How and Why to Start Your Own Greenhouse
How and Why to Start Your Own Greenhouse
Growing a garden is one of the best things you can do to get closer to nature. You become intimate with not only plant species you choose, but also the changing of the seasons, insect life and the composition of your soil. This can be a hugely satisfying experience, but there comes a point for many gardeners when they want to gain a bit more control over their crops. The next step is to start a greenhouse, an enclosure designed to retain the sun’s UV radiation and create a controlled environment in which your plants can flourish.
Don’t be put off if you’re unwilling to make a huge investment or if you lack space. There is a huge variety of structures and materials which count as greenhouses, and it’s up to you to decide which one is best suited to your garden. Options range from small scale cold frames to plastic poly-tunnels all the way up to beautiful glass pavilions. If you want to take your garden to the next level with all-season growth and environment control, there is a greenhouse-type structure to suit any budget and square footage.
Benefits to Growing in a Greenhouse
- Grow any plant you want. Exotic species which may not naturally survive in your area may thrive in a greenhouse.
- Grow at all times of year: No matter what the season or temperatures outside, you can grow any plant of your choice. Many people also like to ‘winter over’ their plants by keeping them in the greenhouse to survive the winter.
- Weather protection: Wind, rain, excessive sun or frost can do no harm inside a greenhouse.
- Protection from pests: Slugs, bugs, mice and other pests can’t get in and eat up your precious garden.
- Control the environment: Decide exactly what temperature, humidity, type of soil and other conditions you want.
- Plant Isolation: Quarantine you healthy plants if there are known diseases infecting the area.
- Nurture seeds and shoots: survival in the outdoors is often hit-and-miss for sprouts and seeds, so ensure their survival in a sheltered environment.
How to Use a Greenhouse
There are three main techniques for growing in a greenhouse. They include:
Ground soil culture
Plant directly into the earth. This is easiest on beginners and is the most similar method to outdoor gardening. Not all greenhouses can accommodate this, however. Some have concrete or tile floors which prevent ground soil growing.
Growing in a container, rather than the ground. This allows for more control over soil and there’s no weeding necessary. Container growing in a greenhouse is commonly used to nurture seedlings before they get transplanted into a garden. Use drip irrigation for consistent watering and to avoid messy splashes.
If you’ve ever wanted to try growing plants without using soil, a greenhouse is the perfect place to try it.
The enclosed nature of a greenhouse is fantastic for retaining enough heat to grow exotic or warm-weather species. Winter months need no longer spell death for even your most delicate of plants, the already warm temperatures of a greenhouse can be supplemented by additional heat sources like heat lamps to achieve as warm a temperature as you need. It is possible to overheat your plants however, and greenhouses always need a vent to prevent too much heat and stagnant air. Adequate ventilation also mitigates excessive humidity which can encourage disease spread and parasitic growths on your plants.
Check all of your plants for disease or mould before you move them to your greenhouse and inspect for insects. Bugs love the shelter and ready source of food in a greenhouse, and getting rid of them is almost impossible once they’re in. Keeping nasties out in the first place is easier than removing them once they’re settles in. Conversely, you can benefit from introducing beneficial insect species like ladybirds into your greenhouse environment.
There are hundreds of possibilities when it comes to setting up a greenhouse. Whether you want to create your own unique little ‘biodome,’ hope to give your seedlings the best chance of survival, or want to increase vegetable yield, a greenhouse is the perfect addition to any garden.