Grow Food All Year Round Inside Your Home With This Heat Storing Greenhouse (Video)
So, you want to grow year round? Or maybe extend your gardening season? Interested in growing plants that normally don’t survive in your neck of the woods? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then a greenhouse might be for you
A backyard greenhouse kit can provide a stable, warm environment where plants can be grown all year. They can also be used to get a jump start on the growing season, where plants, like tomatoes and peppers, are planted early and later moved out to the garden. Whatever your reason for wanting a greenhouse, there are several types, styles and costs for almost anyone who wants to start gardening under glass — or polycarbonate, for that matter!
The first thing to figure out when buying or building a greenhouse is how much growing space you will need. Keep in mind, that a greenhouse is a long-term investment. Your selection should be large enough to provide ample room for years to come. In many instances, greenhouse owners end up wanting more square footage than they originally thought. In addition, if you plan to grow vegetables, you’ll want maximum light and plenty of headroom, which is also good for hanging plants.
In most areas across the country, a freestanding greenhouse will allow you to start plants much earlier in the growing season (January or February) and then, at first sign of frost, you can bring your plants in again to extend the growing season through October or November. Here in Montana, a separate heating system is required for year-round operation.
Freestanding greenhouses have the added advantage of being a sanctuary away from home. A relaxing place that you can go to get away for awhile. A place where no phones exist and you are surrounded only by the beauty of the flowers and plants that you are growing.
Glazing is the covering around your greenhouse frame. It is responsible for letting sunlight and its warmth in while keeping the elements out. Glass is the best glazing material, but it is also the most expensive. Plastic sheeting works well and is inexpensive (see How to build a cheap and easy greenhouse), but will deteriorate quickly. Polycarbonate is less expensive than glass, is lightweight, and retains heat better than both glass or plastic. Additionally, polycarbonate can be used on flat or bent surfaces, transmits light well, and is extremely strong.
The closer to the house or garden your greenhouse is located, the more you are likely to use it. Also, consider access to electricity and water — both of which you’ll probably need.
Look for a level area with maximum exposure to the sun. If possible, find a location where the greenhouse will be getting at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day during the winter. By orienting the greenhouse east to west, the largest side will get full southern sun exposure. If you don’t have an area with enough sun, grow lights can be added to compensate.
In addition to the frame of the greenhouse, there are many accessories that can go inside. Depending on your commitment and budget, you can add shelving, a mist system, a heating system, a fan, a tool rack, a potting bench and the list goes on. Consider what you really need, what you’d like to have and what you have room for.