Although a greenhouse is the dream of many gardeners, some careful planning needs to be done to make sure that your green house lives up to your expectations.
- First of all, a greenhouse is just a structure that can provide a more controlled and even environment for your plants. To begin with, you need to decide what your greenhouse will be used for; starting seedlings earlier in the spring; growing tropical plants, or keeping a salad garden all winter. Your decision will determine the basics of your greenhouse, such as the size, and whether to add electricity (for heaters).
- Next, you need to determine what type of materials you will use and how elaborate the green house will be. You can build it yourself out of plastic sheeting and wood, purchase a kit that uses glass or rigid plastic or even hire a contractor to build it for you. You can choose something very simple, such as a basic unheated building that provides some extended protection for your plants, or by providing electricity to power a small heater, you can literally garden all year round.
- Then, decide on the location of your greenhouse. South facing for the most sunlight is ideal, however, an east or west facing would also be suitable. Try to choose a location that will not be in strong winds as these will chill the structure and put a drain on your heating bill. If you are going to use electricity, then make sure the location takes this into consideration. Of course having a tap inside is ideal, or at least making sure your structure is within easy reach using a hose.
You may prefer to attach your greenhouse right to the side of the house. This is perfect if you are adding water and electricity as you can tap right into your water and electrical supply. Otherwise you may have to run an electrical cord to the structure during the colder months to power a heater if your building is farther away from the power source.
Be sure to provide lots of ventilation too. Plants need the fresh air and of course bees need to be able to come and go if you want your plants and vegetables to be pollinated in order to produce fruit.
My family loves greenhouses; my parents have a tiny, rather saggy looking plastic sheeting and wood model with a couple of benches inside that was very inexpensive to build, but year after year, it produces hundreds of pounds of blight-free tomatoes. My sister has a beautiful glass free-standing greenhouse, and although not many plants are grown in it, it makes a wonderful spot for the bartender to set up during her many garden parties!
Whatever you choose, a greenhouse can be a delightful addition and focal point to your garden and outdoor living.