How to grow plants in a home Greenhouse

  • Your greenhouse works with recirculating hydroponic nutrient instead of soil
  • Clear the composted pine bark growing medium of all old roots and previous growth
  • The floor, and your hands that touch the plants, must be virus, bacteria and fungus free. So you’ll need to keep the footbath half filled with a sterilising agent such as SPOREKILL or TEKSACLOR (see label instructions for dilution rates). You can also use Dettol. The floor should be mopped clean of any dirt using the same sterilising solution. Wash your hands with the sterilising solution bottle every time you enter.
  • Run a solution of Sporekill through the system to disinfect the growing medium from any residual pathogens. SPOREKILL is available from GROVIDA at 378 North Coast Road, Durban or TUNNELQUIP, Mkondeni, Pietermaritzburg.
  • Get yourself a speedling tray and place seeds in a wetted solution of weak nutrient. The easiest for this is to buy a “complete plant food” 500g tub from Gromor or Grovida, add one flat teaspoon per 10 litres water and water the seedling with a watering can from this source.
  • When seedlings have sprouted and are about three weeks old (big enough to handle) transplant them into the Verti-Gro pots or Grow bags.
  • To mix a nutrient solution use the attached table (for 1000Litre tanks) so you will have to divide by two for 500 Litre tanks. For seedlings mix a 1EC solution rising to 1.5 after a few weeks. Use the right hand conversion column.
  • Lettuces prefer 1.0C and watering often; Tomatoes, Beetroot and Brinjals prefer 2.5 EC and peppers 1.5EC. If you have all these mixed together in the greenhouse you’ll have to compromise at about 2.0EC
  • To mix the ingredients take a 10 L bucket and add the Cocktail or blend (Natgro) and mix in thoroughly before adding the Calcium Nitrate (Omnical).The Omniboost can be given to seedlings in diluted quantities Less than 0.5EC)
  • You’ll need to get something to keep pests and disease away. Trichoderma is like penicillin is to a Doctor. You can spray on the leaves (ECO 77) or put it though the dripper system. (ECO – T). Available from GROVIDA or TUNNELQUIP
  • The nutrient water should always be at a pH of between 5.5 and 6.0 after nutrients are added. Get a pH tester kit to check the pH. To lower the pH add diluted nitric acid. 250ml will drop the pH by1.0 in a 500 L tank.

You can get an EC meter from China on the internet, or buy a hand held combo from HANNA Instruments.