Select Greenhouse Designs that Maximize Growing Space.
The best greenhouse designs allow you to grow, as well as, utilize vertical space, allow areas for you to work and incorporate heating. There are several things to consider when laying out your greenhouse design.
How much space do you need for your growing area?
This will depend on how much produce you want to grow per season. Also, if you are considering vertical gardening and/or square foot gardening, you will need less space than traditional growing. Companion planting can also help your plants to produce more, even though you are not using any extra space. According to an a few articles I read in Mother Earth News, where it claims the possibility of harvesting over 230 lbs of fresh produce in 100 sq ft of gardening space, over the course of a summer season with conventional method.
This could significantly reduce the grocery bill.
How can you use vertical space, inside your greenhouse, that won’t shade your plants?
You can hang tools on the north or west wall, so you don’t shade essential light. You can grow strawberries vertically against the west wall. Shorter plants such as lettuces and carrots should be grown on the east side of the greenhouse so they are not shaded. Taller plants such as tomatoes and pole beans should be grown on the north side.
How wide should the aisles be, inside the greenhouse?
If you plan to use a wheelbarrow, the aisles should be wide enough to let it through. A mini wheelbarrow might work better for a hobby greenhouse. If you do not plan to use a standard size wheelbarrow, how will you get your soil into your growing area? Also, hold the handles of your wheelbarrow; this will extend the space requirement about 2 inches on either side. Make sure the aisles are wide enough to account for your hands, so you can move through without scraping them.
Will your greenhouse design incorporate raised grow beds?
You do not NEED grow beds, however you might want to consider them for a few reasons. Typically outdoor gardening can be back breaking. Inside a greenhouse, grow beds remove the need to bend and stoop over your garden. Raised beds will expose your plants to more light, especially if your greenhouse has sidewalls. Grow beds will also ensure that no one will step on your soil to compress it or plants to break them.
How wide should the grow beds be?
Your grow beds should be as wide as your reach. If you have space for a center grow bed, it can be twice that, since you will be able to access it from both sides. You will want to abide by suggested spacing requirements per plant as crowded plants may yield less produce.
Do I need to incorporate a workspace in my design?
A work space will make things easier for you when it comes to seed starting, documenting crops performance and rotations, storage for seeds, gardening accessories and tools, storing bins for compost and handling nutrient and soil preparation. Your best option may be a simple worktable with a few shelves and space for bins beneath. A stool might also keep you more comfortable in your greenhouse.
What kind of heating will your greenhouse design accommodate?
You greenhouse design should be able to incorporate a heat source if you live in a colder climate. Some possible heating solutions that would be most natural are a rocket mass heater, passive solar water tank, or geothermal heating. Some benefits of these solutions are, they can double as other uses in the greenhouse. A rocket mass heater can double as a bench on one side and backed by a grow bed on the other side. This can provide a heated seat and grow bed at the same time. A solar water tank can double as a fish tank if you plan to use Aquaponics. A colleague mentioned to me that he finds used hot tubs for sale online, they have been known to provide a great solution if you intend to implement Aquaponics growing.
If you find yourself overwhelmed making a decision on selecting a greenhouse design, just know you are not alone. We were stuck in that mode for a long while. Call us to see if we can help you figure things out, 1-781-816-7811 or send your questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.