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2015, All Year, Under Glass

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Using technology to help grow your veg.

wpid-20150417_113339.jpgwpid-20150417_113348.jpgI got incredibly excited when the post man called this morning. My thermostatic switch and Fan arrived, and I couldn’t wait to get it installed. (Yes, I know, it’s a very middle-aged thing to get excited about!)

It struck me, that for all the geeky technology I used to like, I have managed to stay away from a lot of it during the growing, and to a large extent that was a part of the allure of growing my own fruit and veg, a disconnect from the city life and a simple country life. However, I realise that line is starting to blur. I also realise that in some circumstances technology really can give a helping hand. (Provided it is reliable)

The thermostatic switch, for instance, will turn on an air circulating fan when it gets above 28C in the greenhouse. This should have 2 effects. One, keeping the air flowing, so helping to prevent an unhealthy, stagnant atmosphere and secondly, to help cool the greenhouse down to a temperature that most plants can cope with. Last year I had quite a problem with leaf curl in my tomato plants and even melons because of the extreme heat. Fortunately, the thermostatic switch can also double up to test soil temperatures, so in the cooler months it can be used to control a heated propogator.

There was already some technology in place. The greenhouse windows had been installed with automatic window openers. A pneumatic arm that has an oil in it that expands when it gets hot, pushes the window open, and pulls it shut when the temperature drops again.

wpid-20150417_113414.jpgwpid-2015-04-17-13.42.30.jpg.jpegI will also be painting the windows with a paint that turns white, and partially blocks direct sunlight while it is dry. Once wet(when it rains) it becomes clear again to allow the maximum amount of light in. With these measures, my plants should stay a comfortable temperature throughout the year.

Another piece of technology is the automatic watering system. This did prove a little temperamental last year, and needs to be monitored from time to time to ensure your plants don’t end up parched. However, when it does work it’s a valuable time-saver. The gentle watering of the tomatoes took a long time, and needed to be done twice a day during the hottest period. It’s also very important to keep the watering regular, otherwise the tomatoes tend to get stressed and split. I just had it running for a few minutes twice a day (morning and evening), each time on a low setting, to make sure the roots were always moist, but not sitting in water. It did wonders for the Tomatoes.  All I had to do was make sure I fed them regularly.

Oh – and the essential piece of gardening technology has always been my radio, I don’t always listen too it, as I also like to hear the birdsong, but sometimes it is essential.



Originally posted 2018-04-17 18:01:55.

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