If you’re ready to take your gardening to the next level, follow these tips to create your very own greenhouse. Even if you don’t have the greenest thumb in the world, these suggestions might just take you from a gardening beginner to a homegrown-foods expert.


Before you build your greenhouse, you will need to determine how much space you can dedicate to the project. Deciding if it will be an inside or outside conservatory will also affect how large it should be. If you choose to start with an indoor enclosure, you won’t need an exorbitant amount of space; greenhouses come as small as boxes for the window and as large as units with four shelves. See an example of a shelf greenhouse. If you want to have a little more space for your plants, you can build one outside in any size that fits in your backyard.


Depending on your living circumstances, there may be factors like kids, pets, or weather that put limitations on where you can place your greenhouse safely and without interference. Inside won’t be the best place for your plants if you have curious pets that may find their way into your project space. The best location for a greenhouse outside is the place with the most sun exposure so your plants can get as much light as possible—even in winter.


Once you’ve decided how large the greenhouse will be, the next step is to determine what kind of building materials you will need. An indoor hothouse will require a plastic covering and some sort of lighting fixture to get the true greenhouse effect. Another option is to set a box or shelf conservatory in a sunroom if you have one. If you choose to build your structure outside, you can do so with recycled materials like windows surrounded by a PVC or aluminum frame. Alternatively, there are greenhouse kits available with all the necessary materials for you to assemble the building yourself.

Plants to Grow

tomato cluster in greenhouseOnce you’ve taken all the previous steps, you’re ready to choose your plants. In addition to planting flowers, you can also plant food. Growing spinach, lettuce, and other greens is a great way to start off your greenhouse fun. Most restaurants serve hothouse tomatoes in nonpeak seasons, and leafy greens are fairly hearty plants as well—even in the cold part of the year. If you start planting in the fall or winter, be sure to consult a planting calendar to make sure your plants have enough time to do most of their growing before the weather gets too cold and the days lose too much sunlight.

If you want to keep the spring in your step (and your fridge) all year round, remember to take into account the space, location, and materials for your greenhouse as well as the right kind of plants to grow. You’ll find you can enjoy more fresh food more often.

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