The greenhouse is an indispensable tool for the serious gardener who wants to grow food crops year round. You can build your own or simply purchase one of the many greenhouse kits available on the market today. There are many plans online for building a greenhouse if you choose to do so.
Many of the better greenhouse kits come ready to assemble. You might want to hire a construction contractor to do the assembly. Many greenhouse kits come with heating and air circulation units ready to mount and use.
Prices of greenhouse kits can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on size, construction materials and accessories. The cost for building your own greenhouse will depend mostly on how elaborate you want it to be.
If you have a few carpentry skills, you can build a greenhouse for a few hundred dollars. Whichever way you choose to go, having a greenhouse will go a long way toward saving you money on your grocery bills. You could also create a community greenhouse with your neighbors. This way you can share the costs.
Many people are choosing to start a greenhouse to help supply them with healthy and safe food for their families in case of a natural disaster. When you grow your own vegetables, you can eliminate the often toxic chemicals found in fertilizers and pesticides.
Before you choose to build your own or buy a greenhouse kit, you will want to plan out the most important details of the greenhouse such as location, size, crops you will grow and how you will arrange your growing tables or troughs inside. Other considerations are whether you will have flooring or not; which food crops grow well in a greenhouse; and how you will heat and ventilate your greenhouse.
The size of your greenhouse depends mostly on how much space you have to dedicate to the project. You will consider how much time you will have to work at tending your plants. If your property is rather small, consider one of the less expensive kits. If you already have a farm, a greenhouse will not take up much of your time compared to your regular growing season. In fact, it could even be offer a respite from the doldrums of winter.
Placement of the greenhouse is very important for the necessary growth and development of your plants. Sunlight is necessary for the conversion of nutrients into stems, leaves and in fruit setting. Choose a location where your greenhouse will be aligned along an axis facing either southeast or southwest. This allows for the best exposure to sunlight during the fall and winter months. If you live in an area where wind are high, be sure to securely anchor your greenhouse. Most kits come with anchoring devices or they can be added as an option.
Some gardeners choose to use growing troughs made of synthetic or natural materials. The troughs provide for containment of the soil in beds and make it possible to have a workspace above the floor. A growing table has a similar effect. This makes it easier to rach your plants. With tables, though, you will be limited to growing your plants in pots and trays. Many greenhouse gardeners spread a layer of pea-sized gravel as a base on the floor of the greenhouse so that excess water can drain into the soil below. Troughs are more expensive, but well worth the extra cost. They are neater and can eliminate much of the chore of cleaning. Many gardeners go with a combination of both tables and troughs.
Some greenhouse kits have heating and air circulation units. It is important to control the temperature, lighting and humidity in your greenhouse for best plant growth. Some growers use inexpensive electric heaters and blowers to circulate the air in the greenhouse. Nutrients and water are also key factors in successful greenhouse gardening. Use nutrient rich organic fertilizers such as compost or dried manure. Watering can be accomplished by using either soaker hoses laid on top of the soil or by an overhead arrangement of misting and watering pipes.
Deciding which crops to grow in your greenhouse during the cooler days of fall and winder will depend mostly on which food crops you prefer. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce cabbage, collard greens, kale and mustard greens are ideal for growing in a greenhouse in fall and winter. Other vegetables such as radishes, tomatoes, beans and onions are also great choices. Which plants you can grow will depend, in large part, on the lighting, heating and ventilation that you provide.
You should consider adding a greenhouse to your property so that you can extend the growing season and enjoy delicious fresh vegetables throughout the year. The addition can also increase the value of your property and provide you with hours of enjoyable gardening for most, if not all, of the year. In the spring you can also start seedlings in the greenhouse and get a head start on spring planting.