As welcome as a reprieve from the summer heat is, for many of us the change in weather means saying goodbye to treasured outdoor plants. But maybe colder temperatures don’t have to mean the end — have you ever considered a greenhouse, also called glasshouse? Whether you are looking to create your own farm-to-table experience or simply give year-round life to the greenery you’ve carefully nurtured, most growers are surprised to see how much easier plants can be grown in the ideal environment a hobby greenhouse provides.
There are many advantages to installing your own greenhouse. On the top of the list is a constant supply of fresh, home-grown produce and flowers — even items that would otherwise be out of season.
Another advantage is the potential for variety. “You can use your greenhouse not only for growing existing plants, but also for obtaining a great many new ones,” according to Massachusetts-based greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic. “One way to do this is by propagation using cuttings. A greenhouse plus a heated propagator will give you control over growing conditions, thereby enabling you to grow even the most challenging plants from seed. You will be able to set temperatures within the desired range, and you can allocate precisely the right amount of water and ventilation to handle your seeds in hygienic conditions and sustain good plant health. You can bring the sowing dates of tender plants forward, even starting them off in the depths of winter, if you wish.”
For those considering getting started, here are a few things to keep in mind. What is the desired outcome of the project? Are you hoping to create a serene place to spend your time? Or would the space be designed to produce food and greenery for your family and business? Do your community ordinances and HOAs allow it?
According to the Oklahoma State University Extension Office, there are two main types of greenhouse structures: free-standing, which generally will provide more growing space and flexibility to be placed anywhere on the property, or a lean-to which is built against a building, using the existing structure for one or more of its sides, and is a less expensive option. Regardless of the basic design, the greenhouse must receive a minimum of five to six hours of unobstructed light during the winter months.
Once the house is installed is when the real fun begins. The possibilities are endless. Will you be bringing to life a produce garden, beds of flowers, or both? Will you add a pond or water feature? How about seating for when you want some solitude?
Best of luck to those beginning their journeys. We can’t wait to see what next year’s harvest brings!