Greenhouses provide a controlled environment for effective growing of all kinds of plants, extending your growing season, prevention of pests, and more. But just using a greenhouse in your backyard is just part of the equation. Greenhouse planning is extremely essential to the health and prosperity of your plants.
Before you begin your greenhouse planning, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What types of plants am I planning to grow?
- What temperatures do I need to maintain in my greenhouse?
- How much space will my plants need to grow healthy?
- How long will it take for my plants from sprout to fruit or flower?
Once you answer these questions and write a detailed greenhouse planning strategy, you will be able to efficiently organize and lay out your greenhouse. Here are 6 tips for planning the inside of your greenhouse.
1. Start Your Greenhouse Planning at the Floor
When you begin your greenhouse planning, do not underestimate the importance of flooring. The floor of your greenhouse serves many purposes. It has to ensure good drainage, it has to insulate the greenhouse from the cold seeping in from the outside, it has to prevent weeds and pests from coming in and it has to provide comfortable surface for you to walk on.
A concrete floor is fine and, if poured right, will allow water to drain properly. Concrete will also provide an even surface for walking and for moving equipment. Both lava rock and landscape rock absorb water and help create humidity but are not easy to clean. Brick floors are attractive, provide excellent drainage, and last a long time.
2. Divide Your Greenhouse into Zones
Organizing your greenhouse into zones will help you maximize space in an efficient manner. The most common way is to separate the space inside your greenhouse into four areas: a potting area, a storage area, an area for plants, and an area for trash.
The potting area will be the hub of your activity. Since it’s your workstation, the potting table or bench should be placed against a wall, and near a source of water (like a garden hose).
Everyday gardening gear that you use on a regular basis can be kept underneath the potting table or bench. You can also use your potting area to store plant food and garden soil. However, since it is your work surface, you don’t want to clutter the surface of your potting area. Also, you will want to clean as you go so your potting area remains bug free.
You can also keep your cleaning supplies in your potting area. However, you will want to keep any detergents and chemicals labeled so there is no accidental contamination of plants. Having a shelf above the potting table or bench is a useful spot for cleaning supplies, or even seedlings. A ShelterShelf Bracket attaches to the frame of your ShelterLogic greenhouse. All you need to do is supply your own shelf.
Even if you have a garden shed in your backyard, you will still need to store certain gardening items inside your greenhouse. Everyday gear like watering cans and spray bottles will be kept in reach in your potting area. However, equipment like pots, garden tools, thermometers, buckets, seeds, soil, hoses, and more should be kept organized in a storage area.
Shelves should be included in your greenhouse planning. Shelves are necessary in any greenhouse and choosing the right ones for your space can make a major difference. If you have a small greenhouse, it is a good idea to purchase removable shelves. You must be able to take them down in case these are shading on plants located below.
Storage bins can help protect delicate soil mixes from invading pests and disease and can be kept out of sight underneath your plant or potting area. Deck boxes can also fit nicely underneath plant areas and can store plenty of greenhouse tools and supplies.
The plant area of your greenhouse should not be taken for granted. It may seem as simple as putting all your plants in one part of your greenhouse. However, additional steps need to be taken.
For example, plants should be organized by edible and inedible because they will be fed and watered differently. Additionally, certain plants cannot be grown near each other because they may not be compatible. Also, plants should be organized either by when they were seeded or when they will be transplanted into the ground. Grouping them this way will take away a lot of guesswork.
Even if your thumb is so green that you can visually identify plants, they should always be labeled. This is extremely helpful when your plants have just been seeded and are hard to tell apart.
In theory, you aren’t going to have a lot of trash in a greenhouse. However, you need a separate area in your greenhouse to keep your trash. Cleaning as you go saves time and helps keep the inside of your greenhouse clean.
Your greenhouse should have three separate bins for trash: one for compost, one for recyclables, and one for general waste. These bins should be kept covered to prevent excess mold, mildew, algae, and other pathogens from building up. This will also keep any unwanted critters away from your greenhouse.
If you have a small greenhouse, and little room inside it for trash bins, then they can be stored outside. However, you should use portable bins that you can bring into your greenhouse so you can clean as you go.
4. Hooks and Hangers
If shelf space or storage space is at a premium, you can consider hanging the items you use regularly. Hang your flowerpots, small tools, watering cans, gloves, seed packets, and more in a space under your roof. Not only is it a practical use of free space, it can make the inside of your greenhouse even more attractive!
Plastic hooks with adhesive backing can be stuck directly to the powder coated steel frame of your greenhouse. However, you should not adhere hooks to the cover of your greenhouse, as it could create holes or rips in the fabric.
5. Leave Room to Walk
Your greenhouse planning should include walking space. If you don’t leave a path to walk in your greenhouse, it will be difficult for you to work.
If you own a small greenhouse, it’s best to leave a 3- to 4-ft. wide aisle down the middle. If you own a greenhouse large enough to include plant stands in the center of it, leave room for a 3- to 4-ft. wide racetrack.
6. Don’t Block Your Greenhouse Walls
There are a few reasons why you want to leave space between any tables or stands and the walls of your fabric greenhouse.
First and foremost, if you are blocking the base of your greenhouse, your plants will not receive optimal airflow. Many fabric greenhouses have side panels that roll up and vents that should be opened during the day and closed at dusk. Although these vents open from the outside of the greenhouse, blockage will prevent air from properly circulating.
The second reason to leave space is for routine maintenance checks. You will need to inspect the frame of your greenhouse regularly. Leaving room between the walls and any furnishings will give you the space you need to tighten ratchets, inspect the cover, and more.
Plan Your Greenhouse Accordingly
Greenhouse planning is not a one size fits all solution. From property size to climate to the amount of sunlight on your property, there are plenty of things that need to be considered. However, planning the inside of your greenhouse is just as important as where you’re going to put it.
When it comes down to it, the key to planning the inside of your greenhouse is organization. Once your greenhouse planning is complete and all your plants and supplies are inside, daily gardening will come easily.