Have you ever considered building your own personal greenhouse? Picture yourself surrounded by many rows of greens and picking veggies for your dinner in the middle of January in Wisconsin. Unlikely? Think again. Greenhouses allow you to grow plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers all year round, despite the climate in which you live. Between clear span tents, a hoop-style or dome-shaped greenhouse, or any other variety, your options for designing a greenhouse are extensive.
Of course, you will need to have some knowledge on how to build and sustain a greenhouse. And, yes, having a green thumb is a bit helpful, too. Fortunately, with the right tools and right design, you should be able to effortlessly maintain a bright, warm growing space of your own.
To make your greenhouse handiwork easy, here are a few tidbits to grow your awareness (pun intended).
There are a couple of different types of greenhouses to choose from, depending on the space you have available. Indoor greenhouses are perfect for those who have little or no outdoor usable space. These greenhouses use special lighting techniques and windows to simulate the sun. Some seeds may not grow as well in this type of greenhouse and it is not meant for long-term crop growing.
Cold frame or Mini greenhouses are just like their name – mini. They are outdoor greenhouses and they are portable. These greenhouses are good for seed germination, but not necessarily for long term growing.
Finally, we have grower greenhouses. These are more permanent structures, larger sizes, and offer much more in the variety of what can be grown. These can range in size, some being extremely large. They are built for growing crops to full term and year around.
Clear Span Tents and Other Greenhouse Structures
When it comes to building a greenhouse, there are many structures to choose from, depending on your needs and available space. Below are a few of the most popular:
Clear span tents are free-standing structures that can be customized to your liking. They appear as glass but are made of Polycarbonate sheets that are lighter and more effective in maintaining the proper temperature. Clear span tents are professionally built structures.
Hoop-style greenhouses generally have a wooden base and have PVC pipes arched overhead, creating a canopy or tunnel-type structure. They are then covered in your choice of plastic sheeting. There are many ways to build hoop-style greenhouses, from DIY types to the more professional versions.
Dome shaped (or GeoDome) greenhouses are strong and durable against harsh climates, yet are lightweight and portable structures.
Where to build
If you decide to go with a more permanent greenhouse, you must then decide where to build. This is going to vary greatly on your location – most specifically your climate and terrain.
First, you will want to build your greenhouse on the flattest part of land. This will not only make it easier for your plants and equipment to stay in place on your shelves, but it also allows for even sun distribution.
Second, building your greenhouse north to south will ensure you make the most of the sunlight during all seasons. You will also want to make sure that there is nothing blocking the sunlight, such as mountains or buildings.
Lastly, you may want to take the availability of electric and water supplies into consideration. The more conveniently these hookups are to your greenhouse, the better.
What to plant
Have you considered your options yet? There are so many! Because you will have warmth year-round in your greenhouse, you can grow a variety of produce. Leafy greens, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, various herbs, squash, strawberries, and grapes are a few of the most popular.
You don’t have to stop at fruits and veggies, either! Spruce up your greenhouse with some tropical plants or beautiful flowers such as lilies, violets, roses, and orchids.
Things to consider
Once you decide the type of greenhouse you desire to build, you must consider a few other things.
- You will need to make sure that the building structure you chose will be able to maintain the temperature needed for what you are going to grow. Heaters during the winter months and fans during hot summer days work together with vents to combat the temperature. Making sure your greenhouse is solar-efficient and well insulated can assist, too.
- Keeping the humidity down will help your plants grow. Sure, lots of green things grow in a rainforest. But, let’s be honest, your greenhouse is not a rainforest. Vents can help suck out the moisture and maintain a balance.
- Your greenhouse will have a lot of sunlight – hopefully. But it doesn’t hurt to also use various lighting methods such as fluorescent lights or high intensity lighting systems. Make sure to research the best lighting for your chosen crop.
Now that you know all the details, let’s talk about why you would want to consider spending your time and resources creating your very own greenhouse.
- More money in your pocket. Saving money is a huge benefit to having a greenhouse. Sure, you may have to dish out some funds initially, but the ongoing reward is well worth it. Growing your own vegetables, fruits and flowers will lower your grocery bill drastically. Think about it – not only are you growing much of your meal and dessert, but your flowers for the table centerpiece, too!
- The freshest produce. Growing your own produce also means you will be eating fresh You will no longer have to purchase your fruits and veggies from the supermarket and pretend like you don’t question where on earth they were grown and how long ago they were picked.
- Your own personal paradise. Imagine being weeks into winter and all around you seeing nothing but bare trees. And let’s not even mention the freezing temperatures. Now, visualize having a place outside to go where it was warm, green and inviting. Having a greenhouse can help combat the winter blues!
Well, now you know the basics of creating a greenhouse. Know what you want to grow and where you intend to grow it. Once you’ve decided on what to grow choose an appropriate greenhouse structure such as a clear span tent. Then, do your homework on what combination will work best for you. Good luck discovering your green thumb!