Greenhouses 101

Greenhouse            Have you been thinking about gardening, but you have pets who would tear up all your hard work? Maybe you do not want to be out in the heat or amongst the bugs? Greenhouse gardening might be the perfect solution for you! You can grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers in a climate-controlled environment right in the comfort of your own backyard. There are even smaller options for people with smaller backyards. Let’s look over what makes greenhouse gardening so great!

            There are advantages and disadvantages to any method of gardening, so let’s see what greenhouses have to offer. One of the advantages that is appealing to people is that there are little to no rodents or insects to contend with while working inside a greenhouse. The biggest advantage to greenhouse gardening though, is that it affords you the ability to start plants earlier in the season and grow them past their recommended season. Because of this, greenhouses allow you to grow plants that otherwise might not do so well outdoors in your area. There are two disadvantages to using a greenhouse, the first being that you might have to pollinate your own plants because you will not have nature to do it for you. The second issue would be the initial setup costs and maintenance costs to keep the greenhouse warm or cold.

            While choosing ornamentals for your greenhouse, there are a few things to consider. You will want to choose plants that grow well in containers or raised beds. You will also want to consider what plants will grow best in the temperatures you are maintaining. Because you will be able to control the temperature of the greenhouse, you can create climates that would be perfect for either tropical or desert plants like orchids or cacti. Other plants that thrive in greenhouse conditions are ferns, chrysanthemums, petunias and pansies.           

            Believe it or not, where you position your greenhouse in your yard is especially important. You want to make sure the greenhouse is situated in such a way that it receives maximum sunlight. To achieve this, you will want to position the greenhouse in the South or Southeast area of your yard. If your yard does not have a viable Southern space, you can also place the greenhouse on the East side of the yard. If you are working with a smaller space, consider placing one of our leaning greenhouses on the Southern or Eastern exterior wall of your house. You will also want to check with your city and/or HOA before you begin, to determine whether you will need a permit for your project.

            There are a few different ways that you can go when it comes to laying a foundation for your new greenhouse. Let’s briefly review the pros and cons of each one:

  • Compacted soil foundations are the cheapest option, they provide great drainage, and they work well for small or temporary greenhouses but do not work for larger, more permanent greenhouses.
  • Stone or brick foundations are great because they drain well, and you can choose a stone that will work best or your own temperature control needs.
  • Footers work exceptionally well because they only go underneath the perimeter of the greenhouse, providing great drainage, and they can be made of wood, concrete, or stone to suite your specific needs. For this method you will also want to consider what type of flooring you want to use. Gravel flooring works well for most greenhouse needs.
  • Concrete slabs can be expensive, they do not offer good drainage, and you generally need a permit to lay one. For these reasons it is not considered one of the best options for backyard gardeners.
  • Wooden decks offer great drainage and humidity control (because you can wet the boards as needed) but they will have a harder time maintaining a consistent temperature.

The most important thing about your foundation, whichever one you choose to go with, is that it needs to be level. This will ensure that your greenhouse is more secure during storms and increase its longevity.

            There are a few things you will need to consider when it comes to maintaining your greenhouse. At the start of every summer, it is best practice to empty out the greenhouse and clean it from top to bottom, ensuring that there are not any cracks in the seams or foundation of the greenhouse. You might want to use fans for temperature control. For winter maintenance, it is important that you empty and clean it from top to bottom again, checking for any cracks. Performing these regular cleanings and checks will prevent bacterial growth and fungal spread and help with proper temperature and humidity control. You will also want to make sure that your thermostat and any heating devices you use are working well.

            Now that you know a little about greenhouse gardening, you can see why so many people love it! You can tailor the greenhouse foundation and floor to meet your own needs, position the greenhouse in the best place for your own yard and you can control the temperature and humidity for whatever project you have in mind. If you need help choosing the right greenhouse for your yard, please give us a call today and we will  be happy to assist you!