Being creative and cost-efficient with greenhouse benches and other garden furniture
The right garden furniture can turn your yard into an Eden.
However, buying and installing such furniture pieces can be costly.
Tips to reduce garden expenses
Consider using old furniture from your house.
Kitchen work stations, rolling carts, bookcases, large barrels, highchairs and drawers with chests can be used as greenhouses benches once they are treated with generous coats of disinfectant and paint.
If you are single, do you really need an entire bench for yourself?
Can you suffice with a good old Adirondack chair?
You can hollow out fallen trees from your yard and turn them into garden and work benches.
Old plastic and steel pipes can be bunched up together, welded and painted to create homemade benches.
Instead of a garden bench which is slightly expensive, can you consider setting up a hammock or a swing?
Make the purchase a family affair.
Involve your children in painting and generating ideas.
They will enjoy the action and can maybe even come up with a few ways to save a buck or two!
Greenhouse and Garden Furniture
Garden furniture can accentuate the beauty of your yard in many ways.
The right furniture can also add to garden functionality.
Garden benches are a great way to add decor and storage to your outdoor garden and greenhouses.
Greenhouse benches come in different materials like concrete, marble, stone, plastic and wood, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Seasons and daylight savings will not affect the plant growth, thereby giving you year-round blooms. This is also known as ‘photoperiod lighting’ where low intensity light creates the illusion that days are long and nights are short.
Things to consider when choosing greenhouse lights
Before deciding on the type of lighting for your greenhouse, consider the following:
Amount of solar radiation in the atmosphere — This affects how much light is available for photo synthesis.
Greenhouse factors — Such as the type of greenhouse, glazing used and equipment installed.
Type of crops grown — Certain plants need high beam light, while others may grown better in shade. Choose the lighting depending on the type of plants you intend to grow.
Space available to hang lighting — Lighting will have to be moved upward as the plant grows in height. You’ll have to account for the wiring and socket spaces also.
Electricity and maintenance cost — Perhaps one of the most important factors when deciding your greenhouse budget.
Lighting Control Systems
Lighting is available in various forms, and a combination of lights is usually required to cover the entire light spectrum.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that people perceive light differently than vegetables or plants.
Another point we must remember is that although the spectral quality of the sun is constant, it is greatly variable in duration, intensity and direction.
Lots of strategies, including greenhouse lighting control systems, have been developed to deal with the unwanted indoor lighting conditions.
The greenhouse lighting controls can substitute for many spectrums of sunlight needed for plant growth.
Sunlight conditions in a greenhouse structure can vary expeditiously.
Humidity can affect the temperature and luminescence.
To balance this effect, greenhouse ventilation, shading, heating, humidification, irrigation and lighting components should also be responsive if a controlled environment is to be achieved.
This needs excellent engineering, control devices and proper selection of equipment.
You might have to install timers to manage the duration of light and darkness.
To save electricity, you can also try setting up solar powered greenhouses.
A good lighting control system also needs an understanding of the limitations and capabilities of the greenhouse systems, controllers and sensors.
Greenhouse Lights and Fixtures
Choosing the perfect greenhouse lighting usually needs a basic knowledge of the light source.
Today, there are many different types of greenhouse lights and fixtures available in the market.
Let’s look at some of them:
Florescent Greenhouse Lights
Florescent lights are the best and most cost-effective way of lighting up a greenhouse.
The lights emitted by these bulbs are conducive to the normal growth of plants and flowers.
The cool bulbs convey light in blue color which is effective for seedlings.
The warm bulbs convey red light to help in fruiting and flowering.
Fluorescent grow lights produce very little heat.
For best results, place these bulbs about two inches from the plants.
What makes these grow lights the best for greenhouses is the fact that they are cheap and easy to install.
Also, a typical fluorescent bulb can last for up to 20,000 hours.
It’s a great option for those looking to get value for money.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps
High Intensity Discharge lamps are best suited for bigger plants and flowers.
The light emitting spectrum per square feet is much more than those of other lights.
With more light available, plants will absorb more light.
The fixtures also have reflectors which reflect light back onto plants.
This wide frame lighting can be costlier than others.
They also produce heat and should not be kept too close to the plants for they might burn their leaves.
They are available in two types — High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH).
Metal Halide Lamps
The light emitted through metal halide lamps is almost similar to natural light, therefore, it tremendously aides in the vegetative growth of plants.
It’s great for plants that need environments similar to the ones outdoor and do well in areas that do not get any sunlight.
Moreover, these lights also create a favorable working environment in the greenhouse.
Metal Halide High Intensity Discharge lights convey the blue light need for flowering and budding.
High Pressure Sodium Lamps
These lamps emit orange red lights which aides in the growth of flowers and fruits.
High pressure sodium HIDs supply light in the red spectrum.
However, they are not great for the working environment.
Our eyes will have trouble adjusting to the bright red color.
These lamps are a bit expensive but are as effective as fluorescent lamps.
They last longer than metal halides.
These bulbs are not the natural choice for greenhouse owners as they become hot and are not as effective as other light variants.
These lights emit red spectrum light.
However, due to their high heat output and low intensity, conventional incandescent bulbs are usually considered a poor option for greenhouse lights.
Incandescent lights may be utilized as a secondary lighting option when installed at a safe distance from vegetables or plants.
LED Greenhouse Lights
There is no doubt that LED lighting in greenhouse has its advantages.
LED plant grow lights are the newest option for lighting available for plants and vegetables.
They are advertised to be the coolest and most efficient grow lights available.
They can last for up to 11 years and are easy to hang and install due to their small size.
The spectral output is better in LEDs than in any other type of light.
But certain researchers say that LEDs are not suggested for greenhouse lighting as they tend to give vegetables and plants an uncommon appearance if viewed in natural light.
A garden window adds a three-dimensional interest to a wall with a pleasant vista of potted flowers and plants.
Windows in greenhouses have many advantages.
For example, it can enable a more casual gardener to boost a selection of potted herbs, plants and flowers without the cost or space requirements of a larger size greenhouse structure.
It also provides the ability for an individual to garden straight from the house.
Installing a window in your greenhouse is a great option for adjusting temperature fluctuations within its structure.
Although there are plenty of different styles, shapes and materials for greenhouse windows, most of them are either available in vinyl or aluminum.
The appropriate choice will depend upon weather condition as well as the plants inside.
While vinyl greenhouse windows are more convenient, aluminum greenhouse windows attract far less sunlight.
This may be a deciding element if you would like to boost the feel of the window.
There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages of both aluminum and vinyl greenhouse windows.
Both will typically have side vents for more air circulation control.
Vinyl windows usually have an aluminum frame for additional strength.
It means that the vinyl greenhouse windows are installed in the same manner as aluminum ones.
Tips for greenhouse window
When it comes to installing windows, you will have to measure your space to determine how much garden area is needed for it.
Depending on the smoothness of the greenhouse’s exterior, you may have to establish a small foundation where you want to fasten your window.
When you have fastened the new window to the greenhouse, you may have to establish supports to make sure that your greenhouse window does not break and fall.
While there are numerous types of flowers and plants that could be placed by a greenhouse window, it is best to narrow down your options and not crowd the window in case the greens block lights for other plants.
Greenhouse glass is just like any other piece of glass that is used on windows, but with a coating that prevents condensation on the surface.
Glass is the most important material in a greenhouse as it allows for sunlight to enter by trapping the radiant heat created inside.
This makes it a passive solar collector.
The larger the pane of greenhouse glass, the more light it captures.
Smaller panes are cheaper, but there will have to be more frame area, which will block light.
A large pane will be expensive to replace and heavy in weight.
It will require a more durable frame, but will greatly improve the amount of light that is allowed into the greenhouse.
Glass is not the best heat absorber in itself.
So a heater might have to be used during nights in large window pane greenhouses.
A popular alternative to greenhouse glass is fiber glass.
It is much cheaper and lighter than glass, but has less light transmission features and yellows quickly.
It also cracks over time and needs regular replacement which negates the saved costs over glass.
Fiber glass looks cheap as well.
Polycarbonate sheeting is similar to glass in light transmission and is better at retaining heat.
It is less prone to breakage, but tends to deteriorates over time.
All these factors play a big role in deciding your entire heating system.
The ideal temperature control system manages the climate by minimizing the adverse effects of both extremes.
Make your decision on purchasing the best greenhouse heaters and climate control equipment by carefully considering the factors mentioned in this article.
This type of watering system facilitates climate control.
Drip feed greenhouse watering system
If either water conservation or avoiding leaf mold is a concern for you, you may want to consider a drip feed system.
These systems feed water directly to the base of plants via plastic tubing at a set rate.
The water reached to each individual plant can be controlled with an automatic sensor.
Drip or trickle greenhouse irrigation systems work best for most vegetables and plants.
They are the most common type of watering system used these days.
They are also extremely water efficient and prevent the wetting of leaves and stems.
A sprinkler greenhouse watering system enables a gardener to water a large space at once.
Not just is this system an effective use of water, it also enables a gardener to control which parts are watered and when.
These systems can be installed inside a structure or high tunnel.
They can be used in gardens, fields and yards.
Greenhouse structures allow for good control over the growing environment of its crops.
Greenhouse aquatics take advantage of this greater environment to grow plants in very harsh weather conditions.
They create bodies of flowing or still water within the walls of the greenhouse to constantly maintain moisture levels.
Common greenhouse aquatic structures include large ponds for growing water plants, indoor water gardens, living aquariums with decorative additions like fish and other aquatic plants.
Even fountains can add to the moisture in the greenhouse while making the experience more enjoyable and tranquil.
When creating ponds inside greenhouses, you can make borders easily by lining the water body with any size or type of rocks.
You will also need to create a foundation to hold the water about a foot deep from the surface.
The water inside will need to be kept warm.
If the greenhouse structure is well insulated, the stones covering the pond at night could be enough to sustain the water warm, depending on the outside temperatures.
To maintain aquatic plants, be mindful of weeds that quickly grow to take over the pond.
They can overpower the whole surface of the area, blocking the solar energy from reaching the aquatic plants.
Weeds ought to be removed quickly and buried or composted.
Hydroponics refer to a system of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich rooting medium.
These systems do not have lots of heavy soil for the plants, hence the roots do not have to work themselves much to reach for nutrients.
Because of this, plants focus their energies on growing upwards rather than downwards, giving better yield and fruit.
They also use less water and soil, hence reducing wastage and overall pollution.
It also prevents the growth of mold, pests and soil degradation.
However, these systems of growing plants are for experienced hands and need a constant supply of water at all times.
They are expensive to install also.
Supplies needed for setting up a greenhouse watering system
All of the above systems require a few basic greenhouse watering supplies if you intent to assemble them at home.
You can purchase them at any hardware store.
Set up your own DIY greenhouse watering system
You will almost invariably use PVC piping to get the water from its source near your plants or into the evaporator cooler.
Then, you will either need misting nozzles to get the water airborne, or a drip line hosing to run to the individual plants.
PVC piping requires bonding tape for a water-tight seal at the joints.
Drip hosing comes with T connectors and staking to install it in the dirt.
Regardless of what type of system you use, a good greenhouse watering supply system will save you hours of labor once installed.
Automatic greenhouse watering systems
Having a greenhouse watering system that is automatic gives you the advantage of saving time and labor costs.
For this, you will need to plan out your watering system well.
You need to figure out what your vegetables and plants need in terms of moisture and water levels.
Some plants and vegetables will need more water, while others not as much.
Cut flowers prefer drip watering while vegetables can benefit from wide-reaching sprinklers.
Automatic greenhouse watering systems work in different ways.
Some by filling up a reservoir with water and dispensing it in several time intervals; others having portable timers to spray plants with different densities of water.
Making your greenhouse watering system truly efficient
Did you know that in the US alone, 38% of freshwater consumption is used solely for irrigation.
Across the world, the number is as high as 80%.
This means that there is a huge strain on water available in the water table for other purposes.
Wasteful irrigation practices can impact local water supplies in a big way.
And you can do your part to save water by implementing a few simple steps such as:
Periodically checking for leaks and faults in piping.
Using rain water harvesting and collecting storm water from your gutters and roof.
Using drip watering instead of conventional methods of irrigation.
Collecting irrigation run-offs, filtering and recirculating it within the greenhouse watering system.
Controling the amount of solar radiation and shade within your greenhouse. This will directly impact the amount of water that will evaporate away. More about the best shade systems for greenhouses here.
Of all the flowers known, the orchid is one of the most beautiful.
A lot of people have found pleasure in growing orchids in their homes and yards.
However, not everyone knows how to water these flowers properly.
These are do-it-yourself packages which you can buy from stores or the online marketplace which have all the items needed to set up your greenhouse from scratch.
This includes the frame, covering and hardware needed during installation.
What are the ideal space requirements for an indoor greenhouse?
Before you decide on the spacing requirements for your greenhouse, you’ll have to choose a right location for your indoor garden.
The perfect location would be one which gets plenty of sunlight, like a south-facing patio door or window.
You’ll also need a spot with high natural humidity and temperature.
Once you have these factors accounted for, go ahead and think about the space requirements you’ll need.
Indoor Greenhouse Space Requirements
A good ratio to build your greenhouse is 3:1.
You can experiment with these figures to assemble an apt greenhouse.
You can grow plants indoors with something as small as a 20 x 20 inch mirror box on your coffee table!
This will be cozy enough for small apartments.
You can also recycle old windows into greenhouse boxes.
Flats are a great way to grow herbs and small plants.
With dimensions of 10 x 20 inches, you can place them on the ground or on an elevated desk.
Additional shelving above this desk can help you add plants on the wall above at no extra space.
For a beginner indoor grower, you’ll need at least 6×8 feet worth of space with an ideal dimension of 10×10 feet.
Another point to note is that the width of the greenhouse will determine how you place the benches and aisles.
For hobby growers, you’ll need widths of around 8 to 10 feet, scaling up to 12 to 20 feet.
Widths for commercial growers will range from 20 feet on wards.
In some greenhouse kits, the dimensions mentioned would be including the thickness of the walls.
So the inner width and height available for plants would be lesser than the size mentioned on the kit.
You will have to clarify this with the manufacturer.
The bigger the greenhouse, the greater will be the cost associated with it.
You’ll have to account for this as well.
Also, as the plants grow bigger, you will need larger pots and shelving areas to hold them.
Consider this too when planning for your greenhouse.
Greenhouse equipment must be stored nearby.
You’ll have to think of places to store gloves and tools as well when establishing your greenhouse.
Indoor culinary herb garden kit
For hobby gardeners and indoor growers who want to grow herbs and food for their families in small amounts, culinary herb garden kits are available in many stores.
An indoor culinary herb garden kit is designed to help you start culinary and medicinal herbs in your own kitchen with a neat little 12 x 12 x 5 inch greenhouse.
This greenhouse provides the perfect climate for quick healing herb growth.
The kit also comes with an innovative stacking or hanging, indoor/outdoor garden planter.
We have included 12 different types of culinary herbs for you to try in your kit — parsley, thyme, cilantro or coriander, lemon basil, dill, oregano, sweet marjoram, chives, savory, garlic chives, mustard, sage along with a package of 50 Jiffy® peat pellets.
It’s a convenient, no-mess way to start seeds.
Just add water and the pellets expand to form the pot and soil in one single entity.
Once you get your herbs started, you can transfer them to the included stackable planter for indoor or outdoor growing.
Experiment inside as well as outside.
You will be growing your own cooking herbs in just a few days.
Indoor greenhouse supplies you will need
If you want to be ready to grow your favorite plants year round and are hoping to start a greenhouse this year, now is the time to buy indoor greenhouse supplies.
Indoor greenhouse supplies, construction kits and plans can be easily found at home improvement shops.
Garden centers are also good places for accessory products such as fertilizers and pots.
Contacting suppliers directly can give you better discounts and offers on greenhouse supplies.
Greenhouse equipment should be eco-friendly and cost-effective for the benefit of the owner and the environment.
There are several types of greenhouse equipment, broadly divided into potting, furniture, climate control and irrigation systems, fertilizers, pest control and mini accessories like gloves, shovels and tools.
Exhaust fans, flower baskets, sprinkler systems, thermostats, heaters and shade cloths are some of the essential items needed to run a medium-to-large size greenhouse.
When purchasing these items, you will need adequate shelving and storage areas to keep them safe and secure.
Reusing home items as garden benches and kitchen containers as pots are good ways to save money on equipment.
Otherwise, you can find wholesale dealers who sell seed trays, coverings, pipes and tools in bulk.
You can also rent greenhouse equipment to save cost and time.