Optimal greenhouse conditions protect your plants against fungal infections and promote fast growth. Armed with the appropriate knowledge regarding the ideal environment for your grow space, you can nurture just about any plant, or even improve the health of the ones you’ve been growing over the years.
The primary environmental conditions that need to be controlled in your conservatory include temperature and humidity.
The Ideal Humidity Levels in a Greenhouse
Certain nutrients, including calcium, may not be absorbed by your crops appropriately if the moisture levels in your grow room are too high. Also, high humidity can encourage certain pathogens and pests. Conversely, some plants cannot survive if the atmosphere in your greenhouse lacks sufficient humidity. It, therefore, helps to find the right balance of relative humidity in your grow space, which will allow your plants to flourish.
Before you can solve humidity problems in your greenhouse, it is important to know the recommended moisture levels. Many growers will attest that 50-70% is the right humidity level for a greenhouse. However, certain plants can tolerate as low as 10% of moisture while others can thrive in environments with as high as 90 percent of humidity. But, of course, this is rare and unless otherwise advised by an expert, you might risk exposing your plants to diseases. It is also important that you determine the appropriate indoor humidity for your specific type of plant.
Address Low Humidity
If the atmospheric moisture in your greenhouse isn’t sufficient to support optimal plant growth, the following tips for dealing with low humidity will come in handy:
- Use Water Buckets
When the amount of humidity in the air is too low, consider placing several buckets of water in the greenhouse. As the greenhouse warms, the water from the buckets will evaporate; this will help increase the levels of humidity in the air.
Alternatively, you can place the greenhouse plants on trays with water. This is one of the most convenient methods of increasing indoor humidity if you have no time to check on your greenhouse plants all day long.
You can also choose to mist your greenhouse plants by hand. However, you need a lot of time and effort to achieve perfect results. The size of mister you use depends on the indoor conditions in your greenhouse and the types of crops you are growing.
One problem with this humidification method is that water droplets may form on the leaves and stems of your crops, exposing them to pest attacks. To counter possible pest infestations, you will want to mix the water with pesticides or any other appropriate treatment before spraying the plants.
- Install a Humidifier
Another effective way of enhancing the humidity levels in your greenhouse involves installing a humidifier, which is designed to add much-needed moisture in an otherwise dry atmosphere. This method requires little input from the user; you don’t need to keep checking on your plants throughout the day.
With so many humidifiers on the market, ensure to buy a model that’s specifically intended for greenhouses. Such units will consume less electricity, come with a large tank, produce a cool mist, and feature a humidistat that will help you maintain appropriate moisture levels for your specific plant type.
Control the Moisture Levels In Your Greenhouse
Just like with low humidity, you have a range of options if you’re looking to reverse high moisture levels in your greenhouse:
Improve the Ventilation in Your Grow Space
Improving ventilation is among the most recommended tactics when looking to keep the humidity levels in your greenhouse under control. To this end, you can open the doors and vents to ensure that the warm and moist indoor air is exchanged with the cooler and dryer outdoor air. Similarly, you may install fans to facilitate the efficient circulation of air.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
A greenhouse dehumidifier works to reduce moisture levels in the atmosphere of your grow space. Ensure to install your dehumidifier high on the walls of your greenhouse for maximum airflow and to save space in your grow room. Also, a portable dehumidifier will serve you right because it can easily be moved around.
Create a Home-Based Desiccant
Did you know that you can use desiccants to lower the humidity level in your greenhouse? A cheaply available desiccant is the common salt you use in your kitchen. This desiccant is less costly, easy to use, and doesn’t consume electricity, unlike your typical dehumidifiers.
Simply place several large buckets of salt on the floor in your grow room. The salt will absorb moisture from the air to ensure that there are optimal conditions for healthy plant growth.
If creating your own desiccant appears to be too hectic, you can always buy liquid desiccants from your neighborhood store and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use them.
Get Rid of Any Standing Water
High humidity means that there is too much moisture in the air, and standing water in your greenhouse tends to aggravate the situation. If the humidity level in your grow space is already high, avoid storing water in trays and buckets, which will ultimately evaporate when the temperatures rise. This will not just increase your grow room’s humidity which should be controlled; it may also lead to the formation of droplets that fall on the crops, encouraging disease and pest infestation.
If you need to irrigate your crops in a highly humid greenhouse, you may use drip irrigation to ensure that the water is directed only to the roots and thus avoiding creating excess atmospheric moisture. You’ll also want to keep the levels of moisture in the air at a minimum by applying water slowly. This helps to prevent water runoff and ponding.
Alternatively, you can grow the plants on slatted benches or well-draining floors. Plant spacing is another effective way of minimizing humidity.
Water You Plants Early in the Morning
What time do you water your crops? You probably haven’t given much thought to this. Well, watering your plants early enough will ensure that the excess moisture, if any, evaporates, which will help to control water-related problems. Conversely, applying water late in the day or in the evening leaves little time for water to evaporate, which might cause fungal diseases and pest infestation.
Control the Amount of Water
Ultimately, crops need water to grow, but too much of it could drown your plants and eliminate the much-needed air pockets. This would restrict the supply of oxygen and prevent your plants from breathing properly. With that said, simply apply water that is enough to make your plants grow and multiply. On another note, too much water on the leaves can create the perfect breeding ground for fungal pathogens.
Keep the Temperature and Airflow In Check
The ideal humidity and appropriate watering are not the only greenhouse conditions required for the optimal growth of your plants. You also need to check and control the temperature and airflow. Plants might die due to extreme cold or hot temperatures. Also, it’s worth noting that few plants can survive without optimal air conditions.
Poor ventilation and extremely high temperatures in a greenhouse might cause disease outbreaks. If the temperature is too low, proceed to run a heater to warm up your greenhouse. On the other hand, consider adding vents and opening the doors to improve airflow in your grow room and reduce the temperature.
Besides, air circulation and temperatures have a direct impact on the level of moisture in your greenhouse. These factors control and affect each other in one way or another. If you think that the outdoor air is too moist and might increase the humidity in your greenhouse, simply close the door and the vents that you had previously opened.
The Bottom Line
Plants cannot blossom if the temperature and humidity levels in your greenhouse are too low. Neither will the crops do well when the moisture levels and temperature are extremely high. You’ll want to stay on the safe side by following the above guide for controlling the temperature, airflow, and humidity in your greenhouse. Nevertheless, you may consult with a greenhouse expert if the need arises.