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Check the system, especially the fine nozzles etc., regularly.

Hygiene: Hygiene is very essential in your greenhouse. Clean all parts of your greenhouse with a disinfectant once a year.

Check all plants for pests and any disease symptoms

regularly.

You might use any of several suggested pest control choices

available across different chemical suppliers but keep in touch

with the latest regulations on user safety and also with-

holding periods for any chemical you apply to edible plants.

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Ten Steps to Building a Greenhouse

Building a greenhouse does not have to cost a fortune.

Planning to minimize your set-up and recurring costs will be

well worthwhile.

Your greenhouse could provide a superb environment with

sufficient and appropriate sunlight for your plants. Early

morning and late evening sunlight is the best. You should

provide shade from the afternoon sun for your plants.

Building a greenhouse

A southeast location should be considered. The east-side

location could receive maximum sunshine from November to

March and this can help plants start with their food production

earlier than usual.

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Greenhouse planning also depends on the type and variety of

plants you want to grow. Site selection for your greenhouse

should include planning to have sufficient drainage to

accommodate the heaviest type of rain to be expected in your

location. If there is insufficient drainage around your

greenhouse, think about placing it on a higher level so that

excessive water can drain away more easily.

Lettuces in a greenhouse

Your greenhouse should also have sufficient space to keep all

accessories and for you or your staff to do your potting and

other gardening work safely and without stress.

Materials for Building Your Greenhouse:

1) Fifteen 5/8" x 6' lengths

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2) Four foot lengths of schedule 40 PVC

3) Seven twenty foot pieces of schedule 40 PVC with a size

3/16 drilled hole at ten feet

4) Eighty pieces of 2 x 4 wood

5) Sixty 2” fence staples

6) Four eight-foot long fence posts

7) UV polyethylene 40” x 24 feet

Creating a beautiful greenhouse

Steps for Building Your Greenhouse

1) Erect the six feet pieces within a distance of four feet in marked area. Allow protrusion of 48” from the ground.

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2) Use the fence staples to nail a 2 x 6 runner on rebar

stakes.

3) Put twenty-foot rebar stakes on PVC pipes. You may

need another person to hold one end while you do the

other end. All drilled holes should be on a line parallel to

the ground.

4) Slide PVC pipes over rebar stakes, making sure there

are no sharp ends or rough pipes.

5) Carefully slide wire through all PVC holes and along the eight PVC pipes forming the roof.

6) You also have to wire together the four-foot PVC pipe

lengths with copper or baling wire. Wrapped wire can

force PVC pipe inward.

7) Use vertical 4x4 foot posts to construct end walls. Check that your end walls are vertically straight.

8) The door should be tight to prevent wind from entering

the greenhouse possibly causing problems.

9) Fix nails on the horizontal posts and push them into the ground.

10)

With help from others, slide the plastic over the

cage and secure the ends by nailing it.

Your greenhouse is ready for setting up the internal climate.

Then, you can add any of your own innovations.

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Do You Need a Customized Greenhouse?

A customized greenhouse is specific to your needs and

specifications. Many people do not like ready-made

greenhouses, as they do not fit into their ideas and choices.

There are other factors that play a role in having a customized

greenhouse. If the available site for your greenhouse is not

even, you need to get a specially adapted greenhouse to fit

the site.

Flowerpots in a greenhouse

Some could need a greenhouse that can be expanded

regularly to accommodate more plants. Of course, if you are

focused on commercial growing, prefabricated greenhouses

would probably be a poor choice.

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Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building your own greenhouse has its advantages. You can

accommodate your preferences of size, shape and fitting out.

You can design the placements of your plants for convenience

and good work-flow.

More flowerpots in a greenhouse

The first consideration is the size of your greenhouse. More

space means that you should be able to arrange all plants as

you want them but it will increase the setting-up and ongoing

maintenance costs.

Your greenhouse should be able to cope with the temperatures

in your area. If you live in a hot, tropical climate, the

greenhouse could require good cooling facilities and you need

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adequate heating systems to keep your plants warm

throughout the cold winter months if you live in a cold climate.

Growing tomatoes in a commercial greenhouse

Maintaining necessary heat and warmth requires adequate

electricity. Check into available electrical voltage, cost per

KWH. Also, look into other options for producing the necessary

warmth, like LP Gas, Natural Gas, Wood, and any other

options that are available economically in your area.

Next, check water quality in the area before starting your

customized greenhouse.

The next step is to make an approximate sketch of your

proposed greenhouse with all imaginable details. Also sketch a

little of the exterior like roads, buildings, gas lines, trees,

electrical poles, hills etc.

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The important part of building your customized greenhouse is

to decide first on the type of crop you plan to grow. You can

also try growing multiple crops and vegetables.

Greenhouse with Garden Balsam

Further customization of your greenhouse to your preferred

style might include vented or ground-to-ground enhancements

or changing the type of covering for your greenhouse to

polycarbonate, double poly, or something else.

Building as big a greenhouse as your goals and resources

permit may be the best option. You will inevitably accumulate

more plants and the list of varieties could also start growing.

The extra space within your greenhouse that you might have

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been unsure that you would need when you started could help

accommodate your growing brood.

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Important Factors

1] Ventilation is a key factor for maintaining your

greenhouse and the health of the plants which it protects.

Sufficient ventilation will help to keep your greenhouse free of

pests and diseases that could harm your plants extensively.

2] Educate yourself about proper disinfecting plans to maintain proper hygiene within your greenhouse.

3] Covering of your greenhouse should, ideally, be glass.

Although it is the best, it is also the most expensive. Plastic

sheets may be used but do not last long. A cheaper alternative

to glass is fiberglass or similar rigid plastics. You can fix the

fiberglass on a straight or curved surface of your greenhouse.

Some fiberglass is UV resistant too.

4] Flooring of your greenhouse could be concrete or even

bare ground. You can make a gravel walkway or think of other

innovative techniques to make the floor of your greenhouse

both serviceable and easy on the eye.

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Planning a Greenhouse Business

A Greenhouse business is similar to any other type of

business and requires a similar amount of commitment, risk-

taking ability and capital.

You need to gather:

1) Finance

2) Experienced staff, full or part-time

3) Materials for constructing your greenhouse

4) Plants

5) Pest control products, and ….

6) Reliable and economical sources of the above

You need to devote sufficient time and effort in caring for your

greenhouse. It’s pretty much a 365 days of the year and all

seven days of the week business too.

Essentially, planning and running your greenhouse business

will demand extensive passion and a strong desire to excel.

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Tomatoes growing In a greenhouse

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Essential Steps in Planning

Your Greenhouse Business

Goal Identification: Starting a greenhouse business could be due to your interest in gardening, but it is impossible to

prosper in business if you do not have a sure and secure

profit-making objective. You must analyze costs very closely.

Also, gain as much knowledge through discussions with others

that are more experienced in the greenhouse industry to find:

The best sources of products, supplies and finance

The most suitable varieties of each type of plant you grow or

sell;

Suitable gross profit margins to help through the lean times.

Those who may help by joining you to save on advertising,

bulk ordering and trading products with you when one of you

has orders which they cannot fill from stock.

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Boxed and suspended flowers in a commercial greenhouse

Market Study: This forms the core of any business. Study

market demand for crops you intend growing. Study your

competitors and identify opportunities which they are not

exploiting. Of course, there may be good, but not obvious

reasons why they do not offer certain varieties which you are

asked for – they may avoid refunds and complaints by not

selling a particular plant because they know it may need

special care that their customers are not able or willing to

give.

Writing a Business Plan: Draft your greenhouse business

plan to carefully review all facets of your business. Don’t try to do this in just one session. You will think of some things once

you’ve stocked your sub-conscious with the facts you’ve

gathered and you will need to review all your assumptions

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when you have discussed your goals with professional advisers

and people that are experienced in the industry.

Site Selection: The minimum area necessary for your

greenhouse is probably at least two acres. If you are planning

a commercial greenhouse, you will need as wide as possible

an expanse of free land.

Carefully check accessibility to the site of your proposed

greenhouse both legally and by carefully checking the whole

area. Check with local government about any proposed

changes or new developments already seeking approval.

Also, look for the best available sources of water, heat,

electricity, labor and ventilation.

Look into environmental feasibility for protection against snow,

hailstorms, rainfall, drainage, strong winds, and how you can

legally dispose of waste materials.

Keep sufficient open space for further expansion in the future.

You should also look into the cost of land for your greenhouse

so that it does not cause a huge debt on your business.

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Greenhouse with Geraniums

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Which Type of Greenhouse?

A freestanding greenhouse often proves to be the best choice

if you plan a greenhouse of less than 10,000 square feet.

This type of greenhouse is one of the easiest types to build

and maintain as it has its own cooling and heating systems.

This is a big factor in non-level sites and areas of heavy

snowfall or rain. Maintenance is easier and cost-effective with

better possibilities for expansion.

A gutter-connected greenhouse is suitable if you have a

cultivatable area of more than 20,000 square feet. This type of

greenhouse usually requires fairly easy installation of the

necessary utilities like centralized heat, increased labor

efficiency, and better possibilities to adapt to the available

environment.

Greenhouse Accessories

Have proper covering for the ground inside the greenhouse,

whether gravel, heavy plastic, concrete or woven cloth. Bare

ground encourages and houses pests and diseases.

Use proper benching for plants with movable aisles at the

proper heights.

Have sufficient storage space within your greenhouse for

storing plants, mixing, transplanting, keeping tools and pots.

Also, look into other administrative requirements like the local

fire code requirements, building codes etc.

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Checking the compliance costs in these areas is an essential

part of your planning for a profitable greenhouse business.

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Top Greenhouse Kits

Greenhouse kits help you set up your greenhouse in less time

and usually require less labor than a set-up from raw

materials.

Popular greenhouse kits include:

Weatherguard Greenhouse 6Hx6W: You can purchase

either the 6.5' H x 6' W x 8' L model or a 12' L model. This

greenhouse kit comes with a galvanized steel frame and

three-layer polyethylene film on the sides. Side vents provide

ventilation while the doors and roof have UV-protection. There

is no need of any foundation and you can hang plants from the

frame. This costs around $217 at time of writing.

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King Canopy 10 x 10 Greenhouse: This greenhouse is

currently available as 10.26'L x 9.30'W x 8'H. It is

recommended for areas that do not have any snowfall; the

galvanized steel frame, with polyethylene or plastic sides, may

not provide sufficient insulation. However, easy installation of

the kit makes it very popular. Ventilation is by unzipping rear

and front panels. Brackets and shelves are available

separately. There is no need for a foundation. It costs around

$199 to $419.

Rion PolyGreenhouse: This greenhouse has 6-mil

polyethylene sheeting rated for 93% light penetration for

three years. The heavy gauge frame of extruded aluminum is

weather resistant. It is easy to assemble this greenhouse with

an easy lock system. This maintains perfect humidity and

temperature levels. Insulation is better through the door and

extraction vents than some others. This greenhouse measures

6x8 or 6x10 and costs around $599.

Flowerhouse FHCV900 Conservatory Greenhouse: This

plastic round-shaped greenhouse, with a height of 10' and

diameter of 9' has a three-year warranty. A galvanized steel

frame with polyethylene sides offers complete protection.

Additionally, a zippered front door and screened side windows

allow easy ventilation. The kit is available with tie-downs, ground stakes and shade cover too. There is easy access for

power and water. It does not require any foundation and is

available in 10' H x 9' W x 9' D size, costing $349.

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Gardman Complete Walk-In Greenhouse: This free-

standing greenhouse has an aluminum frame with galvanized

steel coating, roof venting and twin-wall polycarbonate siding.

It is available in three sizes; 4x6, 6x6, and 6x8 and costs

range from $559.99 to $719.99.

All prices and features may change at any time. Ratings are

the writer’s personal views and not guaranteed in any way.

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Part-III: Basics of Greenhouse Construction

Planning Your Greenhouse Location

Location plays an important role in the maintenance and

upkeep of your greenhouse. Ideally, you should plan carefully

the whole area for locating your greenhouse. This helps in

planning and deciding on other essentials of a greenhouse

business.

Planning Your Greenhouse Location

Direction of Greenhouse: If you plan for an attached or

lean-to greenhouse, it should be on the south side of the

building, preferably on the southeast. This direction helps your

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greenhouse to receive the cool early morning sunlight. It can

start food production early and does not endure as much of

the stronger afternoon sunlight. There is less of a problem of

overheating, too.

Never place your greenhouse in the north. That direction can

suit only those plants that require very little or no light at all.

If you choose a freestanding greenhouse, place it to the north

of deciduous trees like oaks and maple. These trees provide

the required shade during summer afternoons. In winter, they

shed their leaves and the bare trees allow easy penetration of

winter sun all day.

Do not place your greenhouse near shady evergreen trees.

These could be useful in summer but will reduce the sunlight

available in the winter months.

If there is a need, you can use “grow lights” to supplement

available sunlight.

Slope: Although flat and level land is the best for your

greenhouse, south or a south-east facing slope can prove

advantageous too. You can dig around to form a suitable slope

but this will increase your initial costs and set-up time too.

Orientation: Orientation of your greenhouse does not always depend only on the direction. It is also affected by the latitude

where you are located.

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A north-south orientation can help in better distribution of

sunlight. But, in places above forty degrees north latitude, it is best to have an east-west orientation. This orientation allows

the maximum surface area to receive sunlight.

Accessibility of Basic Requirements: Your greenhouse

should have the best possible access to water, gas and an

electricity supply. Using a hosepipe for the water supply can

prove irritating. Use a proper circuit breaker for uninterrupted

supply of electricity for your greenhouse.

Your greenhouse should be arranged to have easy access from

your home.

Drainage: Easy drainage is essential so that water does not stay near your greenhouse. You can set or build your

greenhouse at an elevated point for easy draining of water. A

gravel floor can aid good drainage.

Placement of Greenhouse: You can place your greenhouse

anywhere you want. It could be on a gravel base, lawn,

wooden deck, brick patio, or a concrete slab too. Laying down

landscape cloths on the surface helps to prevents growth of

weeds in your greenhouse.

Type of Plants: The type of plants you intend growing in your greenhouse will define the best location for your greenhouse.

Orchids and African violets need more exposure in the north.

Most other types of plants will probably do better if the

greenhouse is in the southeast.

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Plants requiring northern exposure could incur higher heating

costs for you.

Wind: Your greenhouse needs adequate protection from wind

too. Although ventilation is essential, do not place the

greenhouse where it receives the strongest winds directly.

This might prove disastrous for your plants. Put your

greenhouse where it is best sheltered from strong winds and

windstorms. Base your level of protection on the strength of

the worst winds you get in an average year.

Your greenhouse location should suit both summer and winter

seasons.

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The Best Frame for Your Greenhouse

There are different types and shapes of greenhouse frames.

Consider these for your greenhouse:

Framing Your Greenhouse

Gothic: As the name suggests, this frame has a gothic shape that allows greater headspace near the sidewalls. The ridge

often supports wooden arches.

Quonset: This has a circular frame of galvanized steel. The side height of this frame is low and normally has a plastic

sheet covering. The frame allows easy circulation of electricity

but moving space is restricted due to the shape.

Rigid-frame: This frame has vertical sidewalls. Nailed plywood gussets connect the sidewalls to the rafters, forming

a single rigid frame. There is no need for any columns to

support the roof. This frame supports maximum air circulation

and probably the most spacious interior too.

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Post and Rafter Frame: This frame has a simple

construction of rafters and embedded post. Strong sidewall

posts can withstand strong wind pressures. Spacious sidewalls

allow easy air circulation. This frame requires more wood and

steel than other frames.

A-Frame: This is similar to the post and rafters frame. This frame supports various cross rafters from the ridge to the

outer rafters. This frame is among the easiest to make.

Diagonal bracing wires add to the strength of the A-frames.

Panel Frame: This frame is usually quite expensive as it

involves extensive carpentry work. The panels are plastic. So,

this frame can be easily dismantled during summer months to

increase the lifespan of the plastic. Placing some vents can

improve ventilation extensively.

Pipe Frame: You use a pipe within a greenhouse to let in air.

Greenhouse chambers are made of two layers of 4 to 6 mil

film. Air pressure forces the inner film layers over the circular

pipes. This forms a circular shape on the outside. The top,

outer layer bloats three to four inches from the top frame and

one to two inches from the foundation. Air comes in through a

six-inch plastic tube. A manometer (device that measures gas

and vapor pressures) helps regulate static air pressure within

the film layers.

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Making an ideal choice of framing materials from available

options of wood, aluminum, steel, and PVC can help you get

the durable and economical frame for your greenhouse.

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Choose the Covering for Your Greenhouse

There are many materials available for covering your

greenhouse. Each of these materials has their own advantages

and disadvantages. You can choose the most suitable covering

from these:

Exterior of traditional Greenhouse

Glass: Greenhouses are traditionally covered with glass. This may be as straight, slanted or curved covers. Such glass

coverings help to assure that you get an airtight structure that

lowers heating costs.

Visibility within a glass-covered greenhouse is very high and

maintenance costs are usually low too.

However, glass is very brittle and can break easily. Being very

heavy, it may pose many problems during installation.

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Excessive sun exposure through the glass could cause harm to

your plants.

Plastic: Plastic coverings are becoming very popular. These incur very low building costs; about one tenth of the cost of

glass. Therefore, assessment rates of plastic covered

glasshouses for tax purposes are also low too.

It is easy to heat plastic greenhouses and many plants grow

as well as those in glass greenhouses.

Tomatoes in a greenhouse

Fiberglass: These coverings are very light but very strong.

They offer good resistance to hail. Choose the clearest grade

of fiberglass for your greenhouse, as it allows extensive light

penetration.

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Cheaper and lower quality grades of fiberglass lose their colors

fast and reduce light penetration. It is best not to use colored

fiberglass.

Polyethylene: Polyethylene coverings are very light and allow a lot of light to penetrate inside your greenhouse. These

coverings are useful in all types of weather. But, ultraviolet

rays cause extensive breakdown of polyethylene coverings.

You need to change them annually.

Ultraviolet-inhibited polyethylene has specific inhibitors to

prevent quick break-down.

Special greenhouse panels: These special panels consist of

UV-inhibited corrugated plastic. These strong and durable

panels are very light in weight. The translucent panels allow

soft diffusion of light at around 70% to 75%. They also offer

full protection from snow and winds. These coverings allow

extensive and lush growth of plants in your greenhouses.

Polycarbonate: These coverings are very light and allow

appropriate light diffusion. This reduces plant damage due to

excessive sun exposure. However, visibility within

polycarbonate greenhouses is very low.

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Footings, Flooring and Foundations

Greenhouse structures should be sturdy and a strong

foundation is essential for your greenhouse. The foundation

stores some of the warmth of the sunlight during daylight and

releases it at night.

A greenhouse with a variety of plants

You should consider employing a professional to lay the

foundations of your greenhouse. But, if you want to save

money, exercise all necessary care and equip yourself with the

necessary knowledge about the foundation and flooring of

your greenhouse so you could try to do it yourself.

The foundation for your greenhouse could be brick, wood or

concrete.

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A concrete foundation is durable but may pose problems with

drainage.

If you have a portable greenhouse, choose a gravel mulch

foundation with a dirt floor.

Plan and build a brick foundation with adequate spacing

between bricks. This helps in easing any drainage problems.

Wood could prove to be the most inexpensive of all

foundations. However, you need to re-treat the wood

regularly.

The Footings of Your Greenhouse

Educate yourself on specific building codes before making

footings for your greenhouse. These codes are set up in

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