4 Types of Greenhouses
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4 Types of Greenhouses

Greenhouses allow for an extension in the growing season for many gardeners and is especially beneficial in northern climates. This article lists 4 types of greenhouse which can be utilized by novice and professional gardeners alike. Greenhouses range in size from tabletop to huge commercial operations, but the basic requirements are the same.

Greenhouses come in many shapes, sizes and styles. This article outlines four basic types that people are most familiar with.

  1. Tabletop – this type is one of the smallest you can have. There are mini greenhouses available at your local garden center which usually contain a base, lid and either peat pellets or potting soil. Some may even contain seeds. For an interesting centerpiece, a glass cake server also provides the perfect environment for young seedlings. For the hobby gardener this is often an alternative to purchasing bedding plants from a garden center.
  2. Window greenhouses make the most of a small space. They are ideal for apartment dwellers or those who enjoy starting their own bedding plants in small quantities. They may be used year round, although in colder climates they may require an additional heat source. They are most suited for starting plants or growing tropical plants. A tomato or cucumber plant will quickly take over the space. Growing herbs in a kitchen window greenhouse is ideal as you have access to the freshest food seasonings available year round.
  3. Back yard (freestanding) greenhouses are perfect for the gardener who wants to start and grow their own produce. Tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, peppers, cantaloupe and honeydew are just a few of the plants that thrive in a greenhouse. The controlled moisture, heat and humidity help produce mature fruits and vegetables in a shorter time than if grown in the garden. To utilize space, cucumbers and other melons are trained to grow upward instead of outward. This also promotes air circulation and helps prevent mold or mildew from forming on the leaves.
  4. Commercial greenhouses range in size, depending on the intended variety and quantities of plants grown. A commercial greenhouse can be operated from a backyard or an industrial area. Many stay-at-home parents subsidize the family income by selling bedding plants and produce they have grown from seed. The larger greenhouses are filled with bedding plants, trees, shrubs, tropical plants and vines which are sold to garden centers and the public. The largest greenhouses are often operated solely for the purpose of distributing to chain stores and are closed to the public. In addition to selling only bedding plants and trees, many larger greenhouses will expand their inventory by offering planters, garden lighting and decorations, trellises, arbors and garden furniture.

One important thing to remember about greenhouses is the fact they heat up quickly in the sun. To truly benefit from a greenhouse you must be sure you are providing adequate ventilation during hot periods, and an additional heat source during cool periods. In northern climates the temperatures may vary greatly in a 24 hour period, so keep an eye on the temperatures. For the novice gardener there may be some plant loss due to fluctuating temperatures, but if monitored properly even the rookie gardener can be successful.

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