Whether you’re a new gardener who’s just learning the basics, or an experienced farmer who’s looking to extend the growing season, greenhouses are an ideal environment for fruits, vegetables, and other plants to thrive. But there's a lot to learn about greenhouse gardening, and so in this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know to get started with your own portable greenhouse.
In this guide, you'll learn:
- What a greenhouse is
- How to use a greenhouse
- The different types of greenhouses
- The advantages of greenhouse gardening
- The best way to organize a greenhouse
- How to protect your plants and crops from pests
- How to clean your greenhouse
- And much more
What is a Greenhouse?
A greenhouse is a shelter that allows plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables to continue growing indoors when the weather outside is no longer conducive to agriculture. In other words, it’s a house for your plants and crops that allows you to control the environmental conditions so that you can keep gardening year-round.
How Do You Use a Greenhouse?
The idea with a greenhouse is to treat it like a permanent home for your plants and crops. By growing indoors with a greenhouse, you can ensure that all of your crops have their basic needs met so that they can continue to grow and thrive when the climate outdoors is too cold and inhospitable.
What Types of Greenhouses Are There?
There are a number of different types of greenhouses available, ranging from large-scale industrial greenhouses to small backyard greenhouses. Let's briefly look at some of the different kinds of greenhouses now and see what makes each one unique so that you can choose the one that will work best for you and your property.
Cold Frame Greenhouses
Cold frame greenhouses take advantage of the sun’s rays to provide natural heat for the plants and crops inside. These greenhouses create a microclimate that’s well suited for growing all sorts of different flower species, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Raised Bed Greenhouses
Raised bed greenhouses are basically mini-greenhouses that sit on top of your existing garden bed. The idea is that when the weather starts to get cold, you can protect your outdoor plants and crops by covering them with a raised bed greenhouse so that they can continue to grow throughout the winter.
Portable greenhouses come in various shapes and sizes. These greenhouses are generally the best for backyard growers, avid gardeners, and botany enthusiasts. If you have a backyard and want to grow plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, or other crops year-round, then a portable greenhouse will almost always be your best bet.
What is the Advantage of Greenhouse Gardening?
There are a number of benefits that come along with greenhouse gardening. The first and most obvious benefit is that with a greenhouse, you can continue growing your plants and crops all year. So even when it's freezing outside, you can have fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables.
Greenhouses also offer a good amount of pest protection compared with growing outdoors. Another major benefit, especially with portable greenhouses, is that they are well – portable. You can take them with you if you ever move, and you can customize them to fit perfectly in your backyard.
Also, when you are growing crops outdoors, you really have no control over the weather or environmental conditions, which are, of course, major components of growing anything. With a greenhouse, you can control the temperature, water, nutrient, and everything else, ensuring that you always generate a great yield, regardless of the weather forecast.
Where is the Best Place to Put a Greenhouse?
Honestly, the best place to put a greenhouse is wherever you want. Ideally, you want your greenhouse to be away from your house but close enough so that during the winter, when the weather is bad, you can still access your greenhouse without it being an issue. As a general rule of thumb, somewhere on your property that's not too far from your house, where the greenhouse will get a good amount of sunlight, will be a perfect spot.
How do you Organize a Greenhouse?
When determining how to set up and organize your greenhouse, it really all depends on what you want to grow. But, generally speaking, it's a good idea to separate your greenhouse into different zones. So, you have your potting area, your storage area, your planting area, your trash area, and so on. It's also important to consider the ventilation and drainage systems inside your greenhouse. Be careful not to position anything in such a way as to block your drains or prevent the sunlight from entering the greenhouse during the summer months.
What Can You Grow in a Greenhouse?
With a few exceptions, you can grow just about whatever you want inside a greenhouse. Plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are among the most common greenhouse crops, but because you can control the environmental conditions inside your greenhouse, you can fine-tune things to be optimal for growing almost anything. That said, due to size constraints, greenhouses aren’t ideal for growing really tall trees unless, of course, you have a large industrial greenhouse that’s been designed for trees, in which case they’re great for that also.
How Do You Keep Pests Out of a Greenhouse?
Greenhouses naturally provide a ton of protection against pests just on account of your crops being indoors. By ensuring that your greenhouse is properly sealed and doesn't have any rips or tears in it, you should be able to eliminate 90% of the pest problems you would otherwise encounter when planting outdoors.
Of course, pests will be pests, and so you should still look into finding a pesticide that will keep your crops protected against any pests who do somehow find their way into your greenhouse, but that's really a matter of personal preference, and in most cases, you shouldn't have any major problems when growing things in a sealed, controlled environment.
Should You Vent a Greenhouse?
Although you need to seal your greenhouse as best as you can so that the weather and pests don’t destroy your crops, you do still need to provide some form of ventilation. In most cases, it’s advisable to set up some sort of fans system as well, which helps to circulate the air inside your greenhouse; normal oscillating fans work just fine for this application.
Can You Use a Greenhouse All Year Long?
Most greenhouses are designed to be used all year long. Portable greenhouses, in particular, are so popular for this exact reason because even in the coldest winter months, you can still enjoy being out in your garden and growing your favorite plants, flowers, and crops, without freezing or getting soaked in the rain. That said, it's still important to provide heat for your greenhouse plants and crops during the winter months, and there are a few great ways to do that.
How Do You Keep Greenhouse Plants Warm in the Winter?
There are many ways you can keep your greenhouse plants warm during the cold winter months. One option is to use hotbeds, which generate a bit of warmth via composting materials. You can also use a hot water system that heats the greenhouse as hot water travels through pipes that you install. Another method is to use a ground-to-air heating solution whereby fans pump warm air throughout the greenhouse. But, in most cases, a normal heating system will work just fine, whether it’s powered by solar, wind, or electricity.
How Do You Clean a Greenhouse?
When cleaning your greenhouse, there are a few areas that you'll want to focus on. First, you'll want to make sure that you always clean and disinfect any trash in your greenhouse, so the garbage area should be your top priority. It's also a good idea to clean the cover and frame, which will help reduce the chances of fungi or mold developing.
Other than that, you just want to make sure that all of the surfaces, pots, and racking systems are wiped down and disinfected. You don't need to clean your greenhouse all the time; if you give it a light cleaning once per week and a more thorough cleaning once per month, then, in most cases, that should be just fine.
Get Started with Greenhouse Gardening
Greenhouse gardening isn't very difficult. Anybody who loves gardening outdoors will also love gardening in a greenhouse, and best of all, with a greenhouse, you can grow year-round so that you don't need to abandon your favorite hobby for half the year when the weather turns cold.
That said, there are definitely a few greenhouse gardening tips and tricks that can make greenhouse gardening much easier, and so by following the greenhouse tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to set up, organize, and maintain your greenhouse, which will allow you to control the environment, generate bigger, better yields, and enjoy gardening 365 days a year.