|A Greenhouse for Your Home
|A home greenhouse offers the gardener the
joy of growing plants in all seasons and
in all types of weather. Unlike a glass conservatory (which is a room addition with a glass roof
and glass walls for the enjoyment of plants),
a greenhouse is a structure designed especially
to allow the gardener to work with plants. Home greenhouses can be custom
built, or they can be ordered as kits from
companies that specialize in garden supplies.
If you are thinking of buying
consider the following:
- Home greenhouses come in a variety of styles.
- The smallest and least expensive are greenhouse
windows that fit into an existing house window.
- Lean-tos are half greenhouses that are attached
to an existing wall. They are inexpensive
and have the advantage of usually being close
to existing sources of electricity, water,
and heat. Temperature control can be difficult
in lean-tos, as the supporting wall will
frequently collect or lose heat at a different
rate than the translucent roof and walls.
- An even-span greenhouse is a full size model
that has one gable end attached to another
building. It has the advantage of easy access,
and it will provide the good air circulation
necessary to maintain uniform temperatures
during the winter heating season.
- Freestanding greenhouses are separate structures.
They generally provide the best exposure
to sunlight, but electricity, water, and
heating must usually be installed, so they
are often the most expensive option.
- Greenhouses must be covered in a translucent
material that lets in sunlight.
- Glass is the most beautiful and traditional.
It will last for many years and is easy to
maintain, but it is expensive, as it needs
a strong foundation and frame capable of
holding the weight of glass panes.
- Fiberglass is lightweight, strong, and very
weather resistant, but the resin covering
the glass will eventually wear off and need
to be replaced.
- Many greenhouses built strictly for utilitarian
purposes are made of double-walled plastic.
This is a material with two layers of rigid
plastic separated by webs. It provides a
long lasting, heat saving cover, and it can
be stretched over curved surfaces.
- Film plastic can also be used. Its advantage
is that structural costs are low. as the
frame can be lighter and the plastic film
is inexpensive. It has to be replaced more
frequently than other types of construction
materials; and since it attracts dust from
the air, it needs to be frequently hosed
- The best place to construct a greenhouse
is where it will get maximum sunlight. It
should not be shaded most of the day by a
tree or another building. A free standing
greenhouse usually provides the best exposure
to the sun. Greenhouses that are attached
to another structure should be placed on
the south or southeast sides, where they
will get the morning light that allows the
plantsí food production process to begin
early in the day. An east location is the
next best choice. Greenhouses built on west
southwestern sites will also work, but care
should be taken that the late afternoon sun
does not make the greenhouse too hot for
the plants. A northern exposure is only suitable
for plants that require little direct light.