Planning for a home greenhouse project can be rewarding for your pocketbook and for your family togetherness.
Home greenhouses help with growing your own vegetable plants from seeds and it’s a wonderful learning experience for children to start their plants from seeds. Eating healthy does not need to be expensive and if your child grows the vegetable, he’ll be more likely to eat it. Starting vegetable plants from seeds can turn into a science learning project for the whole family. If you’re planning a home greenhouse project, there are several things to consider.
How large should the greenhouse be? What materials do I need to start a greenhouse? Should I buy a ready-made greenhouse or build my own? Where should the greenhouse be on my property? For a beginner home greenhouse, my advice is to start small and build up. You’ll find out what works best for you over several years. I’ll walk you through what I’ve learned over the last 5-6 years and explain to you what my “system” is now.
Start off with a 4 shelf purchased moveable greenhouse. I used to start this outdoors, with the plastic
covering, and a heating lamp to keep the seeds warm in January thru March. Now I place this indoors in a South facing window that gets a lot of winter sunlight. It’s in a back room of our home, so it doesn’t mess with our home “ambiance” and it’s easily accessible for watering.
When the weather is getting warmer, I then transfer the trays out to my raised beds.
Here I do keep them covered with thick plastic and use heating lamps initially to help with the transition. Once I see that the plants are doing well with the transition, I turn off the lamps and keep the plastic covers on during cooler days. When we’re expecting a warm day, I’ll take the plastic off and then cover them up for the night. Once the plants get bigger and are ready for transplant, I move them into the ground where they’ve been in the trays and then again keep them covered at night if needed.
You can use all wood for the boxes and frame to support the plastic covering, or you can make do with what you have. Our kid’s trampoline got old, so we took it down and I recycled the metal legs into the supports for my greenhouse plastic covering. You can also use PVC pipes. When the garden is growing nicely and I don’t need the plastic any longer, I’ll just take the metal legs and plastic away and put them in the storage shed for next year.
I found it helpful to keep a diary of when the seeds were started and how quickly they sprouted. When I transplanted them into the ground and how well they grew and produced. You’ll need to learn how to thin out seedlings and how to transfer the larger plants to the garden soil when ready. Keeping a diary as you try new gardening methods will help the next year. I always thought I’d remember from year to year, but keeping a diary helps me keep everything in order and keeps me from making mistakes over & over again. I’d also recommend for the first-time gardener, get the Square Foot Gardener book.
My youngest son & I worked together on a greenhouse project growing tomato plants and pepper plants. We had so many extra that he sold plants to neighbors and got a table at the local farmer’s market for one Saturday and sold his plants for a little spending money too! A little together time turned into a business learning opportunity for him.
A home greenhouse project doesn’t have to be huge. You can plant in containers. I absolutely love alfalfa sprouts
and broccoli sprouts on my sandwiches and in my salads. They are wonderful as an add-in to your healthy juicer mix. They are so easy to grow using a three tier kit like this one. Tomato, pepper, and herb plants grow wonderfully in pots outside on your porch or deck. Strawberries and herbs grow nicely in hanging baskets too. So, it’s perfectly fine to start your home greenhouse project small and work your way up to a larger garden if you can.
A home greenhouse project can be done by anyone, anywhere. You just need to be creative and try it. Not only will you be able to control the chemicals in your garden and on the food your family is eating, but you can save money on your grocery bills too. And, a home greenhouse project can encourage kids to grow and eventually EAT their veggies!