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What are the Main Types of Greenhouses?

There are many types of greenhouses for gardeners and farmers to use, ranging from the simple to the very complex.

Growing food in greenhouses has become a popular way to grow organic vegetables locally and on individual property.

Using greenhouses is an environmentally friendly way to increase productivity and lengthen the growing season of food. This can help to reduce waste and keep resources in a local market or reduce the food expense for families.

There are many types of greenhouses, from the simple to the elaborate; each type of greenhouse serves a particular need.

How to Make an Inexpensive Greenhouses

The least expensive type of greenhouse is a homemade type of greenhouse used to cover one or more rows of garden plants. This type of greenhouse can be built in around an hour, using PVC pipes and heavy-duty plastic sheeting.

Anchoring an arch of the PVC pipes along either side of the garden and stretching the plastic across it creates a protected and controlled environment that can help extend the growing period of plants very slightly. This type of greenhouse is less efficient than a greenhouse building, but it is a practical budget solution.


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Greenhouse Kits

Greenhouse kits are more traditional greenhouse buildings that can be purchased from suppliers and built in a backyard. They can be ordered to a certain size specification or purchased to fit in a particular area. Greenhouse kits are more expensive than PVC greenhouses but are likely to last longer and be more effective.

These greenhouse kits can be used to set up a growing system similar to those found in larger greenhouses. Tables, planters, and ventilation systems are important parts of these greenhouse kits. Planting in a greenhouse kit building requires room enough to move around, water the plants and harvest vegetables once they are produced.

A high-quality greenhouse kit can help extend the growing season of a small plot of vegetables by increasing the temperature and protecting the plants from external changes. Check greenhouse kits regularly for sealant cracks or other issues.

image - Many Vegetables can be Grown in Greenhouses
Many Vegetables can be Grown in Greenhouses

How to Build a Greenhouse

A custom-built or professionally designed greenhouse is one of the most expensive greenhouse structures. These can range from thousands of dollars in price to more than ten thousand dollars, depending on the size, quality of material, labor and ventilation systems used.

Despite the cost, however, a professionally built greenhouse is more likely to remain in working condition for a longer period of time.

A serious gardener or vegetable farmer should consider a well-built greenhouse an investment for future crops. These types of greenhouses can dramatically extend the growing season of vegetables; in greenhouses with well-controlled heat and humidity, the growing season can be extended all the way through the winter, which makes the greenhouse much more profitable.

These types of greenhouses are usually larger and provide much more room for growing multiple types of vegetables over a longer period of time. Sprinkler or root watering systems reduce the need for watering, and heat and humidity sensors can help keep track of the internal conditions of the building.

However, mold and mildew thrive in moist places, and it is important to check all greenhouses regularly for these and other pests.

What are Permaculture Greenhouses?

Permaculture greenhouses are very sustainable greenhouses because they use both vertical and horizontal space.

Permaculture is a concept that incorporates many factors of planting, and permaculture farmers base their designs around forests and natural settings. Each plant serves multiple purposes, whether it is fixing nitrogen in the soil and producing food or attracting beneficial insects and replacing weeds and other harmful plants.

Permaculture growing creates richer and healthier soil, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. Additionally, by utilizing all available space, permaculture greenhouses can produce a great deal of vegetables.

What is a Hydroponic Greenhouse?

Hydroponics is a type of growth in which ponds or moving water are combined with the growing of plants, such as tomatoes and cotton, which can grow without soil. Hydroponic greenhouses often include fish, as well, since fish help eat harmful insects and bacteria in the water.

Both hydroponic and permaculture greenhouses require some extra work on the part of a farmer to set up. However, once built, hydroponics and permaculture greenhouses are largely self-sustaining, requiring only occasional maintenance on the part of the farmer.

Greenhouses can range from the simple to the complex; each type has its own costs and benefits. Choosing to build a greenhouse in order to increase vegetable production is a method of controlling the environment and conditions in which food is grown, as well as reducing global demand for food. Greenhouses, despite their cost, have long-term benefits.

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