While there are many ways to build a greenhouse, they can be broken down into two categories: DIY Greenhouses and Built-in Greenhouses. Each has its pros and cons, and cost can vary wildly for both.
As the temperatures drop, many of us are probably ready to throw away our winter coats and start thinking about spring and summer flowers.
But before you do so, there is one crucial thing you need to consider: where will you get your greenhouse?
There are many artificial greenhouses that can be purchased from a garden store to the high-end greenhouses made by professional greenhouse companies.
The key is to build a greenhouse that is right for you.
The pros and cons to building a greenhouse and a greenhouse from scratch
Greenhouses are a great way to maintain your plants during the winter months, while also extending the gardening season.
They are also a great way to increase productivity when tending your plants, as you can be harvesting the fruits and vegetables all at once.
However, if you already have a greenhouse, you may be wondering if it’s too risky to build another greenhouse from scratch.
Many people want to build greenhouses but have no idea where to start. That’s a big problem, since there are thousands of ways you can build a greenhouse. They can be made out of wood, concrete, or other materials.
They can be free-standing or attached to a home, some are mobile and some are permanent structures.
How to decide the type of greenhouse to build
As the climate changes, so do our living spaces. Agriculture has been one of the hardest industries to adapt to this change, which is why greenhouse production is so popular.
Greenhouses are a great way to grow plants to your specifications,
or even just to learn more about plants. They’re often used by the larger gardening industry for production purposes.
How to choose the right greenhouse and how to build one are two completely different topics.
So before you get started building your greenhouse, let’s take a look at the importance of having a greenhouse.
The importance of having a greenhouse.
Growing plants in the home is an important part of self-reliance and living a sustainable life.
Greenhouses help people to grow food locally. Greenhouses offer protection from the elements but they can be expensive.
Building a greenhouse can be an interesting project.
Smaller scale projects require little skill but larger scale projects can take somewhat of a toll on a persons time and wallet.
There are many free plans available for building greenhouses.
You will also have to choose between diy greenhouses or a greenhouse kit.
Which type of location to build your greenhouse in
Like any successful gardener, you need to find the right location for your greenhouse.
When choosing where to build, you should think about how protected your greenhouse is from the elements and the sunlight.
The farther away from the main road, the better the results will be.
Other Factors to consider when building a greenhouse
Check with your town’s building department to make sure you’re even allowed to build a greenhouse on your property.
Greenhouses are typically considered outbuildings, so you’ll have to apply for a building permit.
And if you live in a community with a homeowner’s association (HOA), you’ll have to get approval from the HOA, which might be difficult because many housing communities have a strict no-outbuildings covenant.
Orientation to the Sun
Since the object of a greenhouse is to provide a warm, sunny spot for your plants, it’s important that it be situated properly in your yard.
Optimal greenhouse orientation is facing south or southeast in order to capture the early-morning sun.
An east-facing orientation works well in most climates, too.
Try to pick a location that receives at least six hours of uninterrupted sun per day.
If you live in a region that receives significant snowfall, be sure the snow-load rating of the greenhouse can support a blanket of snow without collapsing.
Glass is the most traditional glazing material for greenhouses. But glass is heavy, fragile and expensive, so most DIY greenhouses are glazed with polycarbonate, acrylic, fiberglass, or polyethylene sheeting.
Panels of polycarbonate, acrylic and fiberglass are resilient, good insulators and have excellent light transmission, although fiberglass can discolor over time.
Polyethylene sheeting is very affordable and easy to install, but it’s not very tough and can be easily punctured and damaged.
Being able to regulate the temperature inside the greenhouse
is critical because it can get stiflingly hot in summer or bitterly cold in winter.
To expel hot air, use operable windows, rooftop vents or exhaust fans. And use shade cloths to block out solar heat gain.
When the weather turns cold, maintain a warm greenhouse by installing an electric heater
that’s equipped with a thermostatically controlled fan.
In moderate climates, passive solar systems can help chase away the cold.
Fill barrels with water or stack concrete blocks inside the greenhouse;
they’ll absorb the sun’s energy during the day and then release it as heat at night.
The floor of a greenhouse can be made of any number of materials, including gravel,
wood decking, flagstone, metal grates, poured concrete, or just bare dirt.
Keep in mind, however, ” that a dirt floor is only practical if your yard stays bone-dry, otherwise it’ll become a muddy quagmire.
Concrete is extremely durable, but it’s relatively expensive to pour and it doesn’t drain well.
A gravel floor is inexpensive, drains well, and can easily be refurbished by simply adding more gravel.
A majority of greenhouse frames are made of wood or metal.
Wood is less expensive, easier to work with and suitable for small- to medium-size greenhouses.
Metal is stronger and more weather resistant than wood, but it’s costlier.
Aluminum is a good choice because it’s lightweight, corrosion resistant, and strong.
What kind of greenhouse keeps plants from dying in intense heat?
You will need an evaporative cooling system (aka swamp cooler) that can be put in front of the circulation fans. You may need to install an external evacuation fan as well to prevent over humidifying the room. Evan coolers are usually built with a frame that holds cellulose pads -from 1 inch to 1.5 feet thick, and a water distribution system to keep the pads wet. These should only be allowed to run when there is excessive heat, otherwise, you can “freeze” the growth of the plants, or introduce leaf and root rot.
Will evacuated thermal solar tubes work for a greenhouse in winter?
Here is our page on greenhouse construction in cold climates, have an look here for tips – How to build a greenhouse in a cold climate As for heating, using solar thermal collectors can be a great way to heat a greenhouse, is this a new build or is it already existing? I ask because if its new then you can install radiant hydronic tubing in a poured concrete floor that you can feed with heated water from thermal solar panels. If its an already existing greenhouse and you are looking for heating solutions, you could consider running your heated tubes through some sort of thermal mass, like stone or sand beds underneath plants.
Are you looking to make it a 4 season greenhouse? I ask because if so, you may want a better insulated and more reliable system. We recently built a demonstration house that is on a slab on grade floor with solar air heated tubes heating the slab floor . It may be a something to consider depending on how big this project is and if it is all seasons.
How do I calculate the energy performance index of my greenhouse?
You can, but it will not last as long. With wood in direct contact with the ground, it is best to use either rot resistant wood (cedar is commonly used in greenhouses for this reason) or treated lumber. Normal framing lumber will rot significantly sooner than either of these options. Even the lumber not in contact with the ground will not last as long in a greenhouse due to the highly humid conditions.
What is the standard space between greenhouses?
You’ll need a minimum of one meter spacing in order to walk in between, perform possible repairs, allow for air flow, etc. You’ll need more space if you’re employing fans or other large equipment.
What is the best clear material to use for a high wind area?
I would strongly recommend a reinforced clear ploy film. You can find them on various greenhouse supply websites.