Greenhouses are wonderful additions to a garden and a must have for keen gardeners, especially those in cooler climates. Using a greenhouse extends your growing season and allows you to grow seedlings way ahead of their time. They're not just useful, some can be very attractive and make a great focal point in your garden. There are plenty on the market to buy but you can make them from recycled materials relatively easily.
Whether you choose to buy or make your own there are a few things to bear in mind.
Build or buy the biggest greenhouse you can. I don't think you can really ever say you have too much greenhouse space! There will always be that extra plant you would just love to grow but don't have space for.
The best greenhouses have glass right to the bottom allowing the maximum amount of light to pour in at all levels, walls which taper out are an extra bonus.
If you don't have the time to build your own or the budget to buy new, consider buying a preloved greenhouse. Check local papers and websites for a bargain.
TIP: Make sure you take photos of the existing structure before you loosen the first bolt. Mark glazing with tape/indelible pen, it will help you piece the jigsaw back together at home.
- Choose a nice sunny spot that will get at least 6 hours of sun in the winter.
- Position it running lengthwise east to west. This will give it the longest stretch of daylight each day.
- Set it as far away from kids play areas as possible, you don't want a ball through the glass!
- If you plan on having electricity in your greenhouse, site it close enough to your source.
5. Temperature Control
The atmosphere inside greenhouses is warm and moist so requires lots of ventilation. If you're making your own green house incorporate vents or a door so that you can bring the temperature down when needed. All greenhouses need a thermometer. Unless your system has automatic venting you will need to pay attention to temperature. A sunny winter day can quickly heat up the interior of a greenhouse, even if its chilly outside. Be sure to open vents or doors and allow cool air to enter when the temperature rises too much.
6. Light Control
Some greenhouses have shade cloths to keep the light inside slightly subdued to prevent the plants from burning in the intense Australian sun.
Utilise space well, tall plants such as tomatoes that will make the most of the height of the greenhouse should be on the upper levels and shade-loving plants such as ferns lower down. There is a range of different types of furniture available including shelving, benches and tables for preparing and potting plants.
Having the luxury of an in-greenhouse mains supply will require plumbing, a great alternative is to install a rain water tank next to the greenhouse and collect the water from the roof. Watering techniques range from the use of a watering can to a semi-automatic system if you’re away from home a lot. Our Total Misting Package is great for greenhouses.
If you're looking for some inspriartion on greenhouse design check out our Glorious Greenhouses blog.
Do you have a greenhouse already? Please, if you have any tips for other readers regarding greenhouses, share them in the comments below.
N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.