Hydroponic Plants NOT to put in your greenhouse


This is just a short but funny story of mine about choosing hydroponic plants to put into a greenhouse.

The first year I put up my greenhouse, I kept a path down the middle of the structure and on one side set up some grow boxes, both dirt and Mittleider type and put hydroponics on the other side.

My first mistake was not knowing much about the more common vegetable hydroponic plants. I did know that certain vegetables were deemed 'cold weather' plants and would not do so well in constant 100 degree greenhouse temperatures such as broccoli, brussel sprouts and such plants.

What I did not know was that lettuce was also not a heat-loving plant. Of course I immediately planted lettuce and when I harvested it, it was so bitter I could barely eat it.

Even after this I did not take the time to find more information about what I was planting. I had always liked squash so decided to plant that in my greenhouse. They grew fast and furious due to the hydroponic nutrients but not one produced a squash...

I was mystified. I saw no signs of disease, pest or nutrient deficiency - in fact they were some of the largest, healthiest squash plants I had seen and they were producing flower after flower but no squash.

squash I finally 'broke down', picked a flower and went to my local nursery for advice. I explained the problem, showed them the flower and asked why I wasn't getting squash. They looked at me in a funny manner and said, "That's a male flower...squash plants have separate male and female flowers that get pollinated by wind and insects".

It finally clicked! In a greenhouse there is little natural breeze except what you get through a window and there are no pollinating insects...

What I ended up doing was turning on a fan pointing at the plants for a couple hours a day and manually pollinating the squash myself using a small toy paintbrush.

This took up much more time than I wanted with medium success and then I happened upon this great Italian recipe which saute's up the actual squash flowers which then get stuffed and served as a side-dish...

So beware of what you choose - I hear that cucumbers have separate male and female plants. This is not something I wish to deal with in my greenhouse...


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