We won’t waste any time on getting your grow dome started. We know that gardening can feel overwhelming, but really, once you are equipped with knowledge about the crops you plan to grow, gardening can be simple and enjoyable. Not only is it a fun way to pass the time, but growing your own food is becoming more and more important. Food shortages are sweeping the globe, natural disasters are becoming more common, and people are going hungry. Protect your loved ones’ health by being able to nourish them with chemical-free food.
Raised Garden Beds
Most garden pests and animals will be deterred by your enclosed greenhouse, but raised garden beds can protect your food from getting ravaged by pesky insects and help ensure proper drainage. We recommend positioning a ring of raised garden beds on the outer row of your greenhouse, leaving a small circular walkway, then adding another set of garden beds in the middle.
Once the garden beds are set up, be sure to fill them with nutrient-rich soil, giving your plants the best chance at success. High-quality organic soil helps supply necessary minerals to every crop, so it’s worth investing in good soil for your greenhouse. If possible, consider starting a compost bin in your yard to provide your garden with homemade, nutrition-filled soil. The healthiest soil will retain water, meaning your garden will use less water in the long run, being kind to your utility bill and the planet.
Seeds vs. Plant Trays
Once you’re ready to start planting, you can choose from planting seeds or getting small plants from a local nursery to get your garden started. Seeds are the cheaper option, but they take a bit more know-how in order to be successful. Buying small plants that are already alive and healthy is a great idea for beginners, though this can break the bank if you’re not careful. There is a third option: you can start seedlings on your own in small seed trays, then, once the plants are ready to be settled into a larger grow space, you can transplant those crops.
For some plants, the transplanting process can be extremely stressful and lead to low yield. Plants that you should avoid transplanting if possible are squash, melons, cucumbers, beans, peas, corn, beets, radishes, turnips, and carrots. When it is time to transplant the small plants into your greenhouse, be sure to check each plant carefully for signs of disease or pest invasions, as both of these problems can wreak havoc on the rest of the plants.
When to Plant
If your aim is to grow food year-round, a grow dome is the perfect place for that! You’ll have to regulate temperatures well, but the planting seasons in a well-regulated space offer much more flexibility than the natural seasons outdoors. While the planting season is dependent on where you live, gardeners in most states can start the summer grow season in mid-March and the winter season in mid-September.
Plants Happiest in Summer Season
For year-round gardeners, ensuring that the right crops are grown at the right time of year is vital. During the summer, plants that love to be in areas of high sun are: Tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, squash, peppers, onions, leeks, chives, peas, eggplant, melons, strawberries, fennel, okra, collards romaine, basil. Plants that prefer summer but need shade are: head lettuces, spinach, chard, kale, beets, radishes, turnips, arugula, mustard, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and cilantro.
Winter Season Plants
The beauty of growing food in multiple seasons is that you and your family can enjoy a host of different produce products throughout the year. Plants that do well in the winter sun are: Beets, turnips, radishes, cabbage, celery, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, chard, garlic, and onions. Plants that will need some shade but are hearty enough for winter are: lettuces, chard, kale, nasturtiums, arugula, bok choy, spinach, and mustard.
Fully-enclosed greenhouses will provide more respite from common garden pests than an outdoor garden would, but pests are resilient and will probably still try their hardest to get to your food. Instead of using harsh toxins and chemicals to kill off pests, there are many ways to protect your crops naturally:
- Promote soil health. Healthy soil will naturally provide protection against pests.
- Take time to remove dead or declining plants from your garden. Rotting roots and dying plants will attract pests, so your best bet is to get them away from their healthy counterparts as quickly as possible.
- Ensure each plant has proper space and ventilation. Pests love overcrowded areas that provide them protection, so they’re more likely to be attracted to a garden that is poorly ventilated.
Going Next-Level with Aquaponics
If you want to get fancy with your greenhouse, consider adding a water tank into the ecosystem. This water tank can help regulate temperature and keep moisture in the air plentiful. Be sure to paint the tank a dark color so it absorbs heat correctly, but if done right, a water tank can take your greenhouse to another level.
Beyond providing helpful temperature regulation and moisture levels, a water tank is a great spot for aquatic plants or fish! When considering food supply, having edible fish in your greenhouse provides access to protein if your family ever needs it. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Get Comfortable with the Learning Curve
The first year you have a grow dome, you might feel as if only a portion of the plants yielded what you thought they would, and you probably won’t have enough success to sustain your entire family. However, the next year will get a bit easier, and you will be able to incorporate your learnings from year one to increase your produce yield.
This trend will continue and before you know it, you’ll have tons of knowledge about which plants do best in which areas, which plants give you the most trouble, and which plants your family eats the most of. It’s all a learning process, but it’s enjoyable and completely worth it.