If you are a gardener who doesn’t want your level of success to be determined by the weather, setting up greenhouses may be your solution. Not only will your crops not be subject to damage from the weather, you can actually control the climate in a greenhouse.
Having the ability to manage the environment in your garden can make it possible for you to cultivate plants that don’t normally grow in your climate. By controlling the conditions, you can even produce out of season. This is really an avid gardener’s fantasy. Greenhouses unlock the barriers to gardening by making it viable to grow anything, anytime, no matter where you live.
There are several things that you need to know when planning on setting up greenhouses. Taking care to plan will increase your potential while saving you money. It requires a little research, lots of thought and that loathed process of budgeting, but all in all, it is lots of fun, especially when the planning is done and you can make your ambition of being a phenomenal gardener a reality.
There are five things to be considered in the planning process:
- Different types of greenhouses
- Greenhouse accessories
- Needs assessment
After building the knowledge, determining your needs, selecting a location, and setting your budget, you will be ready to devise a plan and put it into action!
Types of greenhouses
Building your knowledge concerning the different types of greenhouses will make the process so much easier. There are various different types including different sizes, shapes and building materials. Whether you are planning for a huge garden, a small garden, or an herb box, there are greenhouses available for you. Hobby gardening to commercial gardening can be accommodated.
Greenhouses are available in several sizes. They range from a window box to a full-size building. You can select an attached greenhouse (attached to your house or another building), or a free-standing greenhouse. There are even portable greenhouses, or hobby greenhouses, that can easily fit on your porch.
A lean-to shape is common with attached greenhouses, although an even-span can be attached too. A window-mounted greenhouse is a small, attached greenhouse. Free-standing greenhouses can take any shape and size.
What is more to important to some than shape or size is the building materials used in the construction of a greenhouse. The materials used will determine the cost, the durability and the level of maintenance that will be required to keep the greenhouse in good shape. Some materials will require a permanent foundation, most likely made from ready mix concrete; while while some that are intended to be portable, won’t require a permanent foundation.
The frame of a free-standing greenhouse can be made of wood or pipe with choices of different grades of wood, plastic, aluminum, or galvanized steel pipe. The type of framing material may be dependent on your choice of coverings. For coverings you may choose tempered glass, fiberglass or plastic film. In selecting the materials, you should consider the pros and cons of each as well as the cost, maintenance requirement and durability.
If you are building the greenhouse yourself, you should check with your local building inspector to find out about recommendations for materials in your area and whether or not a building permit is required.
It is best to become familiar with greenhouse accessories before you select your greenhouses or develop your budget. In order for your greenhouse to work, there are some accessories that you will definitely need. Other accessories are for convenience.
One of the most important accessories to consider is watering devices, because plumbing may be required. Plumbing can really cut into your budget. So, it is a good idea to check out the options for watering your plants inside your greenhouse. Of course, you can carry water and hand-water your plants if you have the time, but there are watering devices that will automatically water as instructed.
The next most significant knowledge to build is about climate and light control equipment. This includes equipment that will help you to control the environment in your greenhouse. Temperature control equipment such as heating systems and solar panels will allow you to control the heat, while evaporative coolers, humidification devices and shade cloths can help to cool and humidify the area. Ventilation and air circulation equipment may be necessary too. Artificial lighting can be used to compensate for sunlight if the greenhouse doesn’t get enough sunlight.
Control equipment really adds potential to your greenhouse. It can actually create an environment that best suits your garden, regardless of your climate or the weather. Control equipment can be automated, where it takes care of itself, or it can be manually implemented as needed.
Of course you will need planters, pots or containers, unless you plant right in the ground. Plant stands and shelves will allow you to plant more in less space. You will also have to have the basic gardening supplies including hand tools.
These are a few of the necessary greenhouse accessories. In your research, you will become familiar with lots of accessories that make gardening in a greenhouse a whole lot simpler and more enjoyable.
Assessing your needs
It is very important that you assess your needs. Otherwise, you will likely end up getting something that doesn’t meet your needs. When that happens, you will end up spending loads of money to revamp your plan after you find out that greenhouses you have selected aren’t sufficient.
After you have done all of the research on types of greenhouses and greenhouse accessories, you will know what is available. You will probably know what you want, but you need to make sure that it will meet your needs.
Now is the time to decide if you want a large greenhouse, or maybe more than one small greenhouse. It all depends on what you are planting and the best environment for the plants. For example, if you are planting plants that grow best in dry environment along with plants that require humidity, it will be best to have two greenhouses so that you have the ability to control environment appropriately.
Decide what you are going to plant and do the research to determine the best growing conditions for the plants. This will help to establish what you need in terms of greenhouses and accessories for controlling the environment.
Selecting a location
Location of the greenhouse will dictate what gardening accessories are needed in regard to lighting control. Some plants don’t require a lot of light, while some require sunlight for the whole day. Positioning your greenhouse will determine whether or not you need artificial lighting. Choose a location where the greenhouse gets sunlight all day if you can. If you can’t, be sure to plan for artificial lighting to compensate for shady hours in the day.
Budgeting is usually the first thing you do when planning a project. You probably had some idea of how much money you could spend on your greenhouse project, but after doing all the research, you are likely to find that you need more money to get exactly what you want.
Now is the time to separate your wants from your needs. This may include formulating two budgets, one for now and one for later. For now, take your current budget and plan to purchase the things that you need to get your greenhouse going. Your budget may decide whether you will buy prefabricated greenhouses, have your greenhouses built, or built them yourself. It may decide what accessories you can get now, and what conveniences you will have to put off until later. Later, you can always add-on or buy additional accessories to enhance your gardening experience.
Be sure to put your greenhouse plans in writing including drawings of what your long-term plan includes. This will help you or your contractor to remember what you are shooting for throughout the project. With good written plans, you won’t accidentally place things where they will have to moved or torn down to expand your greenhouse. Of course, things can be moved, but moving them can be expensive and can jeopardize the strength and durability of the materials.
Planning before you start to build greenhouses is vital. It can save you lots of money and make budgeting so much easier. It can actually set long-term plans to create the perfect gardening atmosphere, one that you will be proud of and enjoy working in.
Every gardener has a dream. Make the vision a goal, and you’ll definitely realize it. Making the gardener’s dream come true is promising with a little research, a lot of planning, patience, and hard work. It may not be something that you can have tomorrow, but you can start small and build-up over time until you have the garden that you never imagined possible.
If you have done a good job of planning, the future won’t include wasting your money by tearing down your insufficient greenhouse. Your greenhouse will be an investment in your long-term gardening plans.