It’s not an exaggeration to say that almost all serious gardeners dream of adding the ultimate garden tool to their collection – the backyard greenhouse. These home horticulturalists know that there are many great reasons to have your own greenhouse, but there is also a learning curve when it comes to using the greenhouse most effectively and maximizing its efficiency.
If you’ve recently invested in one of these growing season-extending landscape structures or you’re still just in the building planning phases, it’s important to learn ways to make your greenhouse as efficient as possible and avoid common mistakes new greenhouse gardeners make. Today’s post covers seven big things you need to consider.
The ability to vent excess heat should be integrated into your greenhouse’s structure. If too much heat is allowed to remain inside your greenhouse during hot, sunny weather, even warmth-loving tropical plants can be damaged.
Because hot air rises, the ability to ventilate is generally achieved by building easy-to-open panels in the greenhouse roof. Traditionally, these have been manually controlled, but remembering to open and close the vents as the weather changes can be a daily chore that is easily forgotten. Optimized ventilation relies on automated systems triggered by temperature changes inside your greenhouse to open and close vents mechanically, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Eliminate Air Leaks
While adequate ventilation in your greenhouse is critical to the health of your plants, you need to be able to control that ventilation. Air leaks in your greenhouse, which could be caused by damaged panels or gaps around the door, for instance, should be repaired and sealed. In colder weather, air leaks can increase your need for supplemental heating by allowing chilly drafts to reduce your greenhouse’s natural heat retention ability. That wastes energy and adds unnecessary cost to your year-round gardening hobby.
Our Backyard Unlimited greenhouses are designed to seal tightly when vents and doors are closed, so building with us will offer peace of mind our competitors can’t offer. Our structures are optimized for use in our sunny and milder California climate, so you can grow and ripen tomatoes, start seedlings, and even protect many tender tropical plants right through the winter with no supplemental heating required.
Add a Shade Cloth
Also called energy or conserving curtains, shade cloth creates sun protection for your plants in sunny conditions. You can purchase commercially-made shade cloth from garden suppliers, but it can be a bit expensive. Many backyard greenhouse owners suggest trying your hand at making your own shade cloth for less.
Minimize Wind Exposure
Placing your backyard greenhouse in a location on your property that is protected from the wind helps ensure that heat isn’t lost through over-venting.
Already have a greenhouse and discovered that it tends to get pummeled by the wind in certain seasons? You can correct this issue by planting natural windbreaks, like evergreen trees or dense shrubs, between your greenhouse and prevailing winds, or install fencing in strategic locations.
Install a Thermostat or Full Automation
As we already touched on, automating your greenhouse’s ventilation functionality can mean the difference between life and death for tender plants. Heat-activated/thermostat-controlled vent openers offer worry-free ventilation even when you are not at home, but that’s not all…
Don’t forget to add a fan
Among our greenhouse convenience and climate control add-on features, we offer a solar-powered fan option to provide horizontal airflow within the growing space. These fans are extremely important to your overall ventilation plan “to improve the uniformity of temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide, while using a minimal amount of energy,” according to greenhouse gardening experts.
Consider Adding Insulation to Retain Heat
While usually not necessary in our California climate, it’s possible that you may wish to add insulation to your greenhouse’s foundation and/or walls if you feel the structure is not retaining heat as well as you expect. This can be done in a number of ways, but one of the best things you can do to ensure your greenhouse is retaining heat is to change out the material in the greenhouse panels themselves.
Here at Backyard Unlimited, our greenhouses are made with 8mm Twin-Wall polycarbonate greenhouse material, which is nearly shatterproof and 12-times lighter than glass. If your greenhouse was constructed with inferior material, swapping that out for something more like what we use, even just in the roof of your structure, could increase heat retention substantially.
Install Interior Organization Elements to Maximize Growing Space
Are your greenhouse plants placed directly on the ground inside your structure? Installing plant tables, a potting bench, shelving, or even hooks to hang baskets from roof framing helps you fit more plants within the same space (and what gardener doesn’t want MORE plants?)!
Don’t Yet Own a Backyard Greenhouse? Backyard Unlimited is Here to Build Yours!
With their solid and genuinely maintenance-free construction, our Backyard Unlimited greenhouses provide outstanding value vs. other backyard greenhouse options. In addition to our strong and well-insulating 8mm Twin-Wall polycarbonate greenhouse material, our greenhouses are made with superior framing materials.
Our greenhouses feature the same 30-year warranted pressure-treated foundations and 50-year warranted composite trim as our quality, Amish-made sheds. Durable and “playground safe,” (containing no chromated copper arsenate (CCA) in the wood treatment), pressure-treated 2×4 wall and roof framing complete the outstanding build quality.
If your property is located nearly anywhere in the great state of California, we’re ready to help you make your backyard greenhouse dreams a reality. Get in touch with us today to request a quote.