Building a Greenhouse Lets You Flex Your Green Thumb

Gardening can be a fun and useful hobby during the spring and summer months. However, depending on where you live, your growing season may only be a couple months long. Since many fruits and vegetables take several months to go from seed to plate, you may very well run out of warm weather before your harvest is ready to be picked. If you’ve ever forlornly stared at your tiny broccoli plants as they sit unharvested in a light dusting of snow, building a greenhouse may be the perfect project for you to tackle this spring.

Benefits of Building a Greenhouse

A greenhouse can be a great solution to a short growing season. It also allows gardeners to start more plants from seed rather than buying baby plants at the nursery. This can make gardening a much more inexpensive hobby and allow you to increase the number of varieties you can plant. If you build a decent-sized greenhouse, you’ll also have a nice space you can designate for garden storage. From potting soil to planters, gardening supplies usually take up quite a bit of room. Before tackling your greenhouse project, however, there are a few key issues to keep in mind.

  • Choosing the Right Space: Before you start building, you’ll need a level space for your greenhouse. Make sure you orient the building to achieve maximum sun exposure.
  • Attached or Free-Standing: Greenhouses can be attached to the side of your home or be a completely free-standing building. The benefits of an attached greenhouse include the ease of adding heat, water and electricity to your greenhouse. However, a project of this nature may be more than your average homeowner is able to tackle.
  • Big or Small: You need to decide how big or small you want your greenhouse to be. A large greenhouse will provide ample space for both plants and storage, but it will most likely be a permanent structure. A smaller greenhouse has more limitations but can be built as a temporary structure and assembled and disassembled as needed.

Maintaining Your Greenhouse

Maintaining your greenhouse involves taking care of the building itself, as well as the plants inside. Greenhouse plants don’t magically grow themselves! Make sure to prune, water and fertilize your plants regularly. In between seasons, you should scrub down your shelves and sweep away debris to help prevent the spread of plant diseases. Thoroughly inspect the building itself regularly to make sure your greenhouse is structurally sound. Check out the UMass Amherst agricultural extension for full details on how to clean your new greenhouse.

Greenhouse Building Materials

When building your greenhouse, the biggest question you may have is about building materials. Obviously, greenhouses are made of a lot of translucent material in order to let in sunlight. Depending on your budget and other building preferences, you can go with glass or plastic sheeting. Check out for a wide range of ideas to get started building. Reclaimed materials like old doors, windows and plywood are a great way to save money on your new greenhouse.

Greenhouse Designs

If you decide you want to DIY your greenhouse rather than hire a professional to build it, there are many greenhouse designs online to choose from. If you don’t want to start your greenhouse from scratch, an easier way to build one is to buy a greenhouse kit. You’ll find a wide selection of ready-to-assemble greenhouse kits at most major lawn and garden retailers.

Building a greenhouse is a great way to extend your growing season — it just requires a bit of planning and preparation before you get started.

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