Tomatoes are the perfect plant for any greenhouse; they add color to the space, the creeper is easy to grow and yields fruits fast and the best part is that nothing tastes better in a salad than fresh tomatoes from your very own greenhouse.
It does not take a lot of effort to build a tomato greenhouse or to grow the plants.
In fact, the space needed is limited and all you need is a few pots or pales to get an impressive supply of fresh and absolutely delicious tomatoes for your kitchen.
Here are some tips that will help.
Why should you grow tomatoes in a greenhouse?
A tomato greenhouse can be a simple structure that you can hand build with items that can easily be found at most home improvement stores.
A hoop house styled greenhouse is not only easy to build but also rather inexpensive.
Add to this the fact that tomatoes grow really well in an enclosed environment with plenty of light and heat and it’s easy to understand why you ought to try your hand at building a greenhouse for your tomato creepers.
The things you will need
- 12 pieces of rebar 3 feet each.
- A garden hose for reference
- Mallet for digging
- PVC conduit ¾ inch diameter; about 20 feet
- Heavy gauge wire
- Greenhouse plastic (UV resistant)
- Latex Paint
- Paint brush
- Cinder blocks
- Greenhouse lights
- Container soil
- Soaker hose
- 5 gallon bucket
Building the tomato greenhouse
Step 1: Start by laying the footprint of your greenhouse with the garden hose; this will give you the reference points for your 12, rebar pieces. Drive each piece into the ground about 1 foot deep.
Arrange 6 rebar pieces one below the other and use the other 6 pieces to create another line a few feet away. Ensure that every rebar piece is lined up with a corresponding piece on the other vertical line.
Remove the garden hose and you should see two parallel lines of rebar pieces.
Step 2: The next step involves creating a frame with the conduit pipe. Flex the conduit in an arch over the rebar sticking out of the ground, fixing the other end over the rebar on the opposite side, creating an inverted “u”. When you are done, you should have a frame of six ribs.
Step 3: Now, it’s time to wrap the heavy gauge wire on top of the end of each pipe to strengthen the structure. Start at the edge of the frame; you will need to use a step ladder to get to it comfortably.
Wrap the wire tightly around each pipe, stretching the metal to reach the next pipe in line, wrap the wire around this second pipe and so on till you reach the last pipe.
This should help you to create a wire ridge over the entire frame which will hold the greenhouse plastic and add sturdiness and stability to the greenhouse.
Step 4: Paint the pipe and the wire with latex paint to weather and water proof them; allow the paint to dry before covering the frame with the UV resistant greenhouse plastic.
Once you have spread the plastic over the frame, anchor the material around the edges with the help of the cinder blocks.
Step 5: Move the thermometer and the heater into the greenhouse. If possible, also add an electricity connection to the greenhouse; this will help you to provide your plants with brightness and heat 24 hours a day, greatly increasing the yield.
On sunny days, if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, open the greenhouse plastic to ventilate the area and lower the temperature naturally.
On the other hand, on chilly days, when the mercury drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, heat the space with the space heater to keep your plants warm.
Growing tomatoes in your greenhouse
Step 6: Fill the greenhouse with potted tomato saplings; alternatively, you could also use seeds. Tomato seedlings take well to 5 gallon buckets filled with fertilizer rich soil. The plants will need a fair amount of water, so place a soaker hose over the pots or containers and use it whenever you want to water the seedlings.
Step 7: Whether you are using the space heater or halogen lights for brightness and heating, make sure that you keep the temperature at 70 to 75 degrees during the day and just a bit lower at 65 to 67 degrees at night.
If you are using tomato seeds, you will need to transfer the seedlings to the buckets once they are about 12 inches tall. Use all purpose plant food to nourish the young seedlings and give them about 8 weeks to produce their first batch of fruits after transplanting.
Step 8: Tomato plants have imperfect flowers; this means that the male and female flowers bloom separately on the plant and using an artificial method of pollination will help you to get a better yield from your plants.
Using a simple electric fan will help you to create the buzzing effect produced by the bees in an outdoor garden right in your greenhouse. This will help to move the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers, bringing about pollination.
By the 60th to the 80th days, your plants will be ready for pollination. This is the time when you will need to give them extra nutrition.
Cross pollination will help you to get more and meatier tomatoes from your plants. When ripe, you can remove the fruits and wait for the next flowering to repeat the process.
Tomatoes have the longest history of being grown in greenhouses of any plant. In fact, tomatoes have been grown in enclosed spaces for almost 100 years, so there is certainly no dearth of information on how to get an impressive yield from your tomato seedlings grown inside your greenhouse.
So, if you have tried tomato gardening out in the open with dismal results, try growing tomatoes in a greenhouse; with the right amount of light and heat, this warm season plant will produce a fantastic batch of juicy, ripe tomatoes.