Planning for your ideal greenhouse
Greenhouses are a specialty of ours here at Growers Supply, and with dozens of structures, coverings and kits to choose from, we are sure to have a greenhouse that fits your needs. From basic stock options for homes or small businesses that cover a few hundred square feet to the marvels of modern day engineering that span several acres, the options we offer are unmatched. Our knowledgeable greenhouse specialists will walk you through the design process of your greenhouse and help you customize it to your needs. When you call, let us know what you want to grow and we’ll make sure your greenhouse purchase exceeds your expectations. In this blog we will discuss some of the factors that you should consider before you give us a call or shop online to ensure that you get the best greenhouse solution possible.
Determine a need
With any greenhouse your first consideration should be what you will be using it for. During this time you should consider:
- What type of plants you will be growing?
- How do you plan to grow? (hydroponics, soil, etc.)
- How much are you looking to grow?
- Do you want to grow seasonally or year-round?
- What plant hardiness zone are you in?
Answering these questions in advance will help you determine what size and style of greenhouse will work best for you and what environmental controls are needed.
Prepare your foundation
Having a strong, sturdy foundation is vital to the longevity of your greenhouse. Without a proper base your greenhouse could be subject to a shortened lifespan. There are many foundation options, including a concrete slab, wall or piers and wood. The foundation you choose depends on what size structure you have. A wood foundation is best suited for small structures, while concrete foundations are recommended for larger structures. We usually recommend a concrete slab, as this is the strongest and most reliable base. You will want to make sure that you have good drainage underneath your greenhouse, as this will prevent stagnant water, which can lead to foundation damage. There should also be measures taken to prevent any grass and weeds from growing under the foundation; installing standard or heavy-duty ground cover works great for this.
Cover your greenhouse
There are many options of greenhouse films and polycarbonate panels that can be used to cover your greenhouse. Our film offerings range from a one to four year life span, and are available in clear, white, anti-condensate thermal and overwintering. Our polycarbonate panels come in 4mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm thicknesses and are built with long-lasting durability. For more information about the types and configurations of greenhouse coverings and their benefits stop by our recent “What’s in a Greenhouse?” blog for more details on our covering options.
Another thing to consider covering is the floor of your greenhouse. You can plan your flooring to actually increase heat retention if you so desire. If you’re looking to increase heat retention, we recommend using 6 oz. PolyMax® Reflective Greenhouse Flooring, which we also explain in greater detail in our “What’s in a Greenhouse?” post. If you are looking for cooler temperatures in your greenhouse however, you can lay either sand, stones, wood or concrete, as these materials will not raise the temperature within the greenhouse like the reflective flooring does.
Control the temperature
When it comes to environmental controls, what you need depends on what you’re growing, what plant hardiness zone you’re in and whether or not you want to grow year-round. There are a number of options when it comes to equipment and environmental controls, and these can be either completely automated, manual or a combination of the two. The covering you choose for your greenhouse will aid in controlling the environment, but there are many other things to consider, including heating and cooling, ventilation and air circulation, supplemental lighting, energy curtains, thermostats and controllers, if you want to automate the environment.
Adding the right equipment to your greenhouse will make it much more enjoyable to use and increase your success. Installing heating and cooling systems will help keep the environment at the ideal temperature. You can further improve your environment by adding fans and shutters for ventilation and air circulation, by including infrared, natural gas or propane heaters for cold season growing or by adding a shade system or shade panels for natural cooling. These environmental controls can be connected to various thermostats and timers, which will automatically turn systems on and off as needed. Controlling your growing environment can be daunting, but planning for the systems you’ll need before designing your structure makes it that much easier to maintain the ideal environment.
We can help you decide what environmental controls will be necessary based on the requirements of the plants you’re growing and what the outdoor design temperature is in your region. Our specialists will size any equipment to your structure and can provide you with a detailed quote. Give us a call at 1.800.476.9715 to speak with one of our greenhouse specialists and we’ll help you get the greenhouse of your dreams today!