This one is for all of you d-i-yers out there. This article is from our friends at Garden and Greenhouse Magazine. It discusses the different types of hydroponic systems and how to set up your own hydroponics in your hobby greenhouse. I have owned a greenhouse full of hydroponic systems, experimenting with the different types to see which I liked the best. I think I preferred the NFT system. We used it to grow basil. It was as simple as could be.
Experimenting with hydroponic gardening is a fun and productive way for greenhouse hobbyists to expand their horticultural knowledge. The term “hydroponics” is a general name that encompasses all methods of soilless gardening. In other words, there is a multitude of ways to garden hydroponically. However, don’t let the seemingly infinite amount of hydroponic systems deter you from giving hydroponics a try. One of the best ways for greenhouse hobbyists to break into hydroponic gardening is by making a homemade hydroponic system.
You have dreamed for years about owning a greenhouse. Now the time has come. What size do you get? Most people have problems making this decision. I think the best way to start is to think about how you are going to use the greenhouse. If you have plants that you are going to overwinter, I suggest laying them out in your yard in a configuration similar to what you will do in your greenhouse. Then you just measure outside the plants and voila, you have the answer to this question. If you are growing in raised beds, decide what size beds you will have and draw them out on a piece of paper allowing for adequate walkways. The same would apply if you are using systems such as hydroponic systems. Find out their size and draw them in a configuration you like on a piece of paper. When considering raised beds and/or greenhouse staging, you need to be sure that they are not so wide that you are unable to maintain the outside plants properly. I suggest not using any wider than a 3′ bench for benching that will be against a wall. If you are using a bench in the center aisle, it is OK to use a 4′ wide bench. Keep in mind that most of us will be comfortable with a 3′ wide walkway, so be sure to draw them in as well. I do not recommend even trying to put a center bench in a 12′ greenhouse. Lots of people try and I don’t think they are too happy with the outcome. If I would do this, I would only use 2′ wide benches to ensure adequate walkways. I would get at least a 16′ width for a center bench. The best thing to remember is that we are all collectors. You know, that perfect color plant, an unusual vegetable, etc. Don’t buy a greenhouse you will be crammed into with your current plants. Always allow a little room for expansion. If you need any help with this decision, feel free to contact us at Advance Greenhouses.
Building a Polyfilm Greenhouse? Not sure how to attach the film to your greenhouse frame? This video discusses the use of batten tape or base and wiggle wire systems. They are both excellent for wood frames. The wiggle wire system is good for metal frames as well. As always, we hope you find this edition of “The Greenhouse Minute” informative and helpful.
Are you wishing for a lean to style greenhouse as above, but own a ranch style home? You may have 8′ or 9′ attaching height for the back wall, possibly a little bit more. Do you think it is impossible to get a greenhouse attached to your home? Not so. There are 2 different ways we are able to fit these with our Acadian and Evangeline Lean To Greenhouses.
Lower Roof Pitch
Home Attached Greenhouse with Lower Roof Pitch
For our standard roof pitch you have a rise of about 5 inches for every foot that you project away from the house. With our lower roof pitch, we can drop that to about 2 1/2 inches drop for every foot. So, for a greenhouse that projects approximately 10 feet, that would drop your attaching height about 25 inches. That is quite a considerable amount and will accommodate a whole lot of houses.
Fascia Attached Greenhouse
Fascia Attached Acadian Lean To
Still don’t have enough height with our Lower Roof Pitch? We are also able to offer a fascia attached greenhouse. This greenhouse will attach directly onto the fascia of your home, rather than the wall of your home. This will gain quite a bit of extra height, as you need to leave at least a 4″ clearance when you go under the soffit. This is so your roof vents can function properly. Combine this with our lower pitch, and you can attach this greenhouse to just about any home as long as you are not trying to project away from the home too far. If you will notice in the picture we also supply what we call an under soffit fill to fill in from the back of the greenhouse to your home.
In conclusion, just because you have a ranch style home does not mean you have to give up on owning a lean to greenhouse. We are more than happy to help you design the greenhouse of your dreams.
Greenhouse with Solar Powered Roof Vents and Side Vents
Of course the answer to this question is yes, you do need ventilation for your greenhouse. But what if your greenhouse is in a location with no electricity? There are several options which will alleviate this problem. The simplest thing to add is roof vents or side vents. A lot of the greenhouse kits will come with these either as standard equipment or as an option. If you are building your own greenhouse, you would just frame them out using the same material as your greenhouse and cover them with the same material as well. To simplify matters even more, I recommend using solar powered openers with these. This is an arm that is operated by a wax cylinder. It is a pretty basic piece of equipment. It functions on the principles of contraction and expansion. When it is warm the wax will expand and cause the arm to open. When it is cool the wax will contract and cause the arm to pull shut. There is no exact temperature setting on these, but there is a thumbscrew at the end which can be used to adjust the opening and closing temperatures. They are typically able to open between 65 and 75 degrees F, depending on the manufacturer. They will definitely simplify your life during the spring and fall months. No more getting up in the morning and opening them before you head out to work. Then, if you get home and forget to close them at night, the results could be devastating.
Intake Shutter with Solar Powered Opener
If you are building your own greenhouse, or need ventilation in an existing greenhouse, our solar powered shutters are perfect. They will supply natural ventilation for your greenhouse. They come in 6 sizes and require no electricity. The 4 smaller sizes may be fitted into a polyfilm greenhouse without any further framing. Or, they may be installed in a framed out opening the same as the 2 larger sizes. These shutters are perfect for just about any outbuilding, not just for greenhouses.
Polyfilm Greenhouse with Roll up Side Curtains
A final suggestion for natural ventilation is roll up side curtains. These are typically found in polyfilm greenhouses only, and come with a manual hand crank.
In conclusion, not having electricity in an area where you want to put your greenhouse should not be a deterrent. Use any of these systems, or any combination of these systems to help ventilate your greenhouse. Also, if you don’t like any of these suggestions, another way to go with this is to use solar panels to supply electricity to your motorized ventilation systems.
Glass Greenhouse with Black Frame and Black Aluminum Knee Wall
Are you considering putting a greenhouse up in your backyard? Have you been concerned about what it would do to the value of your real estate? Afraid it may be like putting in a swimming pool, which can lower the price of your home in certain areas? Well, worry no more. Realtor.com, one of the biggest real estate websites is now promoting homes with greenhouses. There is such a great selection of kits for your backyard available now. You can attach them to the house or garage, or have a freestanding unit.
For avid gardeners who pore over heirloom seed catalogs, stress out over snails, and ID plants by their Latin names, owning a property with a greenhouse is a dream come true.
Surprisingly, it’s not an expensive pursuit. You don’t need to pay mansion-level prices for this awesome outdoor amenity. Plenty of modest ranches and bungalows boast a greenhouse in the yard. And if you’re a person who loves to get your hands dirty and grow your own food, or cultivate award-winning roses, having a handy on-site spot is key.