Table of Contents
- 1. Determine the Type of Home Greenhouse You Need
- 2. Decide Whether to Build or Buy
- 3. Start with Seeds
- 4. Consider Additional Light Sources
- 5. Start with Easy Plants
- 6. Learn How to Heat Your Greenhouse
- 7. Understand How to Cool It Down
- 8. Provide Adequate Ventilation
- Are You Ready for High-Quality Produce?
So, you’ve decided to start a home greenhouse.
You’re not alone. One in three American households grows their food.
Yes, growing your produce is rewarding and a fun way to pass the time, but a green thumb doesn’t come easy. Growing is a hobby that requires knowledge, dedication, and skill.
You might not get it all right in your first season, but the best greenhouse producers know the benefits of trial and error.
The following tips will help you get a greenhouse started and produce thriving plants in no time.
1. Determine the Type of Home Greenhouse You Need
It’s easy to get excited, do hasty research, and rush out to buy greenhouse supplies. But as a beginner, how do you know what you need?
First, you need to know that there are several different types of greenhouses available. There are free-standing structures and leaning ones made out of a variety of materials, from plastic to canvas. If you are looking for something more luxurious, you might choose a glass greenhouse.
It’s essential to find the right greenhouse to extend your growing season whether you need more ventilation, more natural light, or additional insulation.
2. Decide Whether to Build or Buy
Next, you have the option of building or buying a rooftop greenhouses. The following questions will help you determine what is best in your situation:
- What material will you use for the foundation?
- Does your area’s climate require a unique climate control system?
- Is your soil suitable for drainage, or will you need to install a water recycling system?
- Will you be able to take advantage of your existing water and electrical connections?
- Are there adequate trees nearby that you can use to provide shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter?
Keep in mind that your greenhouse will need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. This sunlight is vital during the winter months. Therefore, you must place your greenhouse somewhere that provides maximum exposure to sunlight.
Experts will tell you to orient your greenhouse from east to west. Always place your greenhouse with the largest side facing south. This placement will give your greenhouse the most exposure to natural light, but you can always add additional light sources later.
The benefit of purchasing a greenhouse kit is that it gives you peace of mind that you have everything you need to succeed. If you want a custom solution, however, building it yourself may be the better option. It depends on how dedicated you are to the project.
3. Start with Seeds
If you’re a beginner grower, you should start with seeds as opposed to seedlings or cuttings from another location. Solely planting seeds reduces the probability of pest problems.
Planting seeds, however, means you need to seed more plants than the ideal number you want. The truth is that not all seeds will germinate, and some seeds will produce less-than-healthy plants that you won’t keep.
4. Consider Additional Light Sources
If you are growing plants in late fall and winter, you will need a supplementary lighting system. Providing additional light during this time will ensure you end up with healthy, robust plants.
There are several lighting systems to choose from, including high output fluorescent lamp strips and LED grow lights. Both of these options provide full-spectrum light. They’re also more energy-efficient and provide light to many plants at once.
If your greenhouse is small and you are on a budget, you can opt for a simple fluorescent strip. This strip should hang a few inches above your plants.
5. Start with Easy Plants
As a rookie, you should focus on growing easy plants—and doing it well.
Learn as much as you can by planting straightforward plants. Leafy greens and root vegetables are a safe place to start. It’s also beneficial to group plants with similar growth cycles.
Stay away from delicate crops like strawberries or pineapples until you get the hang of greenhouse produce.
6. Learn How to Heat Your Greenhouse
If you’re producing during the winter months, it’s essential to know how to heat your greenhouse.
As you’ve probably guessed, heating a greenhouse can get expensive. You have to be smart when choosing the type of heat source you will use. Start with small electric heaters. They are simple to install, are cost-effective, and can be used in different ways.
If your greenhouse is small, a 120-volt heater should suffice. A 240+ volt heater is more effective for larger greenhouses that are controlled by a thermostat.
Gas heaters also work well, but they are more expensive to maintain. You also have to ensure proper ventilation with a steady supply of fresh air and a way to exhaust fumes.
If you’re environmentally responsible, some heaters work with ventilation systems that use warm air from your home. You can also choose to incorporate large rocks that absorb sunlight during the daytime and release it during the night.
When shopping for equipment for your greenhouse, don’t forget a thermometer. This handy tool will let you know exactly where to provide shade and when to heat cool your greenhouse.
7. Understand How to Cool It Down
Heating a greenhouse is easy. Cooling down a greenhouse that is too hot is a much harder job.
Greenhouses are designed to trap heat, so it can be hard to maintain a consistent temperature during the warmer months. During this time, it’s vital to measure the greenhouse’s temperature regularly.
If you catch a heat spike early, solving it can be as easy as popping open a door. In more dire situations, you can turn to evaporative air coolers to maintain humidity in the structure.
8. Provide Adequate Ventilation
Fresh air quality is essential to the art of growing plants.
Currents exist created by natural heat in the summer, which is good enough to maintain adequate circulation. Keeping wall and roof vents open will pull cool air through the walls and exhale hot air through the roof. This process provides a constant supply of fresh air.
During the winter, beware of mold. You should always be wary of overwatering in the winter and use an oscillating fan if you’re concerned about the amount of moisture.
Are You Ready for High-Quality Produce?
It’s essential to have access to fresh, healthy food. How awesome would it be to produce that food in your new home greenhouse?
If done right, your greenhouse will make growing your favorite plants easy and fun. And if you understand what makes your greenhouse perform well, you can ensure that you’ll get the outstanding results you’re seeking.
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