Knowing how to buy a greenhouse is similar to buying a new car: it all depends on what you’re using it for.
Actually, that analogy may be a bit of a stretch. But there’s some truth to it. Buying a greenhouse is entirely dependent on both your personal needs, your space, your budget, your environment and most importantly, how and when you’re going to be using it. The only difference is that for many of us, a car is a necessity. A greenhouse is a luxury. A luxury that many times can turn out to be far more rewarding than your standard car.
Unlike a car, many growers choose to build a greenhouse from scratch. But most newcomers aren’t necessarily going to be master craftsmen. A greenhouse is a substantial investment. Not just of money, but of time, energy and care. And if you’re looking to buy a greenhouse, you want to be absolutely certain that you’re buying the one that’s right for you. Because just like your personal needs, no two are alike.
How Green Is Your Thumb?
This is probably one of the most fundamental questions to be aware of on how to buy a greenhouse for your situation. What level of a grower are you? Are you just starting out growing your own food and plants? Are you at the stage where you have some experience? Or are you looking to take that experience to the next level and grow professionally?
If you’re one of the first two, you’re not going to necessarily need a lot of space—at least not yet. And you don’t necessarily need the most expensive state of the art greenhouse, either. But you will need something durable, no matter what your climate is. We always like to recommend RIGA as a reliable source for early and mid level enthusiasts, but even professional growers will find them highly dependable. But if you’re just starting out growing, do yourself a favor and don’t pick the cheapest model you can find. Once you start, you’ll find it highly addictive and you want to buy a greenhouse that will last you years (if not decades) to come.
How Will The Weather Affect Your Greenhouse?
We don’t just mean the temperatures, but your growing zone as well. If the effects of your climate affect your outside crops, they’re going to affect greenhouse crops as well. A greenhouse doesn’t necessarily mean full immunity from rain, snow, heat or wind. One thing you may want to keep in mind is that colder regions of the country may require additional heating in your greenhouse to ensure your crop survives the winter months.
We’ve found that Helios makes an exceptionally sturdy greenhouse for smaller backyards in the wintertime, while larger spaces could do well with Janssens as a manufacturer. But the opposite holds true for those of you in areas of much higher temperatures. Your greenhouse should be adequately ventilated or at the very least provide enough shade to grow safely in, whether you’re in humid or dry heat. Once again, we like to recommend RIGA as a manufacturer for both smaller sized plots as well as larger ones.
Starter Or A Grower Greenhouse?
While size can be the most obvious factor when determining how to buy a greenhouse whether you’re raising seedlings or growing a crop to full bloom, materials count for a lot. If you’re growing year-round, you’re going to need something that’s highly insulated and very tightly sealed.
Glass panes always work best in this case, and Helios has some great models for annual growers. But if you’re just starting a crop from scratch, you’re going to want what’s known as a “cold frame.” In which case, we like to recommend the BioStar greenhouses from Juwel. Keep in mind the hardiness of your crops in both instances. Heat sensitive plants will require extra ventilation and shade, while sturdier, annual plants don’t necessarily need a greenhouse with as much integrity.
Will Style Matter For You?
Your father’s greenhouse—that odd shaped eyesore in the backyard—may be a thing of the past. But the style of your greenhouse will depend as much on the climate you’re in as it does your personal taste
For people in relatively temperate climates, there’s two types to consider: a Gothic, or house, style and a Quonset, or round, style greenhouse. These are both the same types you’ll find in large scale commercial operations, but they’re just as common with small growers as well. Both are ideal for year round plants, but both can also take up a fair amount of space. Smaller plants or starter crops can survive well enough with both, but if you’re only looking to yield a small batch, you’ll find a cold frame can suit your needs just as well—if not better.
Quonsets can be perfectly adequate for snowy or rainy seasons, but probably the best style you can get is a Victorian. Victorians may look like they’re designed purely for their beauty (and they are a sight to behold!) but they’re also designed for extra protection from the elements due to their ornate shape. But again, Victorians are also going to take up a significantly larger amount of space and are definitely on the pricier end of greenhouses.
Do You Want Greenhouse Accessories?
When learning how to buy a greenhouse for your ideal gardening situation it doesn’t just mean a few planter beds and the actual structure itself are all that is needed. You’re definitely going to need supplementary accessories, but which accessories will you actually need? That largely depends on both your size, plant type and your climate. Some of the more commonly found greenhouse accessories include:
Heaters aren’t just for colder times of the year. Certain types of plants and crops need a consistently warm environment to thrive. While the size of your heater can depend on the size of your greenhouse, portable models have the advantage of being able to be used exactly when you need them instead of taking up otherwise valuable growing space.
While exhaust fans are an absolute necessity for hot environments, you may find that even in temperate climates, your greenhouse can benefit from a constant circulation of oxygen; particularly with more delicate plants.
There’s quite a few plants which need constant light; and those of you in more damp and overcast areas like the Pacific Northwest will find your greenhouse set up can benefit from solar lighting no matter what your crop is.
Maximum growth needs maximum light, particularly during the winter season. And grow lights are one of the most convenient sources to ensure a crop’s year round survival.
Plant hooks help optimize your greenhouse by adding more space for hanging plants. These hooks can be easily screwed into the metal or wood greenhouse with piloting a drill hole first to prevent cracking the material.