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I need help think right...

9 years ago

Hello friends,

I posted this post over on the greenhouse forum but it doesn't see alot of activity and this is my favorite forum so I'm posing this question to you too, if you will allow me...

I have had a hobby 8' x 12' greenhouse for 4 years....which I love! I had electricity and a water faucet installed. On the back wall I put up a shelving unit with a shop light over each shelf and then some soil heating cables (steady at 70*) for each shelf.
Every year I overwinter stuff. Getting things to "survive" the winter with supplemental heat is not too hard, even in Montana. I even sucessfully dug up a pepper plant from the garden last fall, brought it in and harvested 3 whole peppers from it over the winter. But then spring comes and I catch the bug....and thats when I decide I want to "grow" things. (surviving and growing in a greenhouse are two different things I'm finding.)

Each year I end up cooking, baking, steaming and drownding every sprout I have because I just can't seem to get it thru my thick skull that plants don't feel heat and moisture the same way we do. If the themometer reads 65*, I shiver, go brrrrr and jack up the heat. If the overnight low is going to be in the teens I will make sure the heat is on high, all the heating cables are on plus the shop lights just to be sure everyone is cozy. And water...if the top of the soil looks dry, it must be dry, right? Better add some more water.

So, this is the last spring I want to learn this lesson, and I'm asking you guys to put some of this into perspective for me. At what point does a baby plant go "brrrrr" and how dry is it supposed to be before the plantlet wilts from thirst? Should I keep the little fan on all the time to circulate air? If the temp feels comfortable to me, but then the fan blows past it makes the air feel cooler on my plants feel this same affect? or do they just appreciate a little fresh air? Also, the portable heater I use does a fine job of regulating the greenhouse heat as per thermometer reading. But just hold your hand over by the door or next the the feels considerably colder than the "room" does. If I was a plant I wouldn't want to be on the shelf by the door, I would much rather hover over the heater. But I'm not a plant. Any idea how they act, react, wish, want, need, think....(think?) How can I alter this mentality of mine that they have the same needs for growing conditions as I do.

Light? Alaska summers have 24 hours of daylight, and their plants grow HUGE...mine don't seem to be alaskan plants.

Water? In the jungle it rains all the time and its always plants don't seem to like the jungle.

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