are more active in their processes. “It’s going to be taking up more water. It can handle higher levels of food. Don’t be afraid to be adjusting your feeding program as we start picking up more and more light,” Froehlich advises.
5. Get ready for a market boom — “Unless you’ve been growing all through the winter time, markets have probably dropped off right now,” Froehlich says. “If you haven’t been growing through the winter time, be ready for that market to pick back up.” Now is the time to start thinking about what you’re going to do with all the product you’ve been growing, he says. If you’re an established grower, you already know this, Froehlich acknowledges. “But the first warm day that’s 50 degrees outside, everybody wants to grill. They want to get outside. They’re sick of winter,” he says.