Saturday, October 2, 2010

Essentials of a Solar Greenhouse

Plant breeding and plant production is a very productive hobby and livelihood. It is good way to earn a living by producing high-valued crops. It is also a good way of contributing to the environment. The best way to sustain this endeavor is to get a solar greenhouse. Read on to learn the basics of the solar greenhouse.

What Is a Solar Greenhouse?

The very purpose of any greenhouse is to collect solar energy whenever the sun shining high. However, solar greenhouses serve a more specific purpose. It is able to do more than collect the solar energy. The solar greenhouse is able to store heat that can be used during nighttime, cloudy days or the cold season. It provides adequate heat that the plants will need for their growth even during the night time or the cold seasons.

The good thing about solar greenhouses is that there are choices to choose from and to suit the needs of the owner.

They can stand alone. This is very ideal for big production greenhouses. The freestanding ones are ideal for commercial production. These are used to produce ornamentals or vegetables. They have two primary designs, the shed type and the Quonset type.

The shed-type has a long axis running from the east to the west. It has a south-facing wall glazed to collect maximum amount of the energy from the sun. The north-facing wall on the other hand is very much insulated to avoid heat loss. These features are what contrast a solar greenhouse from the ordinary ones.

The Quonset type can sometimes look like an underground pit. This is a low-cost greenhouse. It has a Quonset-shaped frame and looks like a tunnel. It has a layer or two of plastic film. This can save as much as 40% of the heating fuel.

They can also be merely attached to the greenhouses, very ideal for backyard use. The attached solar greenhouses are structures that form some sort of a room protruding from a house. This is a good space for transplants or herbs.

Passive or Active

The solar greenhouse is classified into two. It can be the passive solar greenhouse or the active. These two makes use of different resources, but still serve a same purpose.

The Passive Solar Greenhouse

In some places, where colder seasons tend to endure longer, there may be a need to resort to passive solar greenhouse, using gas or electric heating system. This is the only way to protect the plants from getting too much cold. This is very ideal for growers as it can still give way to so much productivity despite the conditions. The use of heating systems for greenhouses to be cost-effective is best utilized if there are high-value crops to be produced.

The Active Solar Greenhouse

The active solar greenhouse makes use of supplemental energy. It transfers the solar heated air from the storage area to the other parts of the greenhouse.

Designing a Solar Greenhouse

Most would claim that managing and maintaining an ordinary greenhouse does not differ much with the solar greenhouse. However, there are a number of ways that they differ. These are significant distinctions.

Solar greenhouses, unlike the ordinary ones, have oriented glazing to get utmost solar heat, even during winter. Its materials are designed to minimize loss of heat. It uses heat storing materials. It also has insulation especially useful when there is no sunlight. The solar greenhouse also depends heavily on natural ventilation for cooling during summer.

Solar Heat Storage

This is one main feature in designing a solar greenhouse. To remain warm even during cool nights, there must be sufficient amount of solar heat stored. One common method used to store this energy is to put rocks or concrete directly receiving the sunlight to absorb the heat.

Cinder block walls at the north side of a greenhouse are also used as good heat storage. Dark-colored ceramic floorings can also be used to store the heat. Any wall or flooring not used for heat absorption is supposed to be colored light. This should be designed to reflect the heat and light and distribute it to the plants.

The management of a greenhouse can also determine the amount of heat stored. A greenhouse that is full of plants and structures can store heat easier compared to an empty one. Composts can also complement the heat storage goal as they help produce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the microorganisms in the compost also contribute to the increase in plant production.

Some would rely on any structure that would resemble a greenhouse to accommodate the plants. However, to be efficient and cost-effective, aim for the optimum setting in your solar greenhouse.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top Tips To Find The Best Greenhouse For Sale

After you research the best greenhouse for sale, then guy it, there is still the problem of builing it. Building your own small greenhouse can be a very enjoyable and educational experience as well as economical especially when you are clever with tolls.

Select a well-drained and level lot or ground for your greenhouse. If you will be using it mainly during the summer for propagation of plants, then you can situate it in a partially shaded area to reduce heat buildup.

The “north side” of your yard, with a big deciduous tree is an ideal location. If there is no partly or moderately shaded area available, you can make use of a white plastic or shade cloth for cover so as to regulate the extent of sunlight that reaches your greenhouse interior.

If you will be using the greenhouse for beginning transplants or that you will be growing plants till they mature, your greenhouse should be put up in an area will it will have the highest sun exposure. Likewise, it must be situated where there is good air drainage; do not construct your greenhouse in low areas which are surrounded by buildings or woods. Consider also convenient water access and electricity.

No matter what kind and greenhouse dimensions you choose, take into consideration the time that you will have for managing the system.

Never be overly ambitious, as there are several new owners of a greenhouse that often realize they can not spend sufficient time as they had believed they would. However, it is not often true that a greenhouse requires continuous attention.

The greenhouse environment may be sustained with very minimal maintenance using automated controls that operates the ventilation, heating, humidity, artificial lighting and watering, should there be no one to look after it. A hobbyist must take into consideration installing automatic control system and begin with plants that are easy to care.

There are many prefabricated greenhouses available in the market that you can purchase, or your greenhouse maybe built out of very simple frames, though make sure that only certified plumbers and electricians must install your automatic systems.

Kits are widely available in various prices, materials and styles, but if you are an eager “do-it-yourselfer”, your small greenhouse may be affordably constructed for a comparatively small amount of cash. Lean-tos type of greenhouse can be built leaning against a garage or a house taking advantage of the existing wall, though one has to consider sitting space.

The major advantage when you choose to purchase a greenhouse kit, many details like how to deal with humidity, ventilation and leakage have been already dealt with and considered in the pattern. Someone who is constructing the greenhouse himself must consider all these so as to avoid problems that can result to untimely failure and plant loss. Here are tips to help you build and design your own small greenhouse.

1. Begin with an average design using materials that are easily available. Know your preferences. Attractive greenhouses may be constructed using recycled materials such as remilled wood, repurposed doors and window sashes.

2. Adapt to your area’s climate so as to make particular solutions that depends on your climate and location.

3. Plan a design that can use standard material sizes, most of which are available in “multiples of 4”.

4. Take into account your habits in gardening when planning the design. Growing vegetables is very different from growing vegetables.

5. You can set up timers and thermostats to regulate the precise heat or light needed.

6. Design and make a “back up” arrangement just in case of power failure or harsh weather conditions.

7. When you will be using wood, you can build the greenhouse from cedar, redwood or cypress, although regular wood treated and painted will also do. Make sure that you use wood that is pressure treated for framing, as it is an effective and economical.

8. Usually a greenhouse uses “glass-paned”, but polycarbonate plastic, fiberglass, plastic film and acrylic can be also used. Each of these materials has its disadvantages and advantages, so you need to research well to decide on one that is best for you.

9. Although permanent foundations are recommended to support the structure, flooring is really not necessary. Flooring poured with gravel up to a few inches deep will permit ample drainage. A flat stone or concrete walkway between seating will provides steady footing.

10. You greenhouse design should have enough room for tall plants and plants should only use half up to “two-thirds” of your greenhouse area and the rest is reserved for benches and your work area.

Have fun!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Greenhouses On The Move

Greenhouses are becoming more and more popular to those people with “green thumb.” Even home gardeners are considering having one for their garden for the benefits that it gives. Since full-sized, regular greenhouses can really be expensive and costly to maintain, it may be impractical for these small home gardeners to build one.

But do not fret! It is because there are new portable and mini greenhouses now available for one to purchase and conveniently place in their gardens. These portable greenhouses are ideal for those who want to start their growing season early in the spring and extend it during the fall. These are also best for overwintering crops and are inexpensive too.

Because these greenhouses are portable, they are light in weight and compact for easy setup, taking down and transporting. Most of these portable greenhouse kits can be set up in 30 minutes or even less. And because they are compact, they can easily be stored in any convenient place in the garage or closet when it is not yet time to use them.

What portable greenhouses do? Portable greenhouses, just like the traditional ones, trap heat coming from the sun during the day through its covering and keep the heat radiated by the soil during the night to keep the surroundings warm enough for the plants. When a portable greenhouse is closed, it also traps in moisture which helps reduce the frequency of watering the plants inside.

A portable greenhouse is ideal for early planting of seeds, protecting the tender plants from the cold climate, starting perennial seeds in summer, fast rooting because of the need to transplant, and growing different kinds of plants that are not commonly grown in the area. This can also be used to overwinter plants especially when heated.

Portable greenhouses becoming popular Gardeners are being continuously interested in these portable greenhouses and increase in sales of these products is evident. For one, these portables take no time to set up to get them going right away. Taking them down when it is not time to use them is also hassle-free. A greenhouse is not really needed to be up all year round especially for small-time plant growers. Thus, mini and portable greenhouses are ideal for their needs.

For first timers, portable greenhouse is also recommended since this will give them the feel of having a real greenhouse before they consider building a real, full-sized one. And these portables are also inexpensive and less costly to maintain. This allows for them to jump-start their gardening career without having to spend a lot of money to buy all those greenhouse supplies that are required for the big ones. Also, installation is significantly quicker and easier than permanent ones so no additional or advanced tools are required.

These portable greenhouses come in different shapes and sizes. It can be as little as a small tent that fits only 2 plant shelves. There are some that look like portable closets that are around 6 feet tall. And there are also bigger ones as tall as 7 to 8 feet and are designed like a dome. These big ones can fit up to 3 to 4 bigger shelves inside.

Gardening Tips Weather can really be unpredictable. So when a sudden cold snap occurs, burlap sacks filled with leaves can be thrown over the sash on the frame or covering during the night to prevent too much cold to get inside. Bales of straw or hay may also be stacked against the frame.

For extreme summer sunlight protection, some sort of shading can be used to prevent plant damage. Examples of covering that can be used as a shade are knitted shade covers, old bamboo blinds, and lath.

Plants inside the greenhouse should also be watered as early in the day as possible. This is to allow for quick drying of the soil before it gets dark. Improperly managed drainage and keeping the soil wet can pose problems later on and may not be a good gardening experience for beginners.

Whether you are a novice or is already an experienced gardener, having a portable greenhouse may be beneficial to your gardening needs. Being able to transport your greenhouse in a convenient and more strategic location is always possible with this portable version. Maintaining and taking proper care for this portable greenhouse is also not as costly and demanding than the permanent, full-sized ones.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Portable Greenhouse � An Excellent Alternative for Gardening

The portable greenhouse is an excellent alternative for garden enthusiasts to indulge in their favorite activity given a small space and budget. A portable greenhouse is a huge space saver that can help jump-start spring planting that can be continued until the fall. Compared to traditional greenhouse structures, the portable greenhouse is easy on the pocket. Assembly can be done in under an hour plus no tools are required to put together a portable greenhouse. When finished, a portable greenhouse can easily be taken apart and stored in a closet, garage or basement.

Like most greenhouse kits, a portable greenhouse is designed to have screened doors and screened vent opening that allow for optimal air distribution within the structure. The vents can be opened in order to let outside air inside the structure in preparation for transplanting the plants within to an outdoor environment. When the vents are closed, the portable greenhouse become a water proof structure that helps encourage and sustain humidity levels at a high rate that is favorable to the growth of plants.

The construction of a portable greenhouse is virtually indestructible as most commercial products make use of UV resistant material that is treated to protect it against rips or tears. The openings are fastened together using either Velcro snaps or zipper enclosure. Portable greenhouses that incorporate a zipper design can be joined together using a unique interlocking zipper-system that can create an extended handy hothouse to accommodate more gardening.

The most common materials used for the walls of a portable greenhouse are polycarbonate or polyethylene plastic while the roof and framing would be made of aluminum. The prices of portable greenhouses start at $ 250 wherein a $ 400 structure would be about five by eight in dimension.

Extending the Planting Season with a Portable Greenhouse

Garden enthusiasts interested in extending and protecting the life of their plants during winter will surely enjoy the benefits of a portable greenhouse. Wintertime is the ideal season to bring out a portable greenhouse. Garden buffs can easily put up the portable greenhouse in just a matter of minutes to maintain the freshness and moistness of plants. It is a convenient and transferable structure that can be set up. The structure is light enough to be carried from one location to another by at least two people without damaging it.

A portable greenhouse can also be used during other seasons like summertime to help maintain a steady growing environment for plants. In the fall, a portable greenhouse can be used to intensify sunlight exposure since it is around this time of year when the days become shorter.

A Portable Greenhouse vs. A Permanent Greenhouse

More and more garden enthusiasts are using portable greenhouses to suit their gardening needs. Mainly because portable greenhouses are less expensive compared to permanent structures. At the same time, not everyone has a spacious backyard that can accommodate a full-scale greenhouse.

Although the term permanent may bring to mind a sturdier construction compared to a portable greenhouse, many of the portable greenhouse structures sold in the market today are made of heavy-duty materials that can hold out in any season, rain or shine. In addition, the available sizes for a portable greenhouse are as small as 6 feet by 10 feet and can extend to a considerable size of 50 feet by 100 feet.

Types of Portable Greenhouse

Portable greenhouses are available in various styles to accommodate the particular demands of every garden enthusiast. A lean-to style portable greenhouse can be attached to the shed or garage of any home, which at the same time can serve as an extension for the house like a sunroom.

Miniature portable greenhouses are also available for gardeners who have very minimal space to accommodate a standard sized structure. These miniature structures are generally collapsible and are ideal for small plants like perennials and shrubs. Another version of a miniature greenhouse measures approximately 3 feet and 5 inches by 1 foot and 11 inches. This box-size portable greenhouse is ideal for vegetables and young plants during the early spring.

The basic greenhouse structure is also available as a portable greenhouse. This type of structure is still quite popular among garden enthusiasts who even though have ample space to set up a permanent greenhouse prefer using a portable structure that can easily be disassembled to free up the space for other activities.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mini Greenhouse Ideal for Small Areas

A good greenhouse need not be always big and spacious. Although those requirements are ideal for big plant growers and commercial greenhouses, those who only have a small area for a greenhouse can also have their own by building a mini version of a greenhouse.

Gardeners who are much into planting and growing crops but have a limited garden space have an option to build a mini greenhouse. This mini greenhouse can actually be placed anywhere such as on balconies, patios, backyards, and decks as the typical size is just around 6 square feet. Though small, it also provides the same benefits that the regular greenhouses do.

Mini greenhouses are also ideal for those are just beginners in the greenhouse technology. Before venturing into building a big one, it is best to learn how greenhouse works and know the different things needed to have an ideal growing condition for the plants. And this learning process for beginners can be done by starting with mini greenhouses.

A mini greenhouse can be used to start plant growth before the cold season in a particular area. Once the weather gets better and warmer, these healthy plants and crops planted inside the greenhouse can now be transplanted outside into the garden. This will allow for early harvesting of crops. A huge selection of seeds can also be planted in the greenhouse which makes planting a lot more fun for hobbyists and gardeners.

There are a good variety of herbs and lettuce that can be grown healthily and successfully in mini-greenhouses even for the whole year. Other delectable vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach, and kale can also be planted and grown inside the mini-greenhouse. These would make for a great bowl of salad with freshly-picked greens even during the cold season. That would be wonderful for you and your guests.

Mini greenhouses are also useful with tender perennial plants. The greenhouse can protect them from ice, snow and frost during the winter season. They can be placed in plant containers and stay healthy inside the mini structure until spring begins. Once the weather becomes friendly enough, these plants can then be again transplanted into the garden outside for a much healthier environment.

The decorative plants commonly found inside the house can be given a healthy change by placing them inside the mini greenhouse and placing them outside during the summer months. This mini structure can offer tropical plants a humid climate. Miniature greenhouses, just like the regular ones, maximize the amount of sunlight and make the most out of the heat absorbed. It also provides the needed protection of plants from rain, wind, destructive insects and other pests in the garden such as rabbits.

Since mini gardens or greenhouses can be as light as possible because of their small structure, they may be easily blown by wind or knocked over by pets and kids. Thus, it is recommended that these small gardens be placed or mounted in to a wall or garage than be a free standing structure. It is best to place them in a location where there is enough sunlight but be safe from other outside factors as well. There are also do-it-yourself greenhouse kits available in the market that include complete instructions and step-by-step guide for a beginner to build a mini greenhouse in not time. These kits can also be inexpensive and can commonly accommodate up to three shelves.

So should one really choose to have a full-sized greenhouse or just go with a miniature one? Even if a big space is available for a full-sized greenhouse, having a small one may be more practical. If the main purpose of having a greenhouse is to grow only a few plants, germinate seeds, or provide protection during the colder season, having a mini greenhouse is just fine. Also, the cost to maintain small greenhouses are significantly lower than the full-sized ones because of the several factors that need to be maintained.

Thus, it is recommended that gardeners have a greenhouse, even a mini one. This structure can prove to be a good investment and yield better results than just doing the traditional gardening. And if one really finds happiness in caring for plants and harvesting a few crops, greenhouse-gardening can definitely offer lifetime enjoyment.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Top Greenhouse Benefits

For people who are fond of plants, flowers, vegetations, and other ornamental plants, having their own greenhouse may be a dream come true.

A greenhouse or conservatory is a type of structure where plants are developed and grown. Usually, greenhouses are made of plastic or glass. This is to allow the natural light coming from the outside environment to permeate inside.

Because of its special condition, many people are wondering why do plants have to be cultivated inside this super special structure, wherein fact, it can be grown outside with the natural forces readily made available anytime, anywhere.

The answer to this particular issue is based on how the greenhouse really works. It is only through the understanding of its full operation that people will appreciate the advantages and environmental use of greenhouses.

Heat It Up

Putting up and maintaining a greenhouse can be a daunting task. However, the benefits that it brings not only to the environment but also to the owner of the hothouse cannot be underestimated. For one thing, greenhouses are perfect cultivating area for people who wish to grow their own vegetable farm or ornamental plants. This means that they have an all-year round supply of these items.

However, some people cannot just identify the real purpose of greenhouses because they believe that there is not so much difference between the outside environment with that of the interior condition in the greenhouse.

They say that light, water, and air are, in fact, readily made available in the natural environment. Inside the greenhouse, lights, water, and air are artificially supplied. They further contend that once the person who is in=-charge of the process has failed to do his job, chances are, the plants will die.

Hence, they insist that it would be better to cultivate the plants on its natural environment rather than locking them up in a glass-made ‘prison.”

The problem with these people is that they do not understand the main operation of the greenhouse that is why they cannot appreciate the goodness of greenhouses. They are not pleased about the benefits that greenhouses may bring.

Therefore, in order to gain the right appreciation of the purpose of greenhouses, here is a list of detailed facts about the real operation of greenhouses:

1. It uses solar energy

Like the natural environment, greenhouses make use of the solar energy as well. That is why greenhouses are made of glass or plastic to allow the natural light to pass through.

2. It converts the solar energy to heat

This is where the greenhouse benefits start. Basically, when the solar energy enters the greenhouse, the heat that goes along with the light are trapped inside the area. Once inside, the heat is distributed throughout the place. This is similar to the condition of a car that is parked in area with direct sunlight.

Have you ever observed that after you have parked your car in an open area with direct sunlight you can still felt he heat being trapped inside your car? Sam thing goes with the light and heat inside the greenhouse.

Generally, when the “electromagnetic radiation” of the sun enters the greenhouse, the things inside the structure like the soil, plants, and other notable material inside the place are being heat up.

Consequently, the materials that make up the greenhouse, like the glass or the plastic trap the hot air or the heat inside the room. Thus, it heats up both the air and the plants inside. Likewise, it also heats up the air close to the ground.

The main purpose of this particular structure of a greenhouse is to prevent “convection.” This is because through convection, heat is eliminated through the presence of fluids.

The main focus of the issue here is that this particular amount of heat should not escape the hothouse in order to proper growth to the plants.

It is for this reason that many people deem it more to cultivate their plants inside a greenhouse because with proper cultivation process as well as the regulated amount of light and heat present in the area, optimum plant growth and development is highly expected.

Indeed, just by looking at it, many people will still question the efficiency of greenhouses. But as soon as they understand the real concept behind eh operations within the area, they will soon realize that greenhouses are absolutely added features for the environment.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hoop House Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse will give many benefits to a gardener, whether he is a mere hobbyist or an expert plant cultivator. However, there are many things to consider in having a greenhouse, not to mention the expenses that come with building greenhouses.

A good alternative is to own a hoop house type of greenhouse. These are very simple greenhouses which can be assembled very easily. There are many advantages in having a hoop house greenhouse, here are some of them:

-Availability of more growing time A hoop house greenhouse provides a gardener more time to cultivate his favorite plants. An extra 3 to 4 months can be extracted for planting more crops in the greenhouse.

-Inexpensive way to cultivate Hoop house greenhouses provide an inexpensive way to help greenhouse enthusiasts to get started into cultivating crops.

-Crop protection from predators and extreme weather conditions Hoop house greenhouses are built to protect plants from different adverse conditions which can be brought about by weather conditions and different crop predators. They provide sturdy and efficient covering for the plants against these factors.

-More varieties of plants can be grown Because hoop houses will allow longer growing seasons, more varieties of plants can be grown in the hoop houses.

-Increased inco me and savings One can cultivate different crops which can be equated into additional income or savings. One can actually sell fruits and vegetables which are grown in the hoop houses or can plant crops which can be consumed by the family, therefore avoiding the need to purchase these from the supermarket.

There are many reasons why gardeners have availed hoop houses for their gardens. Here are some more pertinent facts about hoop houses that should be known by other enthusiasts:

-Most growers recover the cost of building their hoop houses in a single season of planting.

-There are no permits required in building hoop houses since they are not considered as permanent structures.

-The growing seasons can be extended by using hoop houses and several other equipments. Hoop houses usually extend growing seasons by as much as 4 months, but by adding layers of insulating film and an inflation blower, one can extend the growing season more than four months.

-Hoop houses are usually made from galvanized steel. The galvanized hoops serve as the framework for the greenhouse. The material is low maintenance, very sturdy and very economical.

-Hoop houses are characterized by natural regulation of its temperature. There is no need for extra equipments which can be sources of additional costs. The hoop houses are warmed by the natural sun and are cooled by the wind. One can roll the sides up and open the hoop house doors to be able to provide ventilation to the plants inside. This is a very cost effective way of cultivating plants in a greenhouse.

-Hoop houses can be built in places where the winds are prevalent and where snow can be a problem. Hoop houses are built from sturdy frames which are designed to handle heavy winds and can withstand the harsh effects of snowing. One can position the hoop house perpendicular to the winds to maximize the ventilation for the plants. One should also remember to do some maintaining when the snow comes. Occasional brushing of the snow will be very beneficial for the hoop house.

-Hoop houses are quite tall and gardeners can use the vertical space to be able to plant more crops. Adding purlins will allow one to hang baskets, tie up tomatoes and other plants. The baskets can then be used to plant ornamental crops or other types of plants. -One can customize his hoop house in terms of the creation of doors or windows. The traditional hoop houses have a built-in door and a couple of windows for ventilation.

-There are other functions that hoop houses can do when the planting season is over. They can serve as a chicken coop if one installs poultry netting. They can also be used to grow orchids or other ornamental plants.

-Hoop houses can be relocated easily. Relocating hoop houses can be done without disassembling the structure.

There are many reasons why people turn to hoop houses when they want to have a greenhouse. Aside from the multiple benefits that plants can get from being sheltered by hoop houses, these greenhouses are very economical and won’t dig deep into the gardeners’ pockets.