A greenhouse is a structure that allows you to grow plants, flowers, vegetables, herbs and even fruit all year round. WIth greenhouse gardening you plant what you want at any time of the year and control the lighting, water and temperature. No matter what climate you live in, you can continue your gardening hobby throughout the year.
Anyone who has done gardening out in the open will be able to apply their knowledge to a greenhouse just by altering it a bit. It is not always a hothouse although that is what it is sometimes called. Plants usually do their best at temperatures slightly lower and with a much higher humidity than is usually maintained in a home. The temperature in a small hobby greenhouse can be regulated pretty easily.
Typical Reasons Why A Hobbyist May Decide To Try Indoor Gardening
- To raise plants for winter use.
- To hold over garden plants to be used as parent plants the next season.
- To get an early start on tender plants that are started from seeds.
- To increase the possibility of a greater variety and continuous supply of plants.
- To cultivate small vegetables for winter use.
- To grow and experiment with various plants as a hobby or to develop new varieties.
Choosing A Location For Your Greenhouse
Choosing the right location for building your greenhouse kit will determine how well it works as a plant nursery as well as how much you will enjoy working in it. There are several factors to consider:
Available Sunlight - If the hobby greenhouse is going to be used primarily for starting seeds and transplants in the summer you should place it in partial shade to minimize the buildup of heat. You can use a shade cloth to control the amount of sunlight reaching the interior of the structure if partial shade is not available. If placed with the long side facing south, you will only need to shade one side, not both.
If the greenhouse nursery will be used to grow plants to maturity or in late fall and winter months it will need maximum exposure to the sun. The structure should receive a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day. It is suggested to place the greenhouse with the ends facing east and west. This will provide more heat from the sun during the winter. Also consider the following:
- The change in the angle of the sun between summer and winter months (the sun is much lower in winter)
- The shadows that may be cast from nearby structures and trees
- Trees located nearby that may eventually grow to shadow the greenhouse or branches that may fall and cause damage
- The types of nearby trees: deciduous will allow winter sunlight but evergreens will not
With the long side of the greenhouse facing south, the angle of the roof is engineered to catch the maximum amount of sunlight in the winter with the least amount of loss due to reflection. The most important time for the sun to reach the plants in any plant nursery is during the spring and fall when the sun is lowest in the southern sky.
Convenience and Accessibility - Select a clean, level location in a low-traffic area for your hobby or commercial greenhouse. Make sure it is within a reasonable distance from your home and will have access to both water and electricity. A good location should be sheltered from high winds and falling tree branches.You will also need to move soil, plants, fertilizer and other supplies to and from the greenhouse so keep this in mind when selecting a location.
Local Climate - Being familiar with the climate in your
region is important. Many areas have issues with heavy rain or snow, flooding
and strong winds. Heavy rains can potentially cause drainage problems in
and around your greenhouse. Choose a location with good drainage or consider
installing a drainage system before the structure is built. Snow should
not be a problem as long as you include adequate insulation and heating
in your construction plans. Strong winds, however, can be a real problem.
In cold weather, heavy winds blowing over and around a green house can lower
its interior heat considerably and raise energy costs. Windbreaks such as
trees, shrubs and other structures can be very effective in combating this
problem. Keep in mind that windbreaks can also obstruct light available
for indoor gardening
if not properly implemented.
Ventilation - The more sun that is available means an increase in the heat that will be produced within the structure. More heat requires ventilation for your plants to survive. Adequate ventilation is achieved when air can circulate freely among the plants. Separate your plants throughout the greenhouse so that the air can be distributed evenly. A hothouse can overheat easily if you do not provide a means of getting rid of the excess heat. Choose a ventilation system based on the region you live in as well as the size and design of your greenhouse.
Workspace - When choosing a size, consider whether the greenhouse nursery will be used year-round, seasonally, or primarily as a sunspace. A general rule of thumb for most experienced gardeners is to plan for a workspace larger than your original requirements. Upgrading later can be more costly than ordering a larger unit from the beginning. Also take into consideration the height of the structure itself as well as any benches and tables that you will be using, whether you want a sink and storage space for tools and supplies.
Usage - Consider what your plant nursery will be used for when determining how big and elaborate it should be. A tightly sealed and insulated hobby greenhouse with high light transmission is a good choice for year-round vegetables and flowers. If you want to start seedlings or protect fragile plants from winter weather then a simple indoor greenhouse would be more than adequate. There are many more options available depending on your greenhouse gardening needs.
At Greenhouse Center, our goal is to provide useful information on choosing between the many different types of greenhouses available, buying a greenhouse kit, purchasing plants for your greenhouse nursery and how to maintain your greenhouse for indoor gardening year-round. Visit our Products page to see a sample of the large variety of greenhouse styles that are available.