Get growing in a greenhouse

Greenhouses allow the gardener in you to enjoy growing vegetables, herbs and flowers all year long. While many people consider a backyard greenhouse to be a luxury, they can actually be affordable with greenhouse kits. They can even save you money in the long run, especially if you often buy full-grown vegetables, herbs and flowers, or even potted vegetables and flowers. Growing a plant from seeds is much more cost effective.

Proper cultivation can require some greenhouse supplies, including containers, compost, growing aids, hand tools, pest control products and a watering can or hose. Therefore, it's important to consider the storage of all these materials, as well as the plants you intend to grow, when planning the size and structure of your backyard greenhouse. Additionally, you'll want to plot out where you want your greenhouse to sit — most greenhouses (especially those built from kits) require a firm, level surface, and all greenhouses need maximum sunlight to work.

Greenhouse Kit

Some consumers choose to buy a greenhouse kit, which is an unassembled greenhouse they put together themselves. Greenhouses created from kits are less expensive than professionally built greenhouses for a variety of reasons, including the use of plastic instead of glass.

Most kits do not include a base, but one can be created easily with landscape timber or plastic. The wood is obviously cheaper, but plastic is more insect and moisture resistant. Some greenhouse owners use concrete, which can be a fine base if combined with adequate drainage. Your greenhouse plans should include information on how to choose a base and how attach it to the rest of the structure.

If you are attaching your greenhouse to an existing building, like your home or shed, consider when and how much the structure will be shaded. While all-day sunlight is best, most plants can survive as long as they have strong morning sunlight, meaning that south, southeast and east (in that order) are the best locations for the greenhouse.

Mini Greenhouse

If you're not sure you're ready to invest lots of time and money into a greenhouse, a mini greenhouse may be the perfect solution. These greenhouses are smaller than a full greenhouse, so some gardeners find it's also easier to place them to get full sun, or at least morning and afternoon sun.

Some mini greenhouses are also considered portable greenhouses, meaning you can move them between properties. Keep in mind that mini greenhouses offer protection to your plants but won't be able to ward off frost or prolonged chills like a full greenhouse can.

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