The Novice Gardeners Guide to Greenhouses
Greenhouses come in hundreds of sizes, from itty-bitty patio models to gargantuan styles ideal for gardeners with major acreage. The amount of available space you have, combined with your budget considerations and gardening plans, is ultimately what determines the right size for you.
If you enjoy gardening, even a small greenhouse is better than no greenhouse, and will be a valuable asset to your garden. If you need to start small, consider getting one of the styles designed to be extendable, so you can add sections as needed.
Greenhouse gardening has many advantages
Whether you’re into flowers, veggies or a combination of the two, greenhouse gardening allows you to grow plants all year long, no matter what the weather is like outside!
A greenhouse will extend your outdoor growing season as well, because you can sow the seeds indoors much earlier than you otherwise could. Another benefit is more variety-a wider array of plants can be started from seed than bought in the stores. And buying organic seeds ensures that you’ll grow the healthiest, most nutritious food.
Greenhouse gardeners enjoy fresh salad greens all year long. Virtually all varieties of lettuce can be successfully grown in the greenhouse, as can tasty greens such as kale, swiss chard and spinach. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to serve a delicious salad straight from your own garden in the dead of winter?
A greenhouse is great for over-wintering tender perennials. Transplant them into containers where they’ll live happily in your greenhhouse until spring, at which time they can be moved back outdoors. A greenhouse can also let you grow plants you normally couldn’t due to your climate, such as citrus trees.
You can build your own greenhouse, buy prefabricated kits to assemble yourself, or have one custom built. The best material for the frame is aluminum. It’s low maintenance, doesn’t deteriorate, and allows in more light than a wood frame.
Greenhouse supplies and considerations
A good ventilation system is important for successful greenhouse gardening. It provides cooling for the greenhouse along with fresh air and carbon dioxide to plants. Without proper ventilation, cooling a greenhouse on a hot day is a daunting (if not impossible) task.
It’s vital to monitor the temperatures your greenhouse plants are experiencing. A min/max thermometer records daily high and low temperatures, which tells you if your heating and cooling equipment is working properly. Some thermometers record humidity levels as well, which can be very helpful.
Fine-nozzle misting systems help to cool the air, reduce watering frequency and maintain the right humidity level of 50-70%. To reduce the temperature inside the greenhouse during hot summer days, install a shade cover, which will block the sun’s rays from entering the greenhouse.
You’ll probably need some form of heating system to keep your greenhouse warm during the night. Choose the best heating system for you by evaluating what is available locally, the fuel cost, and your individual preference.
Successful greenhouse gardening requires plenty of sunlight, so choose your location carefully, and keep in mind that you might want to expand someday. If your climate or greenhouse location doesn’t provide sufficient light, you may need to provide artificial lighting for your plants.
Investing in a greenhouse of any size may prove to be your best gardening expenditure. One thing is for certain-it will bring you many years of enjoyment and use!