Greenhouse 101 – Top Tips For What To Own and Why
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
How does your garden grow? A lot better with the provision of a greenhouse apparently.
The pros of owning a greenhouse for an enthusiastic gardener that wants to lengthen the growing season for plants of all types are considerable and not something to be overlooked if you want a successful flower, fruit or vegetable garden.
Top Five Reasons To Own A Greenhouse
1. The greenhouse allows control of humidity and temperature in the plant environment. This assures optimal growth and yield from whatever variety of plant you wish to grow.
2. The provision of a well-ventilated, interior space keeps pesky insect and wildlife damage to the plants at a minimum.
3. As Mother Nature’s vagaries in weather can be mitigated, the light and bright environment allows for longer growing seasons which translates into more yield. In some regions plants can be grown all year round.
4. Labor saving location where everything can be kept in one place for handy use and care of plants.
5. Healthy outdoor living and lifestyle benefits with educational appeal for parents to teach children about gardening and food production.
What Greenhouse Is Right For Me?
As the greenhouse will likely be viewed from the house and most certainly will become a part of the garden view from some angle you might as well make it a pleasing visual for the onlooker. While there is an initial capital expense for the structure the con of placing a building with an unpleasing aesthetic is easily overcome by choosing a traditional greenhouse with a pretty design.
Just because you opt for a pretty design in the greenhouse it doesn’t mean that it can’t be functional and up to modern day standards. The use of the right materials will ensure longevity and save time and money on making repairs. Choose pressure treated base lumber of good quality such as Southern Yellow Pine that will not rot with dampness from the ground and that will resist insect damage.
Structural elements of the framing and the pitch of the roof should all be well constructed and the roof designed to offset any risks from snow load in colder climates with a steep pitch.
The choice in siding material is equally important. Consider modern polycarbonate panels that offer additional insulation benefits if design includes a twin-sandwich set up that will save heating and cooling costs over plastic or glass.
Polycarbonate also offers resistance to damage from high winds or errant airborne objects. The latter may be particularly important if your garden is a place of play. Who wants a baseball blasting through a glass window taking out fragile tomato plants!
Customization features in a greenhouse such as the size of the overall structure, the height of the benches, the material the benches are made from and window and door placement are all factors that warrant attention. A tough plastic bench can be great for watering as it will resist damage over time from persistent wet patches and humidity and is easy to clean.
Heating, Cooling and Ventilating a Greenhouse
An automated thermostat controlled fan can be a blessing in hot weather. It is possible for plants to actually burn if the temperature inside the structure becomes too hot.
Placement of screened windows and doors can help the gardener manage the humidity and airflow within the greenhouse and provide the perfect plant growing and working environment. The more passive the nature of the ventilation available is, the cheaper the costs will be for temperature and humidity management.
Where To Put It
Companies that provide greenhouse kits are an option, as the whole structure just arrives like a giant jigsaw ready to put together. However, be wary of the work that is involved and the ultimate quality and aesthetic appeal and longevity of what is produced.
The option of choosing a greenhouse online and having it shipped complete and ready to go the moment it arrives with only minimal site preparation will minimize a lot of stress. Choose a company that has a good reputation for excellent customer service, will give you a ‘ to the penny’ quote and written warranties. Be sure the quote includes delivery and set up. Don’t be shy to ask about customizations you want as many larger companies are happy to accommodate all requests and provide advice on do’s and don’ts and tips on how best to manage your site and well as make design changes to optimize the building for your particular use.
An experienced company will also provide a professional delivery of the greenhouse and can often successfully site the structure in hard to access locations with the use of a mule with no fuss or bother.
Managing The Finances
Over time the benefits of adding a greenhouse to the garden in terms of better yields from plants, healthier plants requiring less intervention to address pesky bugs and insect damage, and the ability to deter any aerial invasion or nibbling wildlife on the ground from eating their share of vegetables and fruits, are considerable.
It’s worth opting for a greenhouse of higher quality than just what’s on offer in the local box store. Larger manufacturers that are experienced in building structures for the backyard across all platforms, such as sheds and garages, coops and horse barns etc. may offer financing options. This can be a great way to get started utilizing your greenhouse now rather than waiting until next year.
We spoke with leading modular and prefab construction company Horizon Structures owner Dave Zook, to find out what folks should expect when buying an ‘instant’ greenhouse, that is prebuilt and delivered on site.
“We build many different types of structures at our factory. Sheds and garages to run-in sheds, horse barns and chicken coops. Our Amish crew produces top quality craftsmanship and we are very proud of our stellar reputation in both the products we produce and the proven customer service record we provide. When it comes to looking online for a partner to collaborate with on any homestead building project, always checkout their reputation and level of product quality carefully. As far as delivery goes, our professional team is used to working with many different types and sizes of structures. From deliveries of 50’ long commercial kennel complexes to shedrow horse barns to the tiniest of chicken coops. Our greenhouses are easily managed even into the most difficult of sites with the use of our mule machine.”
In conclusion, owning a greenhouse can be a lot of fun for the whole family or/and it can be a retreat for a bit of peace and quiet for the avid gardener who embraces the joy of communing with nature.
The recent upward trend in home gardening as a means to supply healthy produce to the table of known provenance, to ensure a fresh supply of daily nutrition for family, friends and neighbors and the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing fruits, flowers and vegetables, it is not surprising that the gardener seeks a longer growing season. A greenhouse will optimize the bounty that Mother Nature provides without losing any of it to her other creations, such as bugs, birds and critters and extremes in temperatures and weather.