Guide to Choosing The Best Greenhouse
Cold Frame – Mini greenhouses designed to be set directly on a garden bed for direct seed germination.
(click here to see our selection) or print pictures of shed
Started Greenhouses – Small, medium size greenhouses for propagating seeds and started plants which will be transported outdoors to garden beds. (click here to see our selection)
Grower Greenhouses – Larger, often with adjustable shelving for growing crops full-term indoors under shelter. These all purpose greenhouses come with diffused or semi-diffused coverings for propagating seeds to harvesting crops and preparing them for storage.
Hot – Temperature range is 65-70 degrees or higher, used to grow tropical plants.
Warm – Temperature range is 50-55 degrees, used for growing plants normally grown in flower or vegetable gardens.
Cool – Temperature range is in the 40’s, used for germinating seeds and raising your own starter plants.
Important Factors to be Considered:
Ventilation –There needs to be sufficient air flow, overheating causes plant failure. Choices are manual vents, solar powered louvers, exhaust fans.
Insulation – Climate conditions in your region will dictate the amount of insulation that is required. Foundation walls and roofs can be insulated inexpensively using bubble wrap.
- Clear – Delivers direct light, used for germinating seeds and growing starters which will be transplanted outdoors.
- Opaque – Diffused light, used for growing plants to maturity in your greenhouse. The benefit is that is reaches your plants from many angles.
- Dual Use – Provides the benefits of both clear and diffused panel.
UV Protection – Greenhouse framework and glazing should be UV treated and certified to prevent breakdown of the plastic from the sunlight.
Durability – Covering materials need to resist breakage from hazards associated with weather conditions in your region.
Customizable – Shallow shelves and taller shelf spacing to accommodate your greenhouse gardening plan.
Materials Used For Glazing/Covering:
Tempered Glass – Strong, impact resistant, withstands expansion and contraction during temperature changes, more durable, scratch resistant and is clear, and provides no diffusion.
Fiberglass – Provides well-diffused light, retains heat more efficiently then glass. Surface becomes etched and yellowed, and dirt and debris can collect in the valleys.
Polyethylene Film – UV treated and commonly used to cover large commercial greenhouses, inexpensive and easily to maintain, translucent which provides a semi-diffused lights and retains heat well. Lasts for 3-5 years, subject to stretching and sagging in windy locations.
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Twin-Walled Polyethylene – More rigid then polyethylene film, excellent insulation by the internal air space that is created by the 2 ply inner walls, infused with UV inhibitors an provides diffused light while letting in 75% direct light.
Polycarbonate – Durable and lightweight, UV treated, available in different thicknesses, provides the clarity of glass but not as strong or scratch resistant. Lifespan of 15 years or more in most regions.
Twin-Walled Polycarbonate – Multiple walled and popular because of internal air spaces which provide added strength and excellent insulating values, provides diffused light.
Triple-Walled Polycarbonate – Superior strength and heat retention, good In cold climates.
Aluminum – Strong, lightweight frame that will not rust, most widely used, has long life span, not an insulated material so there will be some hat loss.
Steel – Extremely strong, long lasting, heavy and stable in windy conditions. The weight makes transporting and assembling more difficult, used for large commercial greenhouses.
Plastic Resin – Less expensive then aluminum, used for smaller greenhouses because it lacks the strength of the metal frames.
Wood – Uses as do-it-yourself greenhouses, sufficient strength and durability but susceptible to rot.
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