There are several types of greenhouses. This next set of tips will go over some of the structural options that there are.
- Lean-to greenhouse - Lean-to greenhouses usually attach directly to a wall of your home or garage.
Quonset hut greenhouses are sometimes referred to as “hoop style.” They’re domed shaped, inexpensive and easy to heat. Here’s a picture:
Gothic Arch greenhouses are a lot like the Quonset style, except that the sides are usually straighter and the curved roof is pointed on top. Here’s a picture:
Classic A-Frame greenhouses have high, slanted sides. They’re a bit harder to heat because of this. Here’s a picture:
Modified A-Frame greenhouses are different from the classic, because they’re built with Gable roofs, which are usually not as steep. Here’s a picture:
Barn-Style greenhouses, like their name implies, looks like a barn. They have straight walls; therefore make very good use of space. Here’s a picture:
An even-span greenhouse is a full-size structure that has one end attached to another building. Here’s a picture:
Prior to considering the actual construction of greenhouses it is well to discuss briefly a few of the vital factors concerned in the welfare of plants. A consideration of these will enable one to appreciate better the importance of good construction in its relation to healthy plant growth.
As previously stated, cultural conditions are readily controlled in a greenhouse. The principal requirements for plant growth in their relation to greenhouse construction are: Light , heat, moisture, air and soil. These must be given careful study so that they make this control as nearly perfect as possible.
see Greenhouse construction
This next set of tips will give you some ideas on some shortcuts that you can do to simplify your greenhouse.
16. Cold Frames
If you don't have much space, cold frames are the way to go. They are small, boxed in gardens, covered with glass or Plexiglas. It’s like a miniature greenhouse.
17. Grow Racks
Grow Racks are the next size up from cold frames. They usually come with a cover so that you can modify the air flow, temperature, and humidity. Here’s an example:
18. Window Mounted
A window mounted greenhouse is just as it sounds: a miniature greenhouse that’s mounted on a window. Here’s an example:
Portable greenhouses range from 6 feet to over 50 feet. You can often buy them as greenhouse kits that are easy to assemble and disassemble.
20. Easy Drainage
There are some simple and economical ideas to make sure your greenhouse has good drainage. For example, use any of the following in the bottom of your boxes or pots: • Cracked walnuts • Marbles • Broken clay pots • Charcoal • Gravel
21. Easy Trellises
You can make indoor trellises out of coat hangers. Get creative and bend them into different shapes, like stars or hearts, and put them into your pots.
Some people have greenhouses that are based on temperature. This next section will go over these different types.
In a cool greenhouse, the temperatures stay around forty degrees F. These greenhouses are great for seedlings or for storing other plants that don’t need a constant high temperature.
In a warm greenhouse, the temperatures are around fifty degrees F. This means that most plants you grow outdoors can survive through the winter in this environment. Many types of houseplants also do well in warm greenhouses.
Hot greenhouses maintain a temperature of 70 degrees F or warmer and are great for growing tropical plants. To have a hot greenhouse, you’ll probably need special equipment, such as grow lamps, to maintain their temperature.
Solar greenhouses collect and store solar energy. This keeps your plants warm at night and when the weather is cold and cloudy.
26. Passive Solar
Passive solar greenhouses combine solar energy with other forms of heating to keep your greenhouse warm during the coldest months.
A pit greenhouse is one where you grow your plants at ground level
, then dig a walkway underground in order to have access to the plants.
This next set of tips will discuss some of the options that you have for covering your greenhouse.
Glass was the original covering for greenhouses. It looks great and is easy to maintain. Sometimes tempered glass is frequently used instead because it is two or three times stronger than regular glass.
A fiberglass cover is great because it’s strong and lightweight. Make sure it’s good quality fiberglass that is clear and transparent.
30. Film Plastic
Film-plastic coverings are made of polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copolymers, and other materials. It’s great because it’s fairly inexpensive, and lasts between 1 and 3 years.
31. Double Wall Plastic
Double wall plastic covers have two layers of rigid plastic separated by webs. These covers are great because they retain more heat, so you can save up to 30 percent on energy.
The flooring is very important in your greenhouse. It’s a good idea to make a walkway made of concrete
, gravel, or stone, down the middle of your greenhouse. The area under the plants should be covered by several inches of gravel for drainage of excess water.
OTHER STRUCTURAL TIPS
This next set of tips will give you some more ideas on how to make your greenhouse run smoothly.
You’ll need a good heating system in your greenhouse. You can get some heat from the sun, but you’ll probably need more than that, especially for a cold winter nights. A good choice is a 220-volt circuit electric heater, as it’s clean and efficient.
Sometimes, especially during the heat of the summer, your greenhouse will need a means to cool down. A good way to do this is with a small evaporative cooler. They cool the air increases humidity in your greenhouse.
The best soil that you can use in your greenhouse is just commercial potting soil found at any garden
store. Look for things like perlite, sand, fir bark, peat moss, and vermiculite on the bag.
36. Air Circulation
Circulation of air in your greenhouse is important. It’s a good idea to install circulating fans in your greenhouse. Even in the winter when you heat your greenhouse, the fan will circulate that warm air and keep the temperatures uniform. 37. Ventilation
Make sure your greenhouse has proper ventilation. A good way to do this is to use roof vents on the ridge line with side inlet vents. Then, use your fan(s) to circulate the air.
It can be hard to maintain a successful greenhouse without automatic controllers. The outside weather and temperature can change so quickly, and you’d have to monitor your greenhouse very close without an automated system that controls temperature and moisture.
39. Water Systems
A lot of people hand water their plants by hand. This is great for most greenhouse crops, but you need to be available to water during the day. But many people work during the day, so it’s a good idea to get an automatic watering system.
40. Light and CO2
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and light are important in your greenhouse. You can buy bottled CO2, dry ice, and sulfur-free fuels as CO2 sources.
Don’t forget to make room in your greenhouse for potting plants and working on other projects. If you have limited space, they have potting benches can fold down when you’re not in using them.
Keep in mind that your greenhouse will have its own maintenance requirements. Be sure to regularly disinfect your greenhouse with diluted bleach, being very careful not to get any on your plants.
WHAT PLANTS NEED
This next set of tips will go over 4 important things that your plants in your greenhouse will need.
Nitrogen is needed for healthy leaf growth. Sources of Nitrogen include: • Bone Meal • Activated Sludge. • Bloodmeal • Manure
• Cottonseed Meal
Potassium is used in plats for cell division and strong stems, and helps fight diseases. Sources of Potassium include: • Manure • Greensand • Wood Ashes • Compost
Phosphorous makes for strong root systems and bright flowers. Sources of Phosphorous include: • Activated Sludge • Cottonseed Meal • Bone Meal • Bloodmeal • Rock Phosphate
46. Trace Elements
Other Trace Elements that your plants need include: • Calcium • Iron • Magnesium • Sulfur • Zinc Sources of these include: • Oyster Shell Flour • Seaweed • Compost
This last set of tips will give you some ideas to help your plants grow healthy and strong.
Be sure to water your greenhouse plants
with room temperature water, so you don’t injure your plants. If you’re using tap water, let it stand for a day to get of the chlorine.
Herbs are great in greenhouses because many of them can repel insects. Herbs also naturally inhibit microorganisms that are good for us.
49. Egg Shells
To give your plants a boost, put some crushed egg shells around them, on the soil. Another tip: dried coffee grounds add acid to the ground.
If you transplant young plants, keep in mind that young plants can experience transplant shock. This can set your young plants back considerably. To avoid this, do your transplanting on a sunny afternoon. Keep them covered in your greenhouse, and uncover them a little more each day. Protect them from the cold every night until they gradually adapt. 51. Rinsing
Make sure anything edible from your greenhouse is properly cleaned before you eat them. A great way to do this is to put chicken wire over a bottomless wooden box. As you rinse the vegetables with your garden hose, the dirt and bugs will stay outdoors.
see Greenhouse plants