There are factors to consider when deciding to purchase a greenhouse kit. There are several varieties of greenhouse kits available to home growers and commercial growers. This begs the question “how do I know how to choose the right greenhouse?” New growers often go for something small and very cheap and this is quite advisable but care needs to be taken so as not to sacrifice quality on the altar of an inexpensive package. The point here is to ensure that whatever greenhouse you are purchasing, it possesses the ability to successfully grow your plants all year long. Some greenhouse kit comes cheap but at the end of the day stunts the growth of the plants as a result of poor quality. This defeats the whole purpose of setting up a greenhouse in the first place. This guide focuses on the areas to look out for when selecting the greenhouse kit to purchase. In other words, the following are important qualities or features to look out for when choosing the right greenhouse kit.
1.A greenhouse kit with a quality that aids ‘out of season’ production
One of the major advantages of using a greenhouse system for plant cultivation is to be able to grow plants all year round. You should then choose a greenhouse that has good insulation and is also well ventilated such that little expense is needed to supply additional heat or ventilation as the weather condition requires. Choose a greenhouse that makes managing the plants in the cold season and in hot season easy. This quality is what ensures productivity all year round.
2.A greenhouse that provides an adequate supply of light to the plants
When the right spectrum of light is supplied to the plants in a greenhouse, it aids quick and healthy growth. This is the advantage greenhouse plants have over conventional plants. However, all greenhouses do not reflect light on plants cultivated the same way. You should, therefore, choose a greenhouse with diffused light as it usually has fewer shades and reflects evenly on the plants. A greenhouse that allows the plants to access light easily without stress is the best. It is also worthy of note that too much heat (caused by too much lighting) in the greenhouse makes the plants undergo unnecessary transpiration. Avoid stress in your plants by choosing a greenhouse that supplies adequate light and makes it readily available to all the plants in the greenhouse.
3.A greenhouse with sufficient space
An ideal and suitable greenhouse is one with enough room for plant growth. Ensure that the greenhouse kit you purchase has enough growing room and you should also not grow more plants than your greenhouse would normally hold. Many times, growers tend to “manage space” by growing more plants in a limited greenhouse. This act causes more harm than good as the grower suffers the risk of losing it all at the end of the day. Choose the right size of a greenhouse that will suit the size of your plantation and also fit the available space where you intend for your garden to be.
4.A customizable greenhouse
It is also important to choose a greenhouse that can be modified to your own taste, because the truth is, the more you continue practicing greenhouse gardening, the more the new things you will discover and will want to try out or in some cases, the more the adjustments you will need to make to your garden. A good greenhouse should have a customizable feature that enables you to do whatever you dim fit in order to enhance the growth of your plants.
While greenhouses serve as protection to the plants against adverse weather conditions, the greenhouse itself should be strong enough to withstand these adverse climatic conditions such as violent wind, snow, hail, and storm. It is advisable to choose a greenhouse with durable panels and frames that can be easily cleaned. Your greenhouse should be able to withstand hazards otherwise your plants will be in danger.
When choosing the right greenhouse, it is important to also consider the framing material of the greenhouse. The most commonly used materials for greenhouse framing are wood and metal. Using wood is cheaper and is considered suitable for a small greenhouse. The metal-designed frame usually has a higher life span and is easily maintained. The wooden frame, on the other hand, requires high maintenance cannot last as long as the galvanized steel frame would.
7.A greenhouse that is easy to maintain.
Avoid purchasing a greenhouse kit that requires a high level of maintenance. The purpose of growing plants in a greenhouse is to reduce stress both in the plants and the grower as well. When the greenhouse requires more maintenance than the plants grown in it, the whole purpose of using the system is then defeated. Go for a low-maintenance greenhouse kit with materials that do not scratch easily or are susceptible to pest attacks. Ensure that you find out about the greenhouse life span, its maintenance cost and also the replacement cost of the greenhouse. And in addition to that, consider whether or not the greenhouse has UV coating or insulation that protects it against severe sunlight.
There are many options available when it comes to selecting a greenhouse but for whichever purpose you are setting up your greenhouse gardening, your greenhouse should be able to grow your plants faster, better and healthier. Choose a greenhouse that suits your purpose and goes for one that makes doing that easy for you. When choosing the right greenhouse, you may also want to consider the following: the cost of purchase, the longevity of the greenhouse, the strength of the framework, how resistant it is against the wind, and the available light. Popularly used materials for greenhouse include; galvanized steel, untreated wood, aluminum, glass, fiberglass, etc. Each of these materials has its pros and cons, for example, Aluminum is easily maintained while fiberglass has good longevity.
It is also interesting to know that there are different classifications of greenhouse in existence, and in most cases, there are two ways of setting the structures up. The first way is called the attached greenhouse and the other way is called the freestanding greenhouse.
Attached greenhouses are usually attached to a building and this type does not necessarily consume building materials. Common issues being faced with attached greenhouses include; maintaining the right temperature and the light meant for the plants in the greenhouse usually gets interrupted by the building because of the shade it provides. The attached greenhouses are of two types; the ‘Even span’ shaped and the ‘Lean-to’ shaped attached greenhouse. The ‘Even span’ shaped type usually have more space to grow plants but the cost of maintenance is higher compared to the ‘Lean-to’ shaped type. The ‘Lean-to’ shaped is quite cheap and easy to heat up during extremely cold weather. But as earlier stated, the building provides shade which affects the plants in attached greenhouses. This is experienced in both the ‘lean-to’ and the even span type.
Freestanding greenhouses are structures separated from the building, they are also of two types just like the attached greenhouses; ‘Even span’ and the ‘Lean-to’ shaped type. The major difference between the two types is that the rafters in ‘Even span’ are even while in the ‘Lean-to’ type, they are not even. Also, due to insufficient space and the structure of the ‘Lean-to’ type, it is easier to work in the ‘Even span’ type freestanding greenhouses.
With that said, the greenhouse can be classified based on the structure, construction type, and also covering material.
1.Classification of greenhouses based on the structure
Under this classification, we have the following types of greenhouses:
- Even Span greenhouse structure
- The uneven Span greenhouse structure
- Lean-to greenhouse structure
- Sawtooth type greenhouse structure
- Quonset greenhouse structure
- Ridge and furrow greenhouse structure
- Interlocking ridges and furrow greenhouse structure
- Ground to ground greenhouse structure
2.Classification of greenhouses based on construction
- Greenhouses with wooden frame
- Greenhouses with metal frame
- Greenhouses with Pipe frame
- Greenhouses with truss frame
3.Classification of greenhouses based on covering material
- Greenhouses with fiberglass material
- Greenhouses with glass glazing material
- Those with Plastic material
Another classification of the greenhouse structure is the Window mounted Greenhouse structure. In this particular structure, a small greenhouse unit which can contain about two to three shelves is attached to a window (usually the south side). The shelves are used to grow the plants although only a few plants can be grown in this type of greenhouse. Other variations of the greenhouse structure include; Cold house, Pit greenhouses, Hoop greenhouses, etc. and the greenhouse type may also be classified based on their cost (High, Average, and Low). Whichever type of greenhouse kit you are going for; all you have to do is to ensure that it suits your purpose.