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Building a Greenhouse

Location and Type of Greenhouse

Source: Fact Sheet 645 - University of Maryland Co-op Extension Service, David S. Ross, Extension Agric. Engineer, Dept. of Agric. Engineering

2001 AgriTeach.com (101801ms)

Getting Started
Careful planning is important before getting started. Building a greenhouse doesnt need to be expensive or time-consuming. The type of greenhouse depends on:
Growing space desired Home or school architecture Available sites Costs

The most important consideration is that the greenhouse must provide the proper environment for growing plants.

Location
Put the greenhouse where it gets the most sunlight:
The best choice: the south or southeast side of a structure.
South provides all-day sunlight. Morning sunlight on the east side is sufficient for most plants.

An east side location captures November to February sunlight. Second-best is southwest or west side of major structures:
Plants will receive sunlight later in the day.

North of structures is the least desirable location:


North is good only for plants that require little light.

Location
The sun is lower in the southern sky in winter causing long shadows to be cast by buildings and evergreen trees.

Other Location Considerations


Good drainage is an important requirement for the site.
Build above the surrounding ground so water will drain away.

Locations of sources of heat, water, and electricity Shelter from winter wind. Access should be convenient for people and utilities. A workplace and storage area should be nearby.

Types of Greenhouses
A greenhouse may be attached to a house or garage. Or the greenhouse can be a freestanding structure. An attached greenhouse can be:
A half greenhouse A full-size structure An extended window structure There are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

Attached Greenhouses
Lean-to:
A lean-to greenhouse is a half greenhouse. It is split along the peak of the roof, or ridge line Useful where space is limited. Least expensive structures. Lean-tos are close to available electricity, water and heat. Disadvantages include limitations on space, sun, ventilation, and temperature control. Temperature control is more difficult:
The wall on which the greenhouse is built may collect the sun's heat while the translucent cover of the greenhouse may lose heat rapidly.

Lean-to Greenhouses

Attached Greenhouses
Even Span:
An even-span is a full-size structure. Has a gable end attached to another building. It is usually a larger and more costly option. This option provides more usable space. The even span has a better shape for air circulation.

Attached Greenhouses
Window-mounted:
Can be attached on the south or east side of a house. Gives space for growing a few plants at low cost . The special window extends outward & can contain two or three shelves.

Freestanding Greenhouses
Freestanding greenhouses are separate structures:
They can be set apart from other buildings to get more sun. Can be made as large or small as desired. A separate heating system is needed. Electricity and water must be installed. The lowest cost (per square foot of growing space) is generally a freestanding greenhouse that is 17 to 18 feet wide.
Can house a central bench, two side benches, and two walkways. The ratio of cost to the usable growing space is good.

Freestanding Greenhouses

Choosing a Type
When deciding on the type of structure, plan for:
Adequate bench space and storage space. Room for future expansion. Temperature regulation:
Small greenhouses - more fluctuation, greater surface area Large greenhouses - less management

Freestanding greenhouses should be at least 6 x 12.

Building a Greenhouse
Location and Type of Greenhouse

Source: Fact Sheet 645 - University of Maryland Co-op Extension Service, David S. Ross, Extension Agric. Engineer, Dept. of Agric. Engineering

2001 AgriTeach.com (101801ms)