Greenhouse Gardening Tips

Making A Greenhouse Bed

To make a bed in the greenhouse, the best way is to excavate deeply and insert as a bottom layer some crushed mortar rubble or other porous material. Over this some decayed turf and garden loam, the roughest at the bottom and finer compost at the surface, will make a good bed for ordinary ornamental climbers.

Annuals for greenhouse culture are sown in boxes exactly as described for outdoor annuals and pricked off singly into small thumb pots. Some annuals are better sown direct in the pots where they are to flower. Ordinary potting compost is used, and no special care is required in their cultivation. If annuals are required to flower in the winter, they should be sown early enough to catch a good deal of sunshine before the darkest days. As the flower production depends on sunlight.

The amateur is advised to use the tender greenhouse annualstorenia, schizanthus, etc., in preference to the hardy annuals, for the reason that they give a more luxurious air to the stages than do such plants as nasturtiums and coreopsis.Greenhouse Cultivation Of Lilies

Annuals can be sown at almost any time of the year, and frequent sowings under glass result in a good supply of young plants. April, May and August are possibly the best months for sowing.

As regards perennials, though a number of greenhouse plants could be raised from seed, my candid advice is to buy plants when possible and to pay a good price for them. It is definitely a waste of time, space, heating and lighting costs to stock a greenhouse with inferior varieties. In a little greenhouse a single specimen of such plants as lippia citriodora (the lemon-scented verbena) or epiphyllum

Russellianum (the leaf-flowering cactus) is sufficient. Such perennials as the hanging bellflower, which may be desirable in numbers, for general decoration, can easily be increased if one good specimen is obtained. A good trade catalogue should therefore be obtained at once.

Bulbs under glass divide themselves easily into two groups, spring flowering and summer flowering. The ordinary spring-flowering bulbs are cultivated with great ease. They can be potted in ordinary potting compost in pots of sufficient depth to allow for good roots to form or they can be potted in bowls of moistened bulb fibre.

In either case they are mostly plunged under a thick covering of ash in a cold frame for a few weeks, and while there the roots begin to form. The bulb bowls or pots are then taken out, wiped clean, and brought into the cool greenhouse. Bulbs can be grown on in quite cool conditions, or heat can be gradually increased so that the bulbs are forced into early bloom. There is no particular secret of good cultivation beyond the general one of keeping to natural methods. That is to say, the bulbs are first in the dark, and in the cool, with enough, but not too much moisture. Then they are gradually given more light, more moisture, and more warmth, as they would be if left to develop naturally in the spring days.

A practice that is becoming increasingly popular is to plant quantities of bulbs in shallow boxes—i.e., boxes 4 or 5 in. deep and as large as available—and to grow them on in the frame or greenhouse until they are nearly ready to flower. They are then transferred to bowls, window boxes, or wherever wanted. The advantage of this method is that the bulbs take up less space in the boxes than if they were planted separately in pots or bowls, but I do not recommend it, as root damage must inevitably spoil the splendour of the spring blooms.

Summer-flowering bulbs are grown in the same way as the spring bulbs, except that the gradual increase of light and heat is made easier by co-operation with Nature.

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