A garden greenhouse is a good investment for those who want to garden year round. In addition to protecting crops against weather conditions, it also is very decorative and provides added value to a home. So, which greenhouse to choose among all of the models present on the market? Here is all the information there is to know on the subject so that everyone can choose a greenhouse adapted to his or her garden and budget.

A greenhouse is a lightweight construction – glass, polycarbonate, aluminium, plastic, wood, or a combination of two or more of these materials – with translucent walls to grow plants in it. Experts are unanimous: a greenhouse, if it is built according to the standards, allows one to create better growing conditions for the plants than if they were left without protection, that is, if they were grown outside the greenhouse. There are different types of greenhouses that are adapted to different types of crops. It is very important to choose the model that most closely matches the needs of your future garden (or vegetable garden) to obtain the best possible results. After reading this little guide, garden greenhouses will n longer hold any secrets for nature lovers eager to try them out.

Different types of garden greenhouses

It is first necessary to differentiate greenhouses from row covers. These consist of plastic sheeting mounted on metal frames and are used primarily to protect a bed or row of crops for a relatively short period of time. Unlike greenhouses, which are stronger and more structured, row covers are temporary protections that are not sustainable. In regard to greenhouse models, one can, depending on desires and objectives, choose between a cold greenhouse (39 – 55.5 °F or 4 – 13 °C), a mild greenhouse (50 – 65.5 ° F or 10 – 18 ° C) or a tropical greenhouse (59 – 71.5 ° F or 15 – 22 ° C), all three of which give off different diurnal and nocturnal temperatures. As for the greenhouse’s dimensions, they depend on the available space in the garden. Although the majority of greenhouses are sold in kit form,some can also be tailor-made, provided that you are willing to pay the price (from £435 to over £1750 or €500 to over €2000).

Criteria for choosing a garden greenhouse

To choose a greenhouse, you must first know the type of crop for which it is intended. If, for example, the crops are rather extensive, it is recommended to invest in a large enough greenhouse so as not to run out of space. Next, we must consider the quality and strength of the greenhouse’s various components, that is to say, the glazing, framework, walls and doors. First of all, a greenhouse that is delivered without a base must be installed on a smooth, flat surface. In this case, it is necessary to dig a hole in the garden to pour in a concrete topping. Then, you need to know that a garden greenhouse must have transparent walls – straight or inclined – to let the light shine through, as it is a source of heat, and therefore a factor of growth for plants. The glass’s thickness and the degree of reflectivity need to be subjected to careful consideration at the time of purchase. The first criterion in fact affects the greenhouse’s lifespan while the second one guarantees its warming ability. For information purposes, know that 3 mm thick clear glass is the most transparent material today, while polycarbonate panels, which are twice as thick, are the strongest and most insulating ones – a very useful feature in the winter. As for the greenhouse’s frame, it must either be metal or wood, but certainly not plastic which is less resistant. On the other hand, sliding doors are required, for practical reasons, and should have an aluminium frame and rails. Finally, check that the greenhouse is equipped with proper ventilation, otherwise the plants will suffer in the heat. The side walls and roof must include fanlights or automatic openings to regulate the air that circulates inside the greenhouse. Once these criteria have been studied well, the choice of a greenhouse should no longer raise any problems.

Tips for gardening in a greenhouse

To use the greenhouse, you have to buy, in addition to the central structure, a few functional elements such as growing shelves, gutters, stakes and trellises for climbing plants, trays and pots, classic garden tools, etc.. Afterwards, the greenhouse’s orientation and location are critical because they affect its to internal heating ability. Thus, if the greenhouse is built against the house, it will be much easier to supply it in water and electricity. If it is facing south, it be able to enjoy the added benefit of direct sunlight to naturally heat up its interior, leading to significant savings in terms of heating. It is also advisable to build the greenhouse sheltered from the wind to prevent heat loss. Finally, you must select the right plants to grow, meaning those that are suited to your type of greenhouse. To grow fruit trees such as the lemon tree or orange tree, as well as shrubs like the mimosa, the cold greenhouse is the ideal choice. The temperate greenhouse is adapted for subtropical plants while the tropical greenhouse is intended for exotic plants like orchids and hibiscus. In short, garden greenhouses are undoubtedly good growing areas, as long as they are well-equipped and positioned.

Related posts:

  1. Acquiring a greenhouse
  2. Guide and selection criteria for the purchase of a greenhouse
  3. Choosing, maintaining, and planting ornamental shrubs

Published in Winter vegetables by Alexander on 14 Sep 2011