I’m a lucky gardener, to have a greenhouse. Why a greenhouse? There are many good reasons to have one. 1) You keep the mess out of your house. Before I had the greenhouse, I started all of my seeds inside—very messy, and when the dirt goes down the sink….well, that’s a plumbing problem. 2) You get all of the light from the sun. It is hard to replicate this indoors, even with fluorescent lights. 3) You can overwinter tender plants—I don’t do this enough. 4) You can force bulbs—I also don’t take advantage of doing this enough. 5) You get a start on the gardening season early due to the heat generated inside the greenhouse.
If you are considering putting in a greenhouse, remember: THE BIGGER THE BETTER! Mine is fairly large–8×10 feet, but I’d love one even larger. It is hard to not go crazy starting plants inside there. Two consecutive years I started over 2000 plants inside my greenhouse! I have scaled back the last few years, because…..well, I’m tired.
My greenhouse is a Victorian glass greenhouse. Glass is way more durable and maintenance free than plastic. If you can afford it, go with glass. We ordered our greenhouse as a kit, via Costco, and it was shipped to us from the manufacturer in Austin, Texas. We paid a local landscape company to do the following: level the ground, install a brick floor (over layers of compacted gravel and then sand for drainage), and put in a water spigot. My husband then installed the greenhouse to fit over the brick floor. It was a huge task for him! The glass panels were extremely heavy! But he did it! We saved so much money doing it ourselves via a kit. (ahem, I mean, HIMself, since I don’t recall helping him with this.)
But most importantly, here are the photos of the inside—and I’ll show you some things that I consider to be ESSENTIAL in your greenhouse. I took these photos a couple of years ago in April. Please note, it’s always a disaster inside—because I actually USE it. I just started my first trays of seeds yesterday, prompting me to write this post….I would have liked to have started some things a few weeks ago, but that’s life!
Here in the photo the arrow is showing you the importance of shelving….because there is only so much floor space. I moved my indoor fluorescent light units that I used to use inside my house out to the greenhouse. Also, look for my heat mats in the photo…..these are so important for faster and better germination. They are expensive, but worth every penny.
Here, my arrows are showing you my plastic buckets for soil! And bleach—it is essential that you keep your greenhouse and equipment clean, so your plants do not get infections. One star shows my louvered window to help with air circulation. The other star shows my brick floor.
I have a total of three ceiling vented windows. Two are automatic! PV=nRT…..scientists, do you remember this equation? Temperature is directly related to pressure…..when the temperature rises, air pressure pops open those two windows via a spring….no electricity needed. It’s really quite amazing. The other arrow shows my wonderful shade cloth, which can be pulled to stretch the entire length of the greenhouse! It gets hot in there! It’s like a curtain.
A heater and a fan….the fan is for air circulation, though I rarely use it. I keep the door and louvered window open, during the day time. I use the heater in the winter if I am overwintering tropical plants.
I hope you enjoyed the tour…..if you are considering adding a greenhouse, remember these things: 1) The bigger the better. 2) Keep it clean (disinfected). Messy is okay and expected. 3) No matter how pretty it is, you will always struggle with mice. They love a warm house. It’s a sad reality. And they will eat your seedlings, so beware, and be ready to do combat.