The greenhouse represents the construction of plant protection. It is used to extend the time of production of vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
Professional greenhouses for vegetables and flowers are special constructions that aim to create optimal vegetation conditions throughout the year, regardless of the meteorological phenomena outside.
The Advantages of Build Your Own Greenhouse
In the greenhouse, we can get a harvest with fresh vegetables early in the season, up to 3-5 weeks earlier than in the field, especially in the demanding species concerning the temperature such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons, beans, etc.
The consumption of vegetables in the cold season ensures richer nutrition in vitamins and mineral salts.
The crops established in the greenhouses are protected from the weather, are staggered over a more extended period
The cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses is practiced both in autumn and spring. Autumn is grown salad, spinach, green onion, and spring are continued with thermophilic species such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers.
Materials used in the construction of the greenhouse
● Metal arches with head vents
● Metal arches with double reinforcement
● Metal reinforcements for the sides and ridge
● Metal support legs
● Triple-layer laminate with UV protection
● Special clips for fastening the film
● Galvanized wire
Drip installation consisting of:
● Drop columns
In the vision of many people, a greenhouse or a greenhouse is a construction intended only for agricultural production or small producers who want to make money from growing vegetables or flowers.
To a large extent, greenhouses represent an advantage for private households. Beyond the periodic activity spent in the company of plants, these are a way to ensure healthy vegetables and vegetables to the whole family.
A small greenhouse next to the house is sufficient for growing radishes, salad, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants with taste, which provides a necessary vegetable for a family.
The place and dimensions of the greenhouse
The role of a greenhouse is to ensure the plants a constant temperature and enough sun throughout the year.
The greenhouse is generally a more resistant construction and intends for perennial plants, which also need high temperatures in winter.
Also, there are countless ways to create a greenhouse, even as a separate building, glued to the house, with glass walls, which will delight us in winter with the greenery of plants. In this article, we will detail the greenhouse and its mode of operation.
Standard Greenhouse Dimensions
For a smaller lot, a space of about 6 square meters may be sufficient, but this can be extended depending on the area made available and the cultivation plans initiated for domestic consumption. Depending on the needs of each one, an estimated family of four people reaches a perimeter of about 15 square meters to ensure their source of tasty vegetables for one year.
Best Position for Greenhouse In Garden
- In a bright area, without too many trees that can create shade.
- On land with low humidity in winter and protect from strong winds.
- The land on which we build the greenhouse should have a smooth slope, which will help to facilitate the more natural flow of water.
- For organic crops, we use fertile soil, and no chemical fertilizers will be applied.
- The most suitable land is one that benefits from full sunlight but where there are fewer winds.
- A sandy, well-drained soil is suitable for most vegetables and plants.
- The greenhouse will be positioned in a bright area, ideally devoid of trees that will shade the windows and the roof (although these may represent additional protection for the greenhouse itself in the face of winds or rain); on land with low humidity in winter and protected from strong winds (it may not be far from the wall of a house or another dependency, or far enough away from some trees)
For those who want a “vegetable miniseries,” that is a greenhouse. Still, you must be willing to work alone sometime, and with what they have at hand, buying only the strictly necessary, then the costs can reduce significantly.
Therefore, this type of construction must be stable from the beginning as a periodic construction, which the following year can be moved, enlarged, or reduced depending on the experiences and the achievements of the previous year.
Types Of Solar Greenhouse Structures
Currently, on the market, there is a wide range of materials to build a solar greenhouse. Many manufacturers offer profiles for modular greenhouses, protective foils for coatings, polycarbonate or fiberglass plates, clamping systems, etc.
Building a Solar Greenhouse From Scratch
a) Tunnel type solar, on a metallic structure
A greenhouse with low costs, easy to realize, but which must be verified periodically is the one made of steel bars in the form of an arch, mounted with a fastening system usually offered by the manufacturer and covered with quality foils.
This type of greenhouse is called a tunnel type, and the only problem is the ventilation if it is too long.
Such a round roof construction has the advantage that it allows quick drainage of the water from the covers.
On a surface of 6 m x 8 m, we can build with only four arches of the greenhouse, made of steel pipes with a diameter of 16 mm, 6 m wide, and 2.5 m high.
For increased wind resistance, if the area has a lot of wind, the arches are embedded in glass-type foundations, made of reinforced concrete poles.
For an area more protected from the winds, the clamping of the ground arches can also be achieved using wooden or metal tarps.
On the three arches greenhouse is then created a network of galvanized wire, 2 mm diameter, spaced about 35 cm, which will have the role of helping the foil not to make “bellies.”
The polyethylene foil cover does not bind and is never fastened with string or wire – straps made of textile material, and wide, that will not affect it.
A pit is dug on the sides of the greenhouse, in which the ends of the foil will be inserted and then will be cover with earth.
Also, at this stage, a guard pit is dug, which drains into a collecting ditch and will have the role of taking the drained water from the covers.
b) Solar with roof in two slopes, on wooden or metal structure
For the structure of a greenhouse, you can use beams made of acacia, oak, even elm or beech, less solid wood such as fir, preferably round, with a diameter of at least 10 cm.
The soil can be used ready to buy(gardening soil) and processed or, if natural wood is used, it is cleaned of the bark and its stains or other bumps are removed, so that they do not break the protective film used.
To protect the wood from corrosion and to make the construction more durable, the part that gets into the ground of these beams is burned, until a layer of about 5 mm of coal is obtained.
How To Build A Year Round Solar Greenhouse
The construction of the structure itself is done in much the same way as that of a house.
For the best fitting of the film, it can be fixed with slats superimposed on it or by a system with beams and panels, which will catch the edges of the film between them.
In this case, it will be taken into account that the foil on the roof must be thicker and less transparent, with UV protection, while the one on the sides must be transparent to provide the plants with the most natural lighting.
The sheet will generally have to be reconditioned year by year, while the wood of the structure will need reconditioning once every few years.
Although the wooden structure may be cheaper at first sight and more resistant to strong winds, a structure with metal profiles is more profitable in the long term.
For a durable construction, it will be trainable and winter and allow as little losses as possible.
Outside heat, on a wooden structure, can be mounted polycarbonate, glass or fiberglass plates. Production costs increase depending on materials, but also labor.
For those who want a greenhouse in the true sense of the word, which will work throughout the year, it must be equipped with the central heating, ventilation system, shelves and beams for hanging plants, etc.
The Difference Between a Greenhouse and a Solarium
At first glance, a solarium and a greenhouse are the same things. In fact, conversations are often treated as interchangeable terms. But there are some differences, the price, some of the functionality.
They are different also in structure, form, cultures, and the list can continue. Often the confusion is related to the size of the structure. Some greenhouses are for decorative purposes only, the idea of having a meal in a very well lit space is spent while you are surrounded by live plants.
On the other hand, the solarium is seen as an agricultural improvisation that offers less comfort and has the form of a long tunnel at the surface.
What do we mean when we say the word solar?
A solarium is a structure of wood, PVC or metal, covered with one or two sheets that are somewhat transparent, resistant to ultraviolet. The structure is a simple one based on pipes curved in different shapes and thrown into the ground. There is no foundation or special facilities. Inside, a closed enclosure is formed like a tunneled tunnel at both ends.
He calls it solar because it is based on the heat source from the sun. The solar does not have an alternative source of heating to the sun. This structure is not connected to the water, electricity or sewerage network. Sometimes, in long solariums, a temporary wire is installed to supply a fan that moves air through the enclosure.
Greenhouse vs Solarium
Solariums are temporary structures. First of all, because the transparent film or sheets need regular replacement. Secondly, because they can move from one side to the other or temporarily dismantle when they are no longer needed.
For the solariums, there are no fees for the created surface and you do not need a building permit to lift one. It is considered to be a temporary construction. At solariums, the soil is exposed, and the plants have their roots in this soil, or in a pot hung by the metal structure. I recommend the construction of galvanized steel and less wood or PVC solariums.
What is a greenhouse and how is it different from solar?
The greenhouse has a foundation and is a permanent structure with heating systems, independent of the sun. To build a greenhouse, you need a building permit. In the greenhouse can grow some plants that can not be successfully grown in a solarium.
An important feature of greenhouses is an efficient window. These windows are produced either from a type of polycarbonate or from a double glass.
Sometimes greenhouses are partially built into the ground, with the floor below the frost level of the surrounding soil.
Thus, better thermal insulation is achieved without reducing the glass surface on which the sun can enter. In the series of articles How to properly build an effective greenhouse? I will explain at length how to build such a structure.
In addition to the energy from the sun, heating the greenhouses is done with wood, gas or electricity. Electricity can come from renewable sources, namely solar or wind energy.
Obviously, the heat in the greenhouse comes predominantly from the sun. Newer, especially in large greenhouses, can also be used for geothermal heating sources.
Drilling rigs for such installations are quite expensive but worth every cent. The greenhouses have a solid floor, and the crops are usually arranged on growth benches for better access by the farmer.
The energy that does not come from the sun is used to prevent the temperature from falling below a certain level specific to the culture practiced.
Hybrid structures between solar and greenhouse
In practice, hybrid structures are built, i.e., foundation solariums. But the essential part that will continue to make the difference between the two is the alternative source of heating.
If a solar-like structure has an alternative source of energy, then it is actually a greenhouse built of worse materials.
I want to mention that a solarium will not be able to support hundreds of kilos of load per square meter.
This load occurs during heavy winters, with massive snowfall. So even if we make investments and equip greenhouses with installations, it is worth knowing the possible risks. I do not recommend these hybrid structures unless you have a choice.
To support the solariums during the heavy winters, put some wooden props, at the intersections of the pipes that support the plastic foil. Some greenhouses, appear as a development over time of some solariums.
This happens, especially when you do not have the money you need for a greenhouse from the beginning. If you plan to do this, try welding or fixing some more serious steel pipes or bars.
That is why I was recommending steel and avoiding plastic or wood structures. The wood is very durable, but not too durable. Calculating the price per year may be the most expensive option.
The greenhouses are not solar, and the differences between them are much greater than the fact that some are covered with plastic and others with glass. In fact, this difference is not even a real one, they are greenhouses all over, covered with plastic.
There are large commercial greenhouses, built in the form of geodome, entirely covered with inflatable plastic foil.
These structures have excellent performance and a very low price. However, they are greenhouses, not solar, because they have an alternative source of heating to the sun.
We can see a large greenhouse. Inside, they even grow trees, and the height of the building allows them to grow in the future. At the top, we can see district heating installations.
The bent pipe is the tour, and hot water passes there. It is bent because it expands quite a bit when the temperature changes.
The other pipe, the return, flows already cooled water, and the dilation is much smaller, needing no expansion loop.
The flow pipe that carries hot water to different parts of the greenhouse is partially insulated to dissipate heat in a controlled manner.
The greenhouse is also equipped with lighting for the moments you spend there at night.