Greenhouse is a mean to take your gardening hobby to the next level. Yes, it’s true. Suppose, you have a garden at the backyard, with it you can sustain your gardening hobby only for few months or for a particular time of the year. There are some plants which don’t last in the cold winter. But by setting up a greenhouse you can create optimum temperature for the plants to sustain and have the benefits of fresh vegetables all round the year. Apart from growing exotic plants you can even start a greenhouse business too. Even if you are not up for a business but having a greenhouse will boost up your gardening passion tremendously.
So if you are a hobbyist gardener or a serious gardener, you should read through this article to get a better an insight about various types of greenhouses, how to set up and how to maintain to get the best results.
Greenhouse is basically a building to grow plants all round the year. Mainly, these buildings are made of transparent material like glass or plastic which impedes the absorbed heat to escape. As the structure is made of transparent materials so sunlight can easily pass through the walls and roof but it can’t go out of it. As a result the temperature inside the greenhouse rise and this phenomenon is known as ‘Greenhouse Effect’.
A greenhouse is able to protect your plants from excess heat or cold and pests. Moreover, it is ideal to grow certain types of vegetables, fruits and plants all round the year. Now, there are various types of greenhouses. We will take a look at some of these.
According to the structure of the greenhouse we can divide them in roughly 8 types.
Types of Greenhouse
A-frame - A-frame is one of the most popular greenhouse structures. It is really popular because of its simple straight forward design and the minimization of materials.
Gothic Arch - It has a semicircular frame and the frame is covered by plastic sheeting. Use of plastic sheeting reduces the costs effectively. Moreover, the circular frame helps to shed water or snow from the exterior of the greenhouse.
Hoop House - The shape of hoops is made from aluminum pipes or PVC pipes and the outer layer is covered by polymer plastic. This inexpensive design is very easy to build even in small land units.
Post and Rafter Greenhouse - This greenhouse structure is another popular structure which is made of embedded posts and rafters. Though the design is pretty simple but the whole structure is quite strong and it makes use of maximum space available.
Attached Greenhouse - In this structure the greenhouse shares a wall with your residence. Ideally you should build greenhouse on side of the home with southern exposure. This reduces the total cost of setting up a greenhouse but maintaining a temperature can become a problem in this type of greenhouse.
Window Greenhouse - These garden windows can project outwards and create a set of shelves and you can grow herbs and small plants in them. Basically window greenhouse gives you the opportunity to replace your flat window and make a heaven in your home.
Cold frame - Cold frame is the simplest and cheapest greenhouse structure still now. it just covers up your garden with glass or plastic to protect your plants from excessive cold or heat. It is actually a DIY work; all you need is some glass and a bottomless box.
Window Farm - It lets you use any of your windows as a vertical, indoor garden. It is actually a vertical hydroponic farming. So it will require a bit more maintenance than normal greenhouses.
You can take some small steps to improve the overall efficiency of your greenhouse. You can easily take these steps without spending a lot of time or bucks.
Install a heater with thermostat - It would help you to maintain an optimum temperature to provide consistent heat even in the cold winters.
Install fans - Installing fans in the ceiling of the greenhouse would help the airflow as well as the heat flow. You should keep the fan blades dirt and dust free as it can improve the greenhouse’s efficiency by 10%-15%.
Install Lighting - Sometimes seeds and saplings need more light than developed plants. So installing lights over the plants can give them extra energy in the extra cold months.
Seal the leaks - Sometimes there can be leakages around the fans or anywhere else. You should take proper steps to seal those leakages as it will help to reduce the heat loss.
Install a humidifier - Well, that’s not a necessary step. Some plants grow significantly in higher humidity. So you may set up a humidifier if you want but it’s not that necessary.
Harbor Freight has various types of green house kits. First, you should decide how much space you have to set up the greenhouse and for what purpose you will use it. Deciding those factors will help you to choose a suitable greenhouse kit. Two of the most popular Harbor Freight Green house kits are 6 ft. * 8 ft. greenhouse and 10 ft. * 12 ft. greenhouse (with 4 vents).
6 ft. * 8 ft. Greenhouse - The frame is durable and all weather friendly as it is made of aluminum and the sliding door ensures easy access. It has UV coated polycarbonate panels which helps in sunlight diffusing and the roof vent helps to control in house climate of the greenhouse. Overall, it is ideal to set up in the back yard and mostly suitable for hobbyist gardeners and flower devotees.
10 ft. * 12 ft. Greenhouse - It has double extruded aluminum frames and double sliding door which makes it more durable and user friendly. It is quite large in size as compared to the previous one so On the roof there are four vents to control the temperature properly. It provides an extra stability as it has a metal foundation base.
You Can Find More Tools At The Harbor Freight Website
In the previous sections we have already discussed how you can improve the effectiveness of your greenhouse. But in this section we will precisely discuss the various hacks to get the best out of Harbor Freight Greenhouses.
Before getting into detailed instructions, there are some points which you should keep in mind. After receiving the greenhouse, check if there are some missing parts. Next, you should buy some UV protected high quality plastic films because a lot of customers have complained about the deterioration of the polycarbonate plastic panels. So buying some high quality plastic films will help you in the long run.
Setting up a greenhouse consists of several steps. We will discuss all these steps in brief.
Constructing the Base - Generally the greenhouse kit comes with a steel base which is to be place at the ground. But to add some extra stability you can lay a wooden foundation on the ground and mount it up with the steel base. Setting up the foundation properly will help to keep the base intact for years. You should apply some silicone caulk between the base and wooden frame; it will keep the rain water from seeping in.
Building the Support Structure - Screw a 2*4 inside each corner of the base and make sure that these 2*4’s are vertical in each plane. Now to assemble the aluminum structure, fasten the aluminum pieces at various points of the 2*4 bench structure. Once you are done with aluminum framework you can attach the four aluminum bases permanently. Now with a saber saw or reciprocating saw you can cut through the aluminum base in the front to make a doorway section.
Cover the Polycarbonate Panels with UV Films - As already said it’s better to cover up the polycarbonate panels with UV protected plastic films to avoid deterioration of those panels in the coming years. First, you should cut the plastic films as of the exact same size as the panels. Then, peel off the plastic covering on the panels. Clamp the UV films with those panels. Apply foil tapes firmly on all sides of the polycarbonate panels.
Finish the Project - Now you will have to do some little work to finish the whole setting up process. First, add some hinges to the door and perfectly position the door in the aluminum door framework and clamp it in its place. Finally bolt a latch to the aluminum framework. Last but not the least; look for if there are any voids or leakages. That’s a really important step which can increase your greenhouse’s efficiency drastically. Look for gaps in the doorway, near the panels or at the time of installing fans and you can cover these gaps with UV films.