Greenhouses are a cornerstone in innovative farming technology, though currently, global greenhouses only account for .6% of total vegetable production. Perhaps you’re interested in starting one of your own. As the interest in self-sustainable and innovative farming grows, it’s becoming easier and easier to start a greenhouse of your very own.
There are many kits available on the market to start making a greenhouse in your backyard, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even build a design of your own.
The first step before you do any building is to decide how much space you will need. Once you have done that, you’ll have to decide on the style of greenhouse you want. There are two types: attached and freestanding. Each has their benefits.
Attached greenhouses (also referred to as lean-to greenhouses) don’t require four walls and will only have one load-bearing wall in places like your house or garage. They are ideal for sites that have limited space, making them a cheaper alternative and suitable for growing herbs, seedlings, and some vegetables. However, the downside is that the amount of sunlight the plants receive is limited to the three sides of the greenhouse.
A freestanding greenhouse is more expensive to build, but the advantage is that you can place them wherever you want. Freestanding greenhouses tend to be larger than lean-to greenhouses so that more plants can fit inside. Freestanding greenhouses allow you to plant as early as January or February and keep them as late as October or November.
Once you’ve decided on the model of greenhouse you want, you need to pick a cover for it. The process of covering the gram is called glazing. The cover allows in sunlight and warmth while blocking the elements. There are three materials you can pick for glazing your greenhouse: glass, plastic, and polycarbonate. Like the gram, they each have their pros and cons.
Glass is considered one of the best materials for glazing but is very expensive. Plastic is inexpensive and works well but deteriorates quickly. Polycarbonate is an excellent middle ground, as it is cheaper than glass, lightweight holds heat in better than either material, is useful for flat or bent surfaces, conducts heat and light well, and is very durable.
When deciding where you want to build your greenhouse, look for a level area with adequate drainage and the most sunlight (try for at least 6 hours of direct sunlight during the winter). Avoid planting near coniferous trees as they cast long shadows during the winter.
Once you have your greenhouse built, the next question you need to ask yourself is what should you plant? Katif studied the percentage of produce that different countries who use protected horticulture (or greenhouses/nurseries) and found that tomatoes were the number one crop for greenhouses around the globe. Other produce that was popular and easy to grow using innovative farming methods included cucumbers, capsicum, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, and strawberries.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these products. There is a vast variety of produce you can grow in the comfort of your yard. Ginseng, mushrooms, citrus fruits, and peppers are just the beginning of a long list of foods that can easily be grown and harvested in a greenhouse.