A GREENHOUSE OF YOUR VERY OWN
If You Want Your Own Greenhouse, Here's How You Can Have One
Getting StartedAs with all projects for your home, planning is your first step. First on the list is your budget. How much money can you spend for your greenhouse? Greenhouse prices can go up to thousands of dollars, but many are available for far less. Once you know how much money you can spend, you can decide a few other things. What do you want to use the greenhouse for? Will it be used to start vegetables for your garden, flowering plants for your landscaping? A home for your plants in the winter? Do you want to grow orchids or other exotic plants? Where's the best place to put your greenhouse? And don't forget a call to your city or county's building division to see if a building permit is needed. Once all of these basic steps are in place, you're ready to shop!
LocationWith greenhouses, location is very important. It should be located where it will receive the most sunlight. All day sunlight is best, but the next best thing is a location with morning sunlight, since this allows the plant's food production to get an early start. Your ideal locations, in order, are an east side location, then southwest and west. A northern location is the least desirable location for your greenhouse, unless you are growing plants which require little sunlight. Shade trees to block the hot afternoon sun are okay, but you don't want them to block morning sun. Good drainage is another thing to consider. Try to build your greenhouse off the ground so rain and irrigation water will drain off easily. Your greenhouse should be sheltered from wind as much as possible. And there should be easy access to water and electricity as well, unless you aren't going to need a heater and you don't mind hand-watering your plants.
Greenhouse Types and Prices
Now that you know how much money you want to spend, what types of plants you'll be growing and where you want to place your greenhouse, you're ready to shop!
One of the first places we visted online was Advance Greenhouses. They offer good information to get you started. They also sell many types of greenhouses, and probably have one to fit your needs. Their prices start as lows as $35 for a small "plant house," on up to about $3,600 for a large and elaborate greenhouse, with plenty of prices and sizes in between. If your budget is limited, small models are available from about $175 to $300. Larger and more sophisticated models can be had for anywhere from $300 to $1,000. These are steel frames with polyethylene covers, and can be attached directly to the ground or to a wood or concrete foundation. And if money is no object, there are more elaborate models to choose from, including both polycarbonate models as well as glass. Plenty of supplies and equipment are also available.
Greenhouses.com was our next stop. Their inventory includes metal and wood frame greenhouses, ranging in size from the "Juliana" Grow Rack for about $60, on up to models in the thousands. They have a wide selection for less than $1,000. They also carry a good selection of equipment and supplies, such as benches and shelves, heaters and grow lights, and more.
Next we visited BetterGreenhouses and found a variety of styles and price ranges here as well. You can get a portable Plant House for around $27, which houses a few plants depending on their size, on up to a 32 ft. Solexx greenhouse selling for just under $6,400. They carry a good variety of models as well as accessories and equipment that you will need to keep your greenhouse going.
Equipment and Supplies
Chances are, you will need some additional equipment and accessories besides just the greenhouse. For instance, if you are going to use your greenhouse during the cold winter months, you'll need a heater. A variety of heaters designed to work in greenhouses are available, ranging in price from about $70 to $200, depending on size and features. The dealer should be able to help you with the right size for your greenhouse. Other accessories you may find useful include a temperature alarm, fans and shutters, potting and greenhouse benches, dehumidifiers, solar powered lights and fans, sprayers, watering systems, thermometers, additional polypropylene and polycarbonate sheeting, and more.
This just gets you started, but you should have some basic information here to get off to a great start if a greenhouse and growing your own plants all year long are of interest to you. Read up on all that you can, follow the experts' advice, and you should enjoy growing your own plants from seed. No need to throw away those catalogs, but now you can just use them for good ideas on what you might want to grow and sources for seeds.