Guide To Greenhouse Technology

Simply put, a greenhouse is a building with a covering of glass, plastic or fiberglass that allows heat to build up inside the building. A greenhouse may be freestanding or built onto an existing building. A well-constructed greenhouse provides a controlled environment for growing plants of all types. There are a variety of styles and sizes to choose from when designing a greenhouse. Which is right for you will depend on your location, space, budget limitations, how you plan to use the greenhouse, and time commitments. Will you use a prepared kit to construct your greenhouse or do it all yourself, perhaps using recycled materials you already have on hand? Finding answers to these questions, planning, and making preparations before you begin constructing your greenhouse can save a lot of time, money, and frustration.

How exactly do you build a greenhouse? Construction and materials range from simple, lightweight materials such as PVC piping and a plastic covering for a cold frame style greenhouse that needs no heat, to elaborate framed construction and glass panels requiring venting and exhausts systems. Framing material may be PVC pipe, wood, or aluminum. PVC frames are not strong enough for areas that receive a lot of snow or high winds. Choice of covering material also needs to take into consideration the weather and seasonal extremes of your area. The design and construction of a greenhouse is very customizable. Speaking with the extension office in your area as well as visiting existing greenhouses and speaking with the owners concerning the advantages and disadvantages to designs and materials can help in choosing the right style, plan, and construction materials for your greenhouse. Construction begins with an adequate foundation, sturdy framing, and a covering that help contain heat within the greenhouse. Once you have your basic greenhouse built, you need to be prepared to control the environment and maintain conditions within the greenhouse to ensure healthy plant growth year round.

Maintaining the greenhouse and environmental control can quickly become overwhelming. Early understanding of the need to control temperature, lighting, humidity, and even CO2 levels is necessary to preventing disease or mold that can quickly destroy your plants. Maintaining a balanced environment within your greenhouse will require the use of fans, venting systems, heaters, and monitoring CO2 levels. While the thought of all these controls may seem a distraction from simply planting and enjoying your healthy fruits and vegetables year round, once you understand the basics and have a system in place it is easier to maintain than it seems at first glance. There is a lot of good information available free from your local county or state extension office, local greenhouse owners, and many gardening centers. Often you can attend free workshops or ask questions of experts to find the best way to begin planning your greenhouse in time for the next growing season.

The benefits of learning about greenhouse technology, building your own greenhouse and planning what fruits, vegetables or plants you will grow have many benefits psychologically, spiritually, and physically. Health benefits from greenhouse technology come from fresh fruits and vegetables. You control how they are grown and harvested and have no need to fear harmful pesticides. Food harvested and prepared within minutes provides full benefits from nutrients. The exercise involved in managing your greenhouse, planting, watering, and harvesting helps maintain strength, flexibility, and reduces stress. Greenhouse technology provides the opportunity to garden year round and extend the growing season while providing optimal growing conditions that protect your plants from unexplained extremes in weather. The psychological and spiritual benefits gained from knowing that you had a huge hands-on part in providing healthy food or beautiful flowers and plants for the enjoyment of your family can bring unexpected pleasures and memories to share with others.

For information in planning and constructing your own greenhouse, consult the following links.