How do I Become a Greenhouse Gardener?

J.S. Metzker Erdemir

A greenhouse gardener is a professional horticulturist who specializes in greenhouse production. Most greenhouse gardeners work in retail nursery settings while others might work on farms or research facilities. To become a greenhouse gardener, you must have specialized knowledge of greenhouse cultivation of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. This includes irrigation, fertilization, and plant propagation techniques. Many professional gardeners also have experience with a specific type of plant or a specific aspect of greenhouse management.

Cucumbers grow well in a greenhouse.
Cucumbers grow well in a greenhouse.

Some greenhouse jobs require a bachelor's degree in horticulture or agriculture while other greenhouse workers just need to have a strong back. Greenhouse gardeners must be familiar with different types of propagation, including seeding and growing plants from cuttings, and knowledge of how to care for seedlings and young plants is essential. Gardeners in greenhouses make soil mixes, fertilize and prune plants, and manage pests. Other workers know how to harvest, prepare, and package plants for sale and shipping.

Greenhouse gardeners are typically responsible for making soil mixes.
Greenhouse gardeners are typically responsible for making soil mixes.

To maximize production in a greenhouse, plantings must be organized on a tight rotation, which means managerial positions require strong organizational skills in addition to education and experience. If you want to become a greenhouse gardener in a research setting, you must be able to keep timely and meticulous records. In a retail nursery, greenhouse workers are usually responsible for the care of plants as well as customer service, so they must be able to answer customers' questions and make apt recommendations. Retail gardeners are also usually responsible for keeping the greenhouse clean and arranging plants attractively for sale.

An undergraduate degree might be required for some greenhouse gardener positions.
An undergraduate degree might be required for some greenhouse gardener positions.

Professional greenhouse gardeners on farms or in research facilities might manage small crews or participate in special projects. Horticulturists generally participate in quality control and make seasonal plans to increase production and profits. To become a greenhouse gardener, you should be able to evaluate the success or failure of a growing plan and pinpoint the reasons as well as use the information to create future plans. Inventory management is another crucial component of professional greenhouse gardening, and many employers require background in inventory management software.

Some greenhouse gardeners work in retail stores, while others work on farms.
Some greenhouse gardeners work in retail stores, while others work on farms.

Before you become a greenhouse gardener, you should be familiar with the use and maintenance of greenhouse machinery, such as temperature and humidity sensors, soil acidity, and irrigation monitors. A greenhouse gardener will also use timers and irrigation lines. Large commercial greenhouses might also use conveyor belts, mechanical pot-fillers, or mechanized transport such as fork lifts and carts. In addition to knowledge of the safe operation of machinery, some greenhouse jobs also require certification in pesticide use, management, and safety.

Greenhouse gardeners must have specialized knowledge of vegetable cultivation.
Greenhouse gardeners must have specialized knowledge of vegetable cultivation.
Different flowering plants are grown in greenhouses.
Different flowering plants are grown in greenhouses.

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