The Beginner’s Guide to Greenhouses


Hi I’m Tricia, an organic gardener I grow
organically for a healthy and safe food supply for
a clean and sustainable environment for an enjoyable and rewarding
experience Greenhouses are a great asset they’re
great for growing all year round for propagating and for
tender plants Today we’re going to talk about
greenhouse types so that you can make the best decision First step is to pick your location The best location for a greenhouse is a
southern exposure the next best location is the southeast or east exposure followed by a southwest and west exposure a northern exposure is
the least desirable exposure Greenhouses that are oriented east-west
get less light than those oriented north-south Afternoon shade from deciduous trees can
be really desirable in the summer they can shade the
greenhouse over the hottest part of the day and during the winter the leaves will fall
and the greenhouse will get extra light it needs during the winter
Other considerations include providing some afternoon shade the possibility of storm damage good
drainage accessibility and access to water You
also need to decide whether you’re building a free-standing or a lean-to greenhouse A free-standing
greenhouse gives you more options on placement an attached greenhouse however can be
easier to build it’ll require fewer materials and can be
heated by radiant heat from your house especially when built on a southern
exposure Now that you’ve picked your location how big do you want to build a
greenhouse? First decide how wide of a greenhouse to
build you wanna allow nineteen inches for pads if
it’s just you walk in the greenhouse and more like twenty four inches if you’ll be
bringing in equipment & visitors Benches should be as wide as you can
reach across comfortably if you can access them from one side and they should be twice that width if
the benches in the center of the greenhouse The length of your greenhouse should be
based on how many plants you want You’ll want one square foot of space for every six inch pot a word of advice
make sure that your greenhouse is twenty five to fifty percent
bigger than you think you’ll need because if you’re anything like me your
plant collection gets bigger not smaller Glass is the classic option
it’s the longest lived and it can be a very sustainable option This greenhouses is built out of upcycled
single pane windows The downside to glass is that it’s heavy it can be expensive if purchased new and
it requires the most sturdy framework also can be damaged by storms
Polycarbonate panelling or fiberglass is the next option It’s lighter cheaper
easier to fabricate and with higher impact resistance then glass The downside is that has a shorter life span at about
seven to twelve years instead of about twenty-five years
life expectancy for glass They’ll also eventually yellow and have a
high expansion contraction rate Polyethylene film is the cheapest option easiest to install and is readily
available the downside is that it only has a four-year service life The next concern is heating and
ventilation and a lot of that will have to do with what kind of plants your
growing inside check out our blog for a calculator that
can help you determine your heating needs About twenty-five percent of the heat is gonna come from the sun You’ll need about sixty degrees for active
growing and about forty degrees for season
extension Typically greenhouses are heated by oil gas or
electricity this can be forced air steam are even radiant heat from water
Some alternative heat sources are heat by compost and passive solar
greenhouses Manual temperature control is really
tricky automatic vent openers like these that work with a wax cylinder can mean the
difference between happy plants and dead ones If you want to use your greenhouse in
the summer a fan will be necessary in the peak heat of the summer your going to
need to cycle the air about once per minute You can either do-it-yourself or you can buy
a greenhouse kit like this redwood greenhouse kit with polycarbonate sides So get started with the greenhouse and
grow organic for life

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38 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Greenhouses

  1. When the summer came me and my family would buy a greenhouse and plants tomatoes. Homemade tomates taste better than tomatoes from the shop and homemade is not spayed with bug poison…! Thanks for this video. I come from Norway, and it is some few meters with snow less. 😀

  2. I bought a small popup greenhouse last year. I left it up over the winter because I needed a place to store my tools etc. needless to say I will be getting a new one this year. the wind has torn many of the panels. I want to get a hard panel one this year. Soon as they go on sale 🙂

  3. Your videos are all so lovely and very informative. 
    I am looking to get a new heated glass green house soon to grow more vegetables in the winter.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Scarlett

  4. I couldn't have said this any better. Lots of good points on setting up a greenhouse. But, the polycarbonate will last longer than 7 to 12 years. Lexan now has a 20 year warranty on their materials. Polygal has a 15 year warranty on some of their panels. Most other manufacturers have at least a 10 year warranty on the panels. I have been selling, installing and using polycarbonate for over 25 years now. I have seen the 10 year warranty material still in good shape at 15 years. Just be sure to get UV protected multiwall sheets. Tammy

  5. I am sorry I hope this is not a dumb question. What do you mean "southern exposure". if the sun rises in east and sets in west isn't exposure from either the east in morning – above in afternoon and west in eve???

  6. If the environment is any concern of yours then you should not use polycarbonate nor polyethylene for the house because those produce a lot of pollution when manufactured and are not biodegradable. Their lifespan is short and they end up costing too much or if they aren't changed when their time is over, as might happen when the property becomes vacant, they're an eyesore of the first order. Glass is the only acceptable option as it is endlessly recyclable.

  7. Haha, what a pleasant woman! I appreciate simple and condensed coverage on the placement and construction considerations. I feel I know all I need to start now.

  8. Excellent video! I have been throwing around the idea of a BIG greenhouse. I have a little 12X12 harbor freight greenhouse. I dearly love to grow cacti, and tropicals, in addition to mushrooms (I'll need a special place for those!)
    I was thinking about using a rocket mass heater as a central heat source for the winter time, it gets pretty nasty up here in Western PA. As far as ventilation, my dad used to be a commercial HVAC tech so he can hook me up with some serious air moving equipment, and I was also thinking to add a central mister system (depending on if I've got an army of cacti or tropicals!)

    Is there any way to make the heating/cooling a bit more efficient? I was thinking of using an air pocket and double layer glass/poly. Has anybody ever tried this?

  9. Well not I do not think a greenhouse is viable because it gets into the 100s pretty consistently here in the summer… Maybe it would be good for every other season?

  10. Informative video. I liked the greenhouse she mentioned. Until I went to the site and seen it's over 4000$. No thanks, I can get one from harbor freight for 200. ..

  11. Both polycarbonate panels and polyethylene covers last longer than that. I have a polycarbonate greenhouse with 13 years on it. I expects to get 4-5 more years with it. I also have 2 small polyethylene high tunnels (14'x20') with 6 years on the cover. I may replace the covers next year.

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