Tips for Setting Up a Greenhouse

If you have ever been interested in growing your own vegetable and fruits, a greenhouse can be a perfect addition to your garden. Gardening is an extremely fulfilling hobby that many people enjoy. 

A greenhouse is a perfect place to grow fruits, vegetables, and different kinds of flowers as it serves as a sanctuary for your plants and allows them a space of their own to grow. However, as appealing as the idea to set up a greenhouse may seem, the task itself is not as simple and requires both knowledge and skill.

However, with the right guidance, you can indeed set up a greenhouse that caters to your and your plant’s needs. Here are some tips if you want to build your greenhouse. 

What is a Greenhouse?

A greenhouse is essentially an enclosed space with transparent walls and a roof. These transparent walls allow sunlight to stream in and allow the plants to receive plenty of sunlight to grow. 

The purpose of this enclosed space is to allow you to create a controlled environment in which you can grow your plants. To create that controlled environment, you can also add different additions such as sun lamps, water mister, heating pads, and air circulation vents. 

Some tips for setting up your greenhouse 

If you are new to the greenhouse world, then it can be a bit overwhelming to start building your greenhouse without any guidance. To help you in your journey, here are some tips that can make the process of building your greenhouse much easier.

Decide the kind of greenhouse you want.

There are many different kinds of greenhouses that you can build. However, if gardening is just a hobby and you want to build a greenhouse in your garden, these are the most popular kinds.

Cold Frame

Cold frame greenhouses are the smallest kind of greenhouses. They are built as small boxes that have a hinged lid. You can place your plants inside and have them grow in a controlled environment. 

These kinds of greenhouses are usually extremely cheap to build as they do not require any kind of heat or cooling source. Therefore, if you are a beginner gardener, making a cold frame greenhouse is a good way to see whether or not this hobby is for you. You can also use cold frame greenhouses to protect your plants from harsh weather.

Attached Greenhouses

The attached greenhouses have a sturdy wall against which they are built. This wall is usually the wall of the house and allows you to have an anchor to your structure. These kinds of greenhouses can be of any size. You can limit it to just a window box, or make it as large as the entire wall. 

Due to the variety of sizes, attached greenhouses can be cheap, but they can also get really expensive. To save on money, you can make the other three walls of the greenhouse flimsier.

Freestanding

Freestanding greenhouses are separate structures on their own. They are usually large and have enough space for you to walk in and tend to your plants. Since these greenhouses need to support themselves, they need to have a sturdy structure that is made of good quality material. Therefore, such greenhouses can be more expensive and difficult to build.

Pick the perfect location

Picking the perfect location for your greenhouse can be tricky. You should aim to choose a place that gets plenty of light so that your plants can grow well. Additionally, the area needs to be protected from the wind. 

You should also take caution with trees. Try not to build your greenhouse near trees as falling leaves can dirty the frame, and cleaning the outside of your greenhouse would be an extra chore that you would have to do,

Consider the kinds of plants you are planting

Before building a greenhouse and adding all the accessories, you should consider the kind of plants you aim to grow in the greenhouse. If you know the general type of plants you will grow, you can add sufficient heating and cooling elements.

As each plant has different requirements, it would be good if you decide to grow plants that have similar needs and wants in terms of temperature, soil, the amount of sunlight, etc. Since you can customize the greenhouse conditions, you can set those requirements yourself using various different accessories. 

Additionally, you also have to be mindful that you are not growing plants with sensitive requirements alongside those that need and can endure harsher climates.

Heating

Maintaining your greenhouse’s temperature can be a challenge. Especially in colder months, heating the greenhouse and maintaining the temperature are of utmost importance. If you are new to greenhouses, the best option is to set up an electric heater in your greenhouse. These heaters are extremely easy to install and are economical. 

Choose a heater according to the size of your greenhouse. If you have a small greenhouse, a 12-volt heater will be sufficient. However, with a large greenhouse, a 360-volt heater may be better. For larger greenhouses, you may also need to attach a waterproof thermostat. 

You can also choose to attach a gas heater to your greenhouse. Gas heaters are not as economical as you will also have to see that the greenhouse has sufficient ventilation.

Cooling

Having a cooling element in your greenhouse is just as important as having a heating element as it can often get quite hot in summers, and not all plants can handle high temperatures. However, maintaining a neutral temperature in summers is quite difficult as greenhouses are designed in a manner that traps heat. 

Therefore, you must regularly manage and monitor the temperature of your greenhouse. You can add fans and open the windows and doors of the greenhouse to help dissipate the heat. 

If there is a serious overheating problem, you can also install evaporative air coolers. These air coolers can help lower the temperature and maintain the humidity inside your greenhouse. You can also look into greenhouse insulation options.

Ventilation

To maintain a greenhouse, keeping it properly ventilated is key. During summers, the greenhouse can warm up more than usual. Therefore, you should keep the roof vents open. These vents allow the hot air to escape and cool fresh air to come in.

However, in colder months you need to have these windows closed tightly. With restricting ventilation, some problems can arise, such as mold, which can be detrimental to your plants. Thus, you should invest in an oscillating fan, that can maintain air circulation inside your greenhouse. 

Glazing

Glazing is extremely important if you want to maintain the temperature inside your greenhouse. It covers your greenhouse frame and is responsible for allowing sunlight and warmth to come in while protecting the plants from other elements.

One of the best glazing materials for greenhouses is glass. However, it is also expensive. Plastic sheets can work too, and they are also inexpensive. Therefore, if you are on a budget, plastic sheets are the best. They do deteriorate faster, so you will have to replace them more often than if you were to use glass.

Polycarbonate is another option you can use. It is cheaper than glass and is much better at retaining heat. Furthermore, it is also lightweight and can be used on all kinds of shaped surfaces while transmitting light.

The framework and dimensions

Before you start building your greenhouse, you should figure out the dimensions. A decently sized greenhouse is 6ft wide and 8ft tall, as this size allows for proper staging on each side. If you try to make a greenhouse smaller than this, you may have trouble with the frames.

The frames are usually made of wood or aluminum. If you are on a budget, you may want to look into getting an aluminum frame as it is much cheaper and is mostly maintenance-free. 

If you want to make your greenhouse look visually pleasing, you may wnat to choose wood for your frames. However, over time, these frames can rot.

Choosing accessories

Other than the frame and essentials for your greenhouse, you will also require some additional accessories to enhance your greenhouse and its usability. Some accessories you should have include shade cloths, potting bench, hand watering wands, and irrigation systems.

Shade cloths are often wrapped around the frame of the greenhouse to help shade it and lower the temperature of the inside. If you don’t have a cooling system in place, then a shade cloth can be invaluable.

A potting bench can be extremely helpful when you are just starting out with growing a plant. They provide a firm surface for you to work on.

Hand watering wants to allow you to adjust the speed of the water through the nozzle. Thus, it prevents the plants from being damaged by strong water pressure. Additionally, it allows you to reach the back of the seeding trays with ease.

An irrigation system is a more expensive installment, but it can help your seedlings get the right amount of water, and save you time and effort.

Conclusion

If you are getting into the hobby of gardening and getting serious about it, a greenhouse may sound like an enticing idea. However, building one yourself can be a lot of hard work. If you don’t have guidance, it can be trickier, but with a few tips and tricks, you can set up your own greenhouse and grow whatever you want in there. A greenhouse is great for growing all kinds of plants and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.