Hey, Yukon! It’s gardening time! Time to get that greenhouse ready!
If your greenhouse has a supplementary heating system, chances are you’ve already begun planting, and your greenhouse is up and running.
For those people whose greenhouses lack a heating unit, now is the time to prepare the greenhouse and get it ready for those tomato plants.
There are several things that you can do now to get your greenhouse in tip-top shape for those plants that you’ll be planting shortly.
The nights are still too cold for leaving plants in the greenhouse overnight, but you can start to get the soil ready and warm.
Remove any leftover plant debris and add it to the compost. Your soil will probably need a bit of sprucing up, so add a couple of bags of peat moss and compost. And add bone meal, a natural product that will help with a tomato’s calcium requirements.
Soil should be light and airy, if not, keep adding peat moss and/or potting soil and mix it in with the existing soil, then give it a good watering. Cover the whole bed with a piece of clear plastic. This will ensure that your soil will warm up and be ready for planting.
Another area of concern may be your greenhouse covering. If you have old, faded, yellowed corrugated plastic sheets on the roof of the greenhouse, you may consider replacing those with more transparent ones.
There are greenhouse panels available that have a light transmission rating of over 85 per cent. For growing a tomato plant successfully and in decent quantity, having a greenhouse covering that has more than 85 per cent light transmission is a must or it can lead to disappointing results.
If a tomato plant does not receive the amount of intense light that it needs, either due to a greenhouse covering or excessive shade from a tree, it can revert to a vegetative form, growing lots of leaves and stems and not too many fruit clusters.
Plan to place the tomato in the greenhouse in the sunniest location. The fact that the days are long does not compensate for the intense light that the tomato plant needs. After all, tomatoes originated in Mexico and, although we now enjoy short “northern” varieties of tomatoes, all tomato plants need intense and sunny conditions.
Another area that needs attention before you get the greenhouse going is to look at your gardening tools. The hand spades, the cultivating tools, watering cans and old greenhouse “cages” could probably use a good cleaning as well as a soak in bleach water to get rid of any pathogens that may have accumulated over the winter. Just soak the tools for about 10 minutes in very hot water to which a bit of bleach has been added, and then let them air-dry.
If you have already purchased plants and are keeping them in the house because our nights are still too chilly for a greenhouse without heat, try putting your plants in the greenhouse in the morning and back into the house at night. They will love the light and heat and will do much better than if left in the house or garage. Just don’t forget to bring them in at night.