If you are planning to take out your plants, then building them a proper greenhouse is the best way to ensure their proper growth. As you may expect, growing indoors is different from growing outdoors. Indoor growing will require the grower to consider a lot of things such as heat, insulation, drainage, ventilation etc. while outdoor growing will need to consider the shape of the greenhouse, the material it was made from, and the amount of sunlight getting through it to the plants. Growing in a greenhouse can be quite difficult, so if you’re looking to create one yourself, this article can surely be of help!
Like stated above, outdoor growing is somewhat different to indoor growing as there are additional things to consider. In making a perfect greenhouse, the requirements can be split into two: exterior components and interior components. Not to worry, though, we’re going to delve in deeper with this so keep on reading!
Exterior components are the things that you need to create the actual structure of the greenhouse. Some additional things to consider such as the material to be used in constructing a greenhouse should be considered.
Shape –In general, greenhouses from around the world either has a rounded top or a gabled top. Rounded top or Quonset style is the typical choice for hobby growers while gabled top or Gothic style is primarily chosen by professional growers. Quonset greenhouses are typically made from plastic while gabled greenhouses are installed in rows and connected at the edges of the frame which allows the usage of heavier material such as glass or fiberglass.
Materials – The frame of the greenhouse can be made from different materials. Steel and aluminum are the most commonly used ones. Aluminum frames are commonly chosen by small-time growers as its very light, cost-effective, and very malleable to be anything that they need. Another option is to use wood but it’s not really advisable as wood can rot pretty fast especially if the place is constantly damp and humid. Treated wood is also not advisable as the chemical used can be harmful to the plants. Plastic, glass or fiberglass are often used as they are translucent materials. Glass actually allows the most sunlight in but it’s the most expensive one and requires more support as it can be heavier compared to others. Additionally, glass can also break easily. Fiberglass, on the other hand, can break down if it is constantly exposed to UV light. Plastic is the cheapest option but it needs to be replaced quite often. Plastic panels or sheets are commonly used as they are also able to provide insulation and temperature control. The panels and/or sheets can be placed in a way that air is allowed to enter in-between which adds additional insulation and airflow in the greenhouse.
Another aspect to consider is providing shade to the greenhouse. Decreasing and increasing the amount of light that can enter the greenhouse is important especially during specific seasons. An example of this is during summer where the decrease of light can actually help the plant to reduce the heat that the greenhouse can experience. Common materials used to provide shade is cloth, white paint (or any liquid that can shade the south side of the greenhouse) or white plastic sheets.
Interior components are the things that affect the plant while inside the greenhouse. It’s sort of similar to the things that we need in an indoor grow.
Heating, Cooling and Ventilation – Similar to indoor growing, heating, cooling and the ventilation system should be considered in a greenhouse. There are plenty of options in each aspect and each differs from the plants that you are planning to grow and the climate of the location where you are in. Heating can be done naturally by the sun or by other means such as fuel oils, natural gas, wood, steam, electricity etc. Cooling can be done through proper ventilation done either automatically or manually. As you may imagine, manual ventilation is much cheaper than automatic ones. With today’s technology, sensors can be used to activate vents automatically depending on the need of the plants inside the greenhouse. Additionally, fans can be installed to conduct an airflow that is conducive for growth.
Flooring – The floor of the greenhouse should be able to tolerate constant moisture from the plants. The non-slip surface should also be used for safety reason. Gravel is an expensive option and is quite effective. However, it’s not as convenient as it can be bumpy especially if carts are used in the greenhouse. Porous concrete, fiberglass, ground bark, brick stone etc. are often used as they are effective as well. Water present on the floor should be drained most of the time as to avoid any accidents.
Drainage and Irrigation System – Similar to the ventilation system, the drainage, and irrigation system can be automatic or manual. Plants in the greenhouse can be watered directly or be part of an irrigation system equipped with misting systems or automatic drip irrigation systems. Regardless of the method you wish to use, the water used should be checked regularly.
Lighting – If the sun is not enough, supplemental grow lights can be installed. Make sure to include the plans of installing these grow lights beforehand as to avoid any complications later on. Knowing the electrical capacity will also be needed to make the whole operation efficient. Additionally, light can cause some sort of heat as stated above, so make sure to balance things out just in case.
These things are very needed when it comes to making a greenhouse. Make sure to consider all of these things so that the best possible greenhouse can be created! Planning for the growth of the plant is just as important as the actual growing process!