Today, more and more people are contemplating owning a home greenhouse. Greenhouse gardening as a year-round, all-weather activity appeals to men and women of all ages.
Some want it strictly for relaxation; some are looking toward retirement years; some want a profitable hobby, and some wish to start a full-time business.
Here are answers to a few questions that come to mind when purchasing a greenhouse is contemplated.
Question: What size greenhouse should I build?
Answer: The size of the greenhouse will depend upon the space and funds available, the time and effort devoted to the activity, and the plants to be grown. Some home greenhouses are readily extendable, so a tiny house can be enlarged later as required.
Question: How wide should walkways be?
Answer: 2’ foot aisles are usually adequate. However, 18” inches is the standard width where space is more valuable than comfort.
Question: What size bench is practical?
Answer: A 3’ foot reach is comfortable for most people. A center bench that can be reached from two aisles can be 6’ feet wide, while benches along the side wall of the house are 3’ feet or less.
Question: What type of greenhouse should I select?
Answer: The greenhouse gable style (either free-standing or attached to the residence or other building) or lean-to (shed style) may depend upon architectural dictates. From a horticultural viewpoint, free-standing houses are better because of the more uniform distribution of light.
However, more than half of the home greenhouses sold are for attaching to the residence or other buildings. If the greenhouse is to be for pleasure, plan it accordingly.
Question: Is the location of the greenhouse important?
Answer: If there’s a choice of location, well and good. Southern exposure is commonly considered the best for light and winter heat from the sun. Still, some plants, such as African violets, gloxinias, and orchids, often do better with northern light.
A southeastern exposure is preferred by many for the morning sun and the absence of the hot afternoon sun in the summer. However, adequate shading will make a southwestern exposure entirely satisfactory for most crops.
Excellent results can be obtained from various styles of greenhouses and with all kinds of directions. So, by all means, plan the greenhouse in the most convenient and harmonious arrangement with the residence and grounds.
Question: Should building near trees be avoided?
Answer: As for trees and consequent shade, this may be beneficial in many cases, depending upon the plants to be grown. Winter shade is generally undesirable, so it’s well to avoid evergreen trees.
In any event, always consider the possibility of falling branches damaging the greenhouse. Also, falling leaves blowing in the ventilators can be a nuisance.
Question: What points should be considered in selecting a foundation?
Answer: Foundation requirements depend upon the greenhouse’s size and style, subsoil drainage, and the possible amount of frost. Generally, any masonry foundation will be satisfactory and permanent. Complete plans should be obtained from the greenhouse manufacturer before work is begun.
A competent local builder or contractor can give good advice. Usually, the foundation is best handled by a skilled artisan rather than an amateur, although prefabricated home greenhouse frameworks can be assembled on the foundations by a capable handyman.
Question: What type of flooring is best?
Answer: A greenhouse floor should be strictly utilitarian. That means neat concrete, flagstone, wooden planks, crushed stone, or gravel walkways. Wood usually doesn’t last long. Concrete requires minor maintenance.
Under the benches, crushed stone is best because it provides a greater surface area for moisture and humidity control evaporation.
Question: At what temperature are most greenhouses run?
Answer: So-called “cool houses” run at 50° degrees Fahrenheit at night and 60°-65° degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Warm houses are 60° degrees Fahrenheit at night and 65°-70° degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
Question: Some people feel that a greenhouse gets unbearably hot in the summer. Is this true?
Answer: Where crops are grown that do not require shade on the roof, the house can be hot during the middle of the day in summer. However, the uncomfortable hours are easily avoided by working early or in the evening.
44659 by W. G. Haddrell