7 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing A Greenhouse
Discovering the pleasure and reward of gardening often leads gardeners to consider building a hobbyist greenhouse. Not only does a greenhouse allow a year-round gardening hobby, it can provide a bounty of fresh herbs and vegetables, or unique and exotic plant varieties that might not weather well outdoors. 7 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing A Greenhouse.
Greenhouse gardening is a creative and rewarding experience, but planning and purchasing a new greenhouse can be somewhat intimidating, for even the most seasoned gardener.
Developing a thoughtful plan before buying a greenhouse will guide you in building an attractive, practical structure that’s perfectly suited to your gardening needs. Analysing your goals, site, and environmental conditions will help you make the first decision: whether to build a greenhouse from scratch or begin with a kit.
GREENHOUSE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
1) What is your greenhouse’s purpose?
- To grow herbs or vegetables year-round?
- To store this season’s annuals and replant them next year?
- To grow exotic “hothouse” flowers that require loving devotion and strictly controlled environmental conditions?
If your goal is to raise vegetables and flowers year-round, a warm greenhouse with maximum light, lots of headroom and space for shelving may be necessary.
If you only wish to grow houseplants, you will probably require less light, shelving and headroom. If you’re just seeking a space to start plants from seeds and propagate a few cuttings, you may only need a small, temporary greenhouse covered with plastic film.
2) What size should your greenhouse be?
Knowing your greenhouse goals will guide you in determining how much square footage you’ll need. In general, 100 square feet is the bare minimum required, in order to allow for benches and aisles. Veteran greenhouse gardeners will tell you to build a larger greenhouse than you think you’ll need. You’ll almost certainly want to add more benches, expand your plant inventory, and even grow the sort of plants you never dreamed you’d want to grow – simply because you can. If you plan well, you’ll find that your greenhouse offers lots of growing and propagating flexibility.
3) How much time can you commit to your greenhouse?
Be realistic about the amount of time you can devote to greenhouse construction and, ultimately, operation. Greenhouses require constant time and energy. There’s no point in planning an elaborate greenhouse if it’s going to sit idle because you can’t find time to maintain it.
4) How much will it cost to supply a greenhouse with heat, water and electricity?
Depending on your climate and heating options, you may find that winter heating costs can become expensive. Heating costs may well influence the size, shape, and construction of your greenhouse. Consult your utility provider for help in estimating the energy costs associated with various greenhouse construction styles. Your site options may also influence energy costs. For example, a greenhouse with a southern exposure and sloped glazing will collect the most solar heat energy. It’s also a good idea to check into the possibility of heating solely with solar energy.
5) Is a building permit necessary?
It’s a good idea to check your local building design and zoning ordinances before building the greenhouse. For example, there may be specific construction ordinances governing setback, construction materials, home attachment. Whether you’re assembling a prefabricated greenhouse kit or constructing a greenhouse from a blueprint, you may need a building permit.
6) Will having a greenhouse increase your property taxes?
You may need to check with the local property tax assessor to determine whether your structure will be classified as temporary or permanent and whether taxes will be levied against it.
7) What will your budget permit?
Simple polytunnel greenhouses can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars, but elaborate prefabricated glazed kits can easily cost several thousand dollars. Be sure to include the costs of shelving, gardening implements, and soil components and fertilisers. Quality shelving alone can add substantial cost.
Once you have answers to these basic questions, you’ll be on your way to choosing a greenhouse that’s right for you.