We purchased a mini greenhouse kit from Tractor Supply. This greenhouse is 6’x10′ with galvanized steel rods and heavy weight meshed vinyl; it will work perfectly as a germination house for starting transplants. The greenhouse is set up just outside the kitchen door so water, heat, and airflow can be easily regulated to prevent damping-off and ensure the tiny seedlings will grow into healthy transplants for the garden.
Damping-off refers to a fungal condition that causes lesions along the stem of tiny seedlings just at soil level. These lesions hinder the seedling’s ability to move nutrients from the soil to the leaves. The result is a slumped, stunted, or dried up stem causing the tiny seedling to die. Our experience has taught us that adequate air flow is the number one way to prevent damping off. Cleaning and sterilizing trays, packs, and pots helps, too, along with moderate watering. If outdoor temps are too cold to open the greenhouse vents then we’ll put a fan inside to move the air.
Because of our incredibly hot and humid Alabama summers, the greenhouse will become too hot to use by mid April with the heavy plastic cover on, so we’ll remove it and put on a shade cloth. This way we can use the greenhouse for starting late summer and fall transplants. Then in fall the heavy plastic goes back on for next year’s transplants and an over-winter spot for trees and shrubs. We expect to get a lot of use of our tiny greenhouse. 🙂