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3 greenhouse building tips

A greenhouse is a great way to get the youngsters involved — and interested — in growing their own healthy food.

Going for a greenhouse of your own gives you more than a place to put your green thumb to work. A greenhouse can pay for itself, whether by providing you and your family food or becoming a step in starting your own business.

With a greenhouse, even an amateur plant enthusiast can grow plants, herbs, flowers and vegetables year-round in any climate. With these three bits of knowledge, you can easily have a productive, enjoyable greenhouse of your own.

1. How a greenhouse works

Greenhouses heat the air inside by utilizing the sunlight outside as it shines through the walls and the roof. The process keeps plants protected from external climate and weather forces that can cause serious damage. A constant, warm temperature with moisture, humidity and proper watering helps plants grow, though sometimes additional heating is needed, especially in the winter.

2. Where to plant your greenhouse

Where you plant your greenhouse will affect its success. The best approach is to construct your greenhouse with the longest side facing south to allow maximum sunlight exposure during the cold winter months. Avoid butting your greenhouse against a barn or in highly shaded areas.

3. Build it yourself

The more you save on building your greenhouse, the more money you'll have to invest in plants. But, before you build, consider the skill level required for your project. A large, intricate greenhouse with multiple corners and sections might require the help of a professional contractor.

Here are a few points to consider before beginning your greenhouse project: • What are you going to grow and how much space do you need? • How much bigger do you want to build to facilitate future expansion? • What are your ventilation, heat, humidity and pest-control needs? • What building permits will you need for your neighborhood? • Have you included shelves for storage and work tables for your plants? • Will your wheelbarrow fit through the door?

Happy gardening!

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