How to Choose a Greenhouse
Temperatures are dropping, and that means it’s time to get your plants indoors. We know how daunting the process of buying your first greenhouse can be, so we decided to put together a cheat-sheet to help you through the process. Greenhouse growing isn’t just for the professional grower—backyard hobby growers are jumping on board faster than you can say “organic produce!”
WHAT KIND OF GREENHOUSE GROWER ARE YOU?
The first question you’ll need to answer is whether you are a beginner, hobbyist or professional grower. That answer determines size, cost, and complexity of your greenhouse. The number one regret of most beginners is not buying a greenhouse large enough to accommodate plants, benches and the garden accessories you acquire on the way to getting your growing up and running. As you expand, you’ll want to have plenty of space to accommodate new changes, so make sure you take the possibility of expansion into account when deciding what kind of greenhouse grower you’d like to be.
SHOULD YOU BUILD A GREENHOUSE?
Plenty of manufacturers offer home-assembly products for ambitious growers looking for a challenge, but building your own greenhouse is rarely economical. Greenhouse plans may be inexpensive, but materials are definitely not! Growers Supply greenhouses are covered by a great warranty and are backed by an expert staff ready to offer the kind of security you just can’t get when building a greenhouse from scratch. Should you choose to manage the construction of your greenhouse, we offer panels, film, ground cover, shade cloth and a wide assortment of greenhouse accessories and pro-tips that make the process as easy on you (and your wallet) as possible.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Your growing zone guides your greenhouse selection process. Local weather, like snowfall, wind, rainfall and temperature, will determine whether you need a more structurally sound, heavily insulated or ventilated structure.
WHAT WILL YOU GROW?
Every greenhouse is unique to what is grown inside of it. If you are looking to grow year-round, your greenhouse will need to be insulated and tightly sealed. Seed germination or early season plantings do not always require the same conditions. Take some time and research the climate requirements for the plants you want to grow. Heat-sensitive plants may require extra ventilation and shading.
SHOULD YOU HEAT OR COOL YOUR GREENHOUSE?
Your success depends on how regulated you keep your greenhouse climate. Plants, like people, have specific climate requirements that help them thrive. The idea that your greenhouse automatically protects all plants from all elements is a very common misconception. First determine how hot or cold your region can get, and make the necessary environmental changes using additional heaters, fans, shade cloth or vents. Keep in mind many of these accessories may require electricity or a fuel source.
WHAT STYLE GREENHOUSE FITS YOUR NEEDS?
Greenhouses come in a nearly immeasurable combination of different sizes, shapes and complexity. With limited space, use a smaller grow house or mini-greenhouse to make sure the structure fits into your yard. If you want an attached greenhouse, we offer lean-to models perfect for a shed or garage. With a larger space, your options are even more diverse, but before buying, make sure to inquire about your town’s local zoning requirements.
Commercial greenhouses typically come in two different styles, gothic (house) and round (Quonset). Professional gothic and round style greenhouses are built with functionality in mind and require more yearly maintenance than hobby greenhouses. These structures usually consist of frames covered with greenhouse film or panels. With increased usage and extreme weather, coverings may need to be replaced as needed. Cold frames (the basic frame structure) and various greenhouse coverings can also be purchased separately.
WHAT TYPES OF MATERIALS SHOULD YOU USE?
Greenhouse frames can be made from aluminum, galvanized steel, real or synthetic wood and PVC. If longevity is your aim, make sure to choose one that can withstand the elements. Wood may be aesthetically pleasing, but it is prone to rot and insect damage. If you choose a wood frame, make sure it is cedar or pressure-treated lumber. Similarly, PVC is economical and lightweight, but it is not as structurally sound as other options. Aluminum or galvanized steel is the better choice for longevity and strength.
Coverings, or glazing, are made from various millimeter poly films, glass and shade material. Coverings play a key role in the retention of heat, and come in various thicknesses depending on your need. Polycarbonate panels will last longer and offer more protection against wind and snow. Glass, like wood, might be the nicest to look at, but it is the most costly and least effective in retaining heat.
LET’S GET STARTED!
Whether you’re just starting out growing your own produce or are an old pro at crop production, a greenhouse will be a beneficial addition to your setup. There are many types, sizes and configurations available. If you need a hand designing the best greenhouse for your specific application, contact us and we’ll do it for you!