September 23, 2008

Consider a Greenhouse For Your Backyard

Do I need a greenhouse? Deciding is as simple as considering the climate zone in which you live and the number of warm weather plants you have in your landscape. Most people think of a greenhouse as a large transparent structure like those used by lawn and garden stores that would take up the majority of a normal sized backyard. This simply is not the case. There are a variety of do-it-yourself greenhouse kits now available that range from small 6 x 8 coldframe greenhouses to large 20 x 50 structures.

Of course these greenhouse kits range from extremely inexpensive plastic units that are easily collapsible after the winter is over to
greenhousesthat will need to be built and maintained year round. Before you delve into making a major purchase of a greenhouse simply because the winter is coming, it is best to determine whether you truly need a greenhouse at all.

What Climate Zone Do You Live In

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a greenhouse is the climate zone you will be living in. If you live in the northern or northeastern half of the country, then it is likely you may need a
[greenhouse] if you plan on maintaining warm weather plants throughout the winter. These are plants that generally need temperatures above 50-65 degrees in order to survive and usually include almost all vegetable plants.

If you live in an extremely cold weather climate zone where the weather does not reach over 65 degrees until late in the spring or early summer, then you will definitely want to consider at least a small greenhouse in order to get started with your seedlings and container planting. Remember that if you cannot get the plants into the ground until late April or early May, it may be near the end of the season before you see beautiful blooms or vegetables.

For those gardeners that only have a few plants that need to be brought into warmer weather, you may be able to get away with bringing the plants into a cooler, well-lit basement, or simply use greenhouse lighting inside the basement to help the plants survive the winter. Of course, if your basement is heated, then these plants may become too warm and will die in the basement. If this is the case, then you will want to look into a greenhouse.

Setting Up Your Greenhouse

Something important to consider before purchasing a greenhouse kit is whether you can accommodate the lighting, heating, ventilation and watering needs within the greenhouse. Depending on the range of plants you will be housing throughout the winter, some will need more heat, more light, more ventilation and more water than others. Almost all greenhouse kits come with plastic tarps that provide ventilation, but for added ventilation you will need to add ventilation windows that will be considerably more expensive.

A greenhouse known as a coldframe is one that does not need additional heating. A coldframe will remain only 5-10 degrees above the outside temperature and is used in areas where there is only a light frost. If you live in an area where the winter temperatures will fall far below freezing then heating the greenhouse will also need to be taken into consideration.

If you live in an area where there is a considerable amount of sunshine, you may be able to get away without grow lights, but if this is the case you probably don’t need a greenhouse in the first place. Most gardeners who are interested in greenhouse kits will also need to consider grow lights to help plants get adequate sunlight in the winter months.

The items that need to be considered for purchase with a greenhouse are essential in deciding whether it is worth the cost to house your plants over the winter months. For a gardener that has a yard full of warm weather plants they would like to keep for the following year, a greenhouse is essential, but for those gardeners with only one or two tropical plants, it may just be easier to replant come spring.

Tags: Greenhouse

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Filed under Greenhouse by landscapeliving.
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