Gardening is one of the most interesting hobbies, especially for those who have some time to get their hands dirty every once in a while. As a matter of fact, gardening doubles up as an activity that can both be a primary source of income and a side hassle, especially when done from a greenhouse. Additionally, it also provides you with the opportunity to grow your own food in your backyard or plot near your home. From veggies to citrus fruits and ornamental plants, there’s a wide variety of crops you can grow in your greenhouse or backyard garden despite the season or time of the year. This is not to mention that a garden in your backyard will also increase the financial and aesthetic value of your property if done right.
Now, you’ve always dreamt of setting up a greenhouse, but you’ve never managed to do so, perhaps due to challenges such as lack of enough time or money to embark on the project. Maybe you’ve always had these, but you just didn’t know where to start. Perhaps the thought had just crossed your mind a couple of times. but you are now certain that you’re ready. Well, starting with the benefits of gardening in a greenhouse, here are some crucial pointers you want to read on how to start your dream greenhouse.
Why Garden in a Greenhouse?
Compared to open or conventional gardening, the benefits of greenhouse gardening are more than just a few. Regardless of the type, size, and structure of your greenhouse, one of the major perks is that you will always have a longer growing season. Additionally, you can garden in any weather, given that your garden will be covered and isolated from the rest of the environment.
Also, a greenhouse grants you the ability to control the temperatures to which your plants are subjected to, which gives you flexibility in that you can grow a wide variety of plants within the structure.
Moreover, you can easily protect your plants from pests and predators while avoiding the use of dangerous pesticides and keeping (or introducing) beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies to promote pollination and maximize your yield.
As mentioned earlier, a greenhouse is an asset that can also tremendously increase the value of your property in case you choose to start one in your backyard. In a nutshell, the list of reasons to start a greenhouse is endless!
Factors to Consider When Starting Your Greenhouse
The space you have will dictate the size, design, and type of greenhouse you can start. It will also determine the types of plants you can grow in there and the maximum amount of yield you can expect. On this note, some common types of greenhouses include lean-to, detached, and ridge/furrow structures.
For gardening hobbyists who are looking to grow a small greenhouse gardening on their backyards, the lean-to type can be ideal due to space and size limitations. For commercial crop production, detached and ridge/furrow types are more favorable.
2. Decide What to Grow
By the time you’re thinking of starting a greenhouse, higher chances are that you have an idea in mind on the kinds of crops to cultivate. However, your decision will largely be based on whether you’re a hobbyist or you intend to be a commercial gardener. As for the latter, we’re looking at mass production and in this case, you’ll want to grow something that you’ll find a ready market for. Again, the best plants to grow in your greenhouse will be determined by the prospective size of your greenhouse as well as the structure, along with other factors such as soil type.
As for the latter, though, the good thing about greenhouses is that soil can always be imported into the facility as long as you know where to source it. From veggies such as cabbages, onions, spinach, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots; to citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, and even ornamental plants, there’s literally nothing that you can’t cultivate in a greenhouse. If you’re targeting variety, you just have to familiarize with crop combination, crop rotation, and you’re good to go. Of course, you’ll learn some of these things as you gain experience in greenhouse gardening.
3. Think Finances
It may sound like a simple venture to some, but starting a greenhouse will require a substantial amount of cash. From preparing (plus acquiring) the land to gathering supplies, buying seeds, constructing the greenhouse structure, and maintaining the greenhouse, there’s a considerable amount of costs to be incurred before you get the first and consecutive yields.
Other than saving up until you can get enough to start one, you can also borrow a personal loan or a home improvement loan to start greenhouse gardening. Remortgaging is also another popular option, especially for homeowners who’d like to start one on their property. Ted MacDonald from 1st UK Mortgaging explains that people often choose to remortgage their home rather than take out a loan because mortgages have lower interest rates. Even for those with bad credit, remortgage loans are also available, but mostly at a higher interest rate than for people with a good credit rating. For those above the age of 55, Equity release can also be a great source of financing for your greenhouse project.
4. Get Professional Help
You’ve determined your space, have an idea of what to grow; and have secured the funds (or have an idea of where to get financing) for your project. You’ve even gone ahead and done research on where to get your supplies and materials. What remains is to get professional help in preparing the land and constructing your greenhouse to get things going.
While there’s nothing wrong with using professional DIY greenhouse gardening 101 guides from the internet, the good thing with working with a professional is that they can always provide you with further advice on gardening, especially in areas such as pest control, fertilizers, the best crops to grow, and overall greenhouse maintenance, just to name a few. You may also want to take up a course in greenhouse gardening to make the most out of your new gardening hobby or venture.
In a nutshell, greenhouse gardening is an interesting hobby-cum-commercial activity. To start one, however, there are a couple of things you need to think about and put in place before embarking on the project. Luckily, the above few pointers are there to act as a simple guide you can use to see your greenhouse dream come true.