Adding a greenhouse to your garden
Why would I get one?
If you garden, you’ve probably daydreamed about having your own greenhouse. A space filled with lush, green plants and (real or imagined) sunbeams. Surely, you could grow anything in a greenhouse!
Well, maybe not quite anything. But certainly, a greenhouse can give you an extra advantage in your gardening in many ways. If you have a green thumb, and have the space, a greenhouse can be a welcome addition to your garden.
A greenhouse is a structure that allows plants to grow, taking advantage of extra sun and warmth, but keeping cooler temperatures, harsh winds and rain away. Mostly glass, the walls allow the heat of the sun to penetrate but block the wind and cold. It can be used for starting seeds and seedlings early or to protect delicate plants during harsh weather. It’s a great spot to stash smaller pots, hanging baskets or expensive specimens when a storm looms. A greenhouse can also be used to extend your growing season or allow you to grow plants that might otherwise never grow in your zone or microclimate.
Any time you can extend your growing season or protect your plants from frost or damage, you get further ahead in your gardening. Your plants will reward you with lusher growth, more production in the case of vegetables and other edibles and more blooms. You can recoup some of the cost every year as you harvest more produce and reduce loss due to weather. So you see, you haven’t really lived if your garden isn’t equipped with a greenhouse.
How do I get one?
To buy or to build: that is the question. Greenhouses can be quite expensive, depending on the size, materials and work involved in building it. Check your local Used.ca site for a greenhouse on sale in your area. Just search “greenhouse” and set up an email alert, which you can find under “Tools” on the right hand side, to get your hand on the best deal.
Alternatively, you can demonstrate your recycling, upcycling and crafting skills and build your own greenhouse. The walls of a greenhouse can be made from plastic or glass, so it’s a good idea to do a little research into things and talk to a supplier or seller to be sure what you are buying or are about to build will suit your needs. The framing can vary, as can the equipment needed for the interior.
How can I afford it?
You’ll soon realize that a greenhouse can turn into quite the large investment, even if you build it yourself. Check your local Used.ca site for building materials or start collecting empty plastic bottles to build an upcycled greenhouse. You won’t need to worry about the perfect glass or plastic windows that way. But please make sure that your frame is sturdy enough so that the next storm doesn’t send all bottles flying into your neighbour’s yard.
What if I don’t have enough room?
If you don’t have room for a greenhouse, or building restrictions prevent small structures in your neighbourhood, you can always explore cold frames (see photo below). These are usually glass and wood creations that are low to the ground, but still create pockets of warmth and shelter for tender plants. They can even be made from old, discarded windows with wooden frames so if you love do it yourself projects, watch for these types of windows being sold used and get creative.
If you found a cool spring tough to manage in your garden this year, add a greenhouse or cold frames to your summer project list. You’ll be able to use them into fall and be ready to use them for seeds and seedlings next year.
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