Top 3 reasons to build a greenhouse
After a successful gardening year in 2018 Organic-vegetable-harvest with the help of our temporary greenhouse. We decided to build a new permanent greenhouse this year. There are many reasons to build a greenhouse or a hot house as it used to be called in days of yore. In this post I will be citing 3 main reasons to build a greenhouse and why we built ours. I will also touch on the subsidiary reasons pertaining to these main ones.
The laws in Switzerland are very strict with regard to building regulations. More over we have a stream flowing through our plot, so it makes it even more difficult. In the meantime our immediate neighbor built a garden shed last autumn adjacent to our plot. So that kind of gave us the hope that our new permanent green house wouldn’t be an objection to the planning authorities.
If you want to watch the Video top 3 reasons to build a green house and how we built ours, click below
Top 3 Reasons to build a greenhouse this year in our garden
1. Extending the season of your fresh produce
Since we live in a cold climate, the season when the garden is most productive is very short. Therefore having our own greenhouse can extend this short season. Once the green house is build you will have the additional benefit of growing your own saplings. Instead of relying on nurseries and garden centers you can do it yourself. Thereby, avoiding those wasted trips trying to get the right plants and sometimes returning disappointed. I know this from experience and it has happened a few times to us. If we have the seeds in hand we could start the process of germinating and growing them inside the greenhouse well in advance and then planting once the weather gets warmer.
2. Growing exotic plants and produce
We at the Swiss garden try to grow as much as possible locally thriving fruits and vegetables. But sometimes we would like to have a variety and those exotic vegetables need much more warmth and sunlight. After our success last year we were very determined to invest in a permanent greenhouse structure. We were able to still harvest many tomatoes, and bell peppers and other vegetables until the 3rd week of November.
3. Cost savings by constructing your greenhouse
The initial cost of building your own greenhouse may be high at the beginning. But we just have to consider that this is a long term investment in many aspects. You can recoup the investment in your greenhouse in no time once you take into account how much money you are saving on store-bought seedlings as well as vegetables and flowers. The savings on fresh produce due to the extended seasons is another additional bonus.
Greenhouses are a great way to save money on seeds and plants. The sheltered area of glass transforms the whole growing process for seeds and seedlings and you can produce hundreds of new plants for a fraction of the cost. You can recoup the investment of your greenhouse in no time once you take into account how much money you are saving on store-bought seedlings.
How and why – Main reason we choose our greenhouse material
The above picture was the greenhouse from last year. This was meant to be a temporary one because of the strict laws. We were testing the waters. This structure somehow managed to last till autumn and already by mid autumn we had difficulty keeping the structure stable.
We had to look through a lot of different sizes online and finally found one in Hornbach the total cost of the greenhouse with extras came to around 1700 CHF. The size of the green house is 257×322 cm with an area of 8.3 sq. meters. We choose a fiber glass of 6 mm thickness opted for an opaque glass. The reason for choosing the opaque panel was that, the opaque glass is perfect to grow plants to maturity. An Opaque panel provides an even amount of light and allows for a balanced foliage growth.
The kind of panel clarity you choose will depend entirely on what plants you want to grow. Clear panels are perfect if you plan to germinate seeds and grow starters which will be planted outdoors after germinating. The clear panels provide direct light that warms the soil and encourages germinating seeds to sprout. Generally, clear panel greenhouses provide warmer, more direct light whilst opaque panels are ideal for growing crops long term.
Constructing Our Greenhouse
First, we cleared the ground of where we wanted to place the foundation. Choose a place in the plot which has the maximum sunlight during the day. We have the maximum sunlight on the west side of the plot. Then we measured and re-measured many times to get the dimensions right. The measuring is important for the frame to fit perfectly to ensure the stability of the full structure afterwards.
Next we started digging the foundation to place the legs of the frame. Totally there were 6 legs to support the frame. The ground was still hard from the long winter as it was still thawing well into mid of March making it tough to dig.
To make the foundation stable and stronger we dug in 6 PVC pipes to the place the legs of the frame inside the pipes. Then we placed the legs after bending them for a solid support. Next we poured in quick fix concrete and mixed in the water. We let it set for 24 hours.
After that we constructed the frame work and fixed it to the foundation frame. This was very complicated as the instructions were not very clear. But my husband being very clever at these skills could manage to fix the aluminium frame. And lo it fit well on the structure without much adjustments after.
5. Fixing the glass panels
Final step was to first fit in the glass panels into the aluminium frames and then affix them in their slots. This was again very unclear from the instructions. Finally we managed it all and now we are ready for planting.
Some of the key points to consider when you build your greenhouse
While building our greenhouse, we had to consider the extreme climates which we are accustomed to in the gardening world. We have to battle with below zero temperatures at night and the warmer tropical temperatures inside the green house. Solutions for that are simple if we can apply it easily.
So we installed a special thermic lever to the windows. This lever on the windows can control the temperatures to a certain extent. This will open the window automatically when it reaches a certain temperature and closes the window when its cooler inside.
Other consideration was the durable material we used which should last at least a decade. We are now looking into other aspects of heating as the temperature is not yet stable for transferring the plants outside. So we are now lighting a candle inside to at least stop the temperature from dropping to below zeros. And this seems to be working for the time being and the temperature during the night is around 6 degrees centigrade.
The above top 3 reasons to build a greenhouse are not the only ones for doing so. My husband is now an avid gardener and has learnt a lot since the past 3 years. Gardening is a mindful meditation by itself. We come closer to nature and in addition to it we get fresh air and exercise. By creating a micro tropical climate inside the greenhouse we can plan our next year’s planting much better right from germinating and later with the planting.
We at the Swiss home love to eat a variety of fresh and organic vegetables, so this also one of the main reasons to build a greenhouse.