Hey, plants have feelings too (sorry Piers). It’s only fair then, that their house is somewhere comfortable and nurturing, allowing them to bloom into the very best they can be, free from judgment and societal pressure to conform…..

A load of tosh, quite possibly, but what is true is that for the budding ‘grow your own’ beginner, creating the right habitat for cultivation, multiplication and proliferation is the difference between success and failure. With that in mind, here are 8 IDEAL must-haves for beginners.

THERMOMETER

Keeping a reliable thermometer inside your greenhouse is one of the first things you should do when you’re setting things up. Plants need consistent temperatures to flourish, so it’s best to purchase a digital thermometer for easy reading and to check that everything is warm, cosy and constant.

In fact, there are even “smart” thermometers available now that will monitor your greenhouse and transmit temperature information to an app on your smartphone. Plant based peace of mind, that’s for certain.

SHELVING & STAGING

Many newcomers to the growing game aren’t aware of one of the most basic rules; that their plants should be kept off of the ground. Because of this, they skimp on shelving; a big mistake. Investing in sturdy, matching shelves or staging units for the entire length of your greenhouse is a simple way to make life much easier in the long term. Tiered shelving not only helps you to maximize the available space you have, but it also allows you to more easily work with your plants. It can also be helpful for ensuring proper drainage and giving your plants enough space to flourish.┬áThis is a good resource for you to read more about shelving and vertical grow racks.

CLEANING KIT

If we’ve learnt anything from Breaking Bad, it’s that only with a meticulous attention to tidiness will production realise its full potential. Maintaining a clean and tidy greenhouse, then, is vital for the health and success of your plants. Tools and pots should always be disinfected to prevent diseases and harmful pests from invading, and excess condensation should be cleared from the glass to minimize the risk of mould growth.

You should keep a kit handy that includes insecticidal soaps, a bleach solution and disinfectant spray along with clean microfiber cloths so that you don’t have to waste time or effort collecting supplies when you need them. Those extra few seconds saved could be the difference between flourish or fail. Be sure the bleach solution is properly diluted; in most cases, one part bleach to nine parts water is a good ratio for safely disinfecting.

TRANSPORT TOOLS

Most gardeners recommend starting your greenhouse from seeds rather than transplanting from outdoor plants. This lowers the risk of accidentally bringing in pests or diseases that can spread through your greenhouse plants.

When you’re starting from seeds, you need to make sure that you have tools that are specifically designed for transplanting the new seedlings from growth trays into appropriate containers. These are often narrower and more delicate than regular gardening tools.

SOIL ANALYSER

Investing in a soil analyzer may seem like overkill, especially if you’re starting your greenhouse venture as purely a hobby. However, a soil analyser is one tool that can take a huge amount of the guesswork and trial and error out of plant growing.

These devices have probes that can be inserted into the soil to give you information such as pH, light levels, moisture, and nutrient composition. Knowing this stuff can help you to quickly and accurately make adjustments so that your plants can thrive.

FLOORING

Adding special flooring to your greenhouse might seem unnecessary, but it can actually make tending to your plants much easier. And more pleasurable, too. Not only can the right type of flooring add a nice aesthetic flourish, but it actually serves a functional purpose too.

Creating dedicated walkways from sturdy, easily cleaned flooring will make navigating through your greenhouse much easier and safer. You can also use different types of flooring for the different sections of your greenhouse.

POTTING BENCH

A potting bench is one thing that gardeners all agree is essential to a great greenhouse. Having a large, flat surface that serves as just a workspace can make potting, transplanting and repotting much less of a hassle. You can even set up organizational trays underneath the bench to keep all of the supplies you need within easy reach.

Ideally, your bench will be at a comfortable height for you to stand and work. It should also be coated with either a semi-gloss paint or wood lacquer to prevent rotting, mold or mildew problems. It might also be wise to invest in a cushioned rubber mat to stand on. These can save your feet, and they’re easy to clean when necessary. You can find mats like these in gardening supply stores and also in the kitchen and restaurant supply outlets.

WASTE BINS

This is another item that you might initially overlook or deem unnecessary since you probably have trash bins outside of your greenhouse. But that can be a long, lonesome walk with muck in your hands. Indeed, if you take the time to place a few additional waste bins inside your greenhouse, you’ll find that gardening is much easier.

You should place a bin for waste and one for composting near your workbench so that you don’t have to pile up clippings, leaves and other waste on your work surface. Veteran gardeners also suggest spacing one or two additional bins throughout the space so that you aren’t tempted to leave a mess “for later” because it’s inconvenient to make trips back and forth to the waste bin. Done.