Whether you are a seasoned horticulturalist or just an aspiring novice in the garden with grand visions of green-thumb mastery, the decision to build a small greenhouse in your garden is one that is sure to pay huge dividends, both personally and practically, for a long, long time. Ahh…but here’s the rub-You don’t actually have a clue about how to build a small greenhouse. Not to fear…because I know HOW, and in the paragraphs that follow I am going to give you some important information on how to build a greenhouse cheap and easy; one that works amazingly well I might add.
Naturally, it can seem a bit daunting when trying to figure out to build your own hobby greenhouse from the foundation up. My advice: Break the project down into 4 component parts. These include: Site Selection, Style/Layout of your greenhouse, Collecting Materials, and Construction Business plan development. Let’s delve a little deeper into each.
Site Selection- The most important factor in location is light availability and the seasonal changes of this light. A good rule of thumb to follow is to place your greenhouse in a spot that receives maximum winter sun and vice-versa in the summer. This means that your greenhouse should face south rather than north (unless you really like spending a ton of money on heating in the winter), or your focus is to mainly grow cool weather plants.
Another important thing to consider is the topography of your location. Never build your greenhouse in the lowest part of your property or in any sinking areas. These locations can develop ‘frost pockets’ which can trap air in the cooler months that is cold enough to frost over your plants. Not Good! You also need to make sure the site has good drainage, as poor drainage will contribute to the breeding of insects and pretty soon you’ll be spending more time trying to get rid of them than actually growing stuff.
Style/Layout- Along with location you also need to figure out what type of small greenhouse will work best for your needs. Conventional (Vertical sided), greenhouses are the most common style and are easy to set up and maintain. They have plenty of headroom and space for shelving and potting benches as well. The only drawback is that these types tend to bleed warm air on the north side because of how the glazing is set up. you can compensate for this however by installing insulated glazing panels on the north side of the house.
A-frame and Hoop greenhouses are the easiest and least expensive to erect. And if you don’t mind building your greenhouse out PVC tubing and a plastic sheeting, they become ridiculously cheap to build (I can put a 10×10 one together start to finish for under a $150). They are best utilized as a cold greenhouse. Additionally, there are Lean-to styles which attach to your home(ideal for warm greenhouses because heat can be shared between the two structures), and the Earth Sheltered Solar greenhouse which is partially below ground so as to enjoy the benefits of warm soil under the frost line, thus acting as a natural barrier to the cold of winter.
Collect Materials- After you’ve settled on the type of greenhouse you want to build and have chosen a good set of plans-it’s time to get your materials together. The operative phrase here is ‘good set of plans’. With those in hand, this part of the process becomes a breeze (more info on that at the end of this article), because every piece of material needed along with dimensions for those materials will be included. It’s simply a matter of going down to the DIY center of your choice and picking it up.
Construction- Last but not least comes the fun part…the actual creation of your greenhouse, yeah! Again, if you have a good set of plans for your desired structure, the actual steps to build a small greenhouse really aren’t that hard. From a construction point of view, small greenhouses are quite simple to set up. Due to fact that most garden greenhouses are no bigger than a 100 sq. feet, concrete foundations are not necessary. If you know how to use a drill, a saw. and a hammer, you’re good to go! With a little help you should be able to set your new greenhouse up over a weekend.
Keep the following guidelines mentioned above in your thinking and you will be well on your way to having the greenhouse of your dreams. A greenhouse that will turn out incredible looking and tasting plants for years to come. Happy gardening