How to Choose the Best Greenhouse
The mere thought of a greenhouse puts a smile on many a face. Greenhouses mean warmth and green growing vegetables, herbs or flowers. Being in a greenhouse makes us want to just putter around and relax. Weâ€™re watching healthy plant life grow and itâ€™s very satisfying. When considering adding a greenhouse to your garden, the first question you should ask yourself is why? Why do you want one? Explore your reasons and decide if theyâ€™re enough to go ahead and make it a reality. What do you want to do with the greenhouse? Do you have a single purpose or multi-purpose? Is it strictly for starting seeds or do you wish to winter-over tropical fruit trees? Do you also want to have an area to relax and look at seed catalogs in the winter? How about extending the growing season of your crops? Or do you want to grow things year round? Keep in mind some uses donâ€™t work together due to either space requirements or climate needs. You might need a â€œhotâ€ greenhouse or a â€œcoldâ€ greenhouse. Further research may be in order once you decide what type of plantings you want to house. How big should it be? You want your greenhouse to be as big as you can manage. Usually available area and expense will dictate the size, but you should also consider your needs. Try to visualize how youâ€™ll have everything situated and if you can accommodate your space requirements. Type? There are many styles to choose from; lean to, attached room, traditional span freestanding, hoop-house, etc. When selecting the type, remember you probably need ample space for shelves for your plantings. Another decision will be regarding the material to be used to let the light in. Glass or glazing or plastic film or greenhouse plastic or what? Certain structures lend themselves better to one type over another. And again, it depends on what you want your greenhouse to do for you. Merely extending the growing season gives you more options in material than if you want to grow hot house tomatoes in the winter. Venting is a critical part of controlling the temperature and humidity level. The low tech method would be opening doors on either end of greenhouse manually when it gets hot. High tech would be a thermostat controlled fan to circulate the air and open the vents when needed. Solar powered fans and vents are another option. Youâ€™re also have to think about where you will put your greenhouse. Not too close to trees because of their shade as well as their propensity to drop leaves and branches. You donâ€™t want it too far away from the house or it will be inconvenient, and you donâ€™t want it in an area that tends to get muddy or catches the strong winter winds. Think about the amount of light the area will get in various seasons. If, after all this, you're just not sure, it might be time to just jump in. If you're a DIYer, build a small inexpensive hoop-house and use it for a season or two. Experience what you like or don't like about it firsthand and go from there. Or if money is no object, collaborate with a company that specializes in building greenhouses and have one built based on their experiences combined with your needs.