Patio greenhouses -- home gardening ideas

by tealmermaid

Easy guidelines for setting up a patio greenhouse in a small space.

A small area for gardening doesn't mean that you don't have enough room to set up your own greenhouse. By varying the designs and structures to suit a particular space, patio greenhouses have been long a staple in any plant lovers' yard. The best ones include 4-tiers with transparent all-around covers. Others have a horizontal orientation with 4 separate rows. Although these greenhouses are usually found in yards, there is no reason you cannot use it it on your balcony, or even your room. A patio greenhouse is easy to assemble in the smallest of spaces.

Winter over your plants with a greenhouse

A lot of garden in a small space

Consider the size of your chosen space versus the number of plants you would like to place in your greenhouse. Think about possible tiers and shelving configurations for the available space -- and always buy bigger than you think you need. If you are like me, new plants have a habit of "following you home" from the nursery. The number you have at the beginning of the winter may increase if your plants gain new friends over the winter.

A small greenhouse for a few plants
A small greenhouse for a few plants

High-light or low-light?

Be sure to allow a large enough footprint to accommodate the light needs of all your plants. High-light plants need to be placed near the window areas and ceiling. Low-light plants should be placed toward the interior or behind other plants. If you have a lot of low-light plants, have shade cloth at the ready in case of unseasonal amounts of sunlight.

Easy plant care

Another consideration is access to individual plants. Will you be able to reach all the plants easily to water them? Do you have the proper watering equipment (something with a longer handle or spout) if some will be hard to reach? For those plants which require a shower-type or misting watering system, can you remove their particular pots or mountings without taking out all the other plants? Choose a shelving arrangement that will best suit the needs of your particular plants.

Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse, 27" Long x 18" Wide x 63" High

For a basic starter patio greenhouse, this is an excellent choice for the price. It isn't walk-in size, but it provides several tiers of space for plants. It is also compact enough to be used indoors.

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Rather build your own greenhouse?

If none of the pre-fabricated patio greenhouses will suit your exact needs, consider building your own greenhouse. It is easy to buy greenhouse plans and construct your own with some scrap wood or metal and plexiglass.

How to Build Your Own Greenhouse: Designs and Plans to Meet Your Growing Needs

An excellent walk-through guide to designing a greenhouse that will suit your space.

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Setting up your patio greenhouse

You have a greenhouse, now what?

It is not enough to pot up your plants and hide them in the greenhouse until spring. If you expect any survivors from the winter, you need to keep the plants warm and supplied with sufficient light and humidity to last the winter. That means portable lighting, space heaters, and at least a small humidifier. Since you probably wouldn't expand your house's electrical wiring out to a small patio greenhouse, you will need some outdoor-grade extension cords to provide the needed electricity. Run your cords through a surge protector in case of a power surge. I would also recommend adding an alarm to your greenhouse in case the power goes out. That will give you a chance to bring the plants indoors for the night rather than find a greenhouse full of dead plants in the morning.

Dr. Heater DR218-1500W Greenhouse Garage Workshop Infrared Heater, 1500-watt

This heater is perfect for a smaller greenhouse space. If being used with an extension cord, place the heater carefully so it isn't touching anything.

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TaoTronics Humidifier Ultrasonic Cool Mist

With over a gallon of capacity, this will work well to humidify a small greenhouse.

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Supco THA2 Digital Temperature Humidity Alarm with Logging Capability, -40 to 140 Degree F

While this alarm may seem expensive, it is worthwhile to alert you to sudden temperature drops.

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Coleman Cable 02309 16/3 Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord, Orange, 100-Feet

This extension cord is moisture-resistant. Its bright orange colour is easy to spot when if buried in the snow.

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Cheap solar heat in the greenhouse

For a cheap solar heating option, fill empty wine bottles with water and place them by the exterior windows on the sunny side of the structure. The sun will both warm and heat the water, and the heat will be released gradually overnight.

Updated: 10/22/2015, tealmermaid
 
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