Many millions of recreational gardeners can extend their growing season, by weeks or even months by building their own greenhouses. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, able to hold a few plants or a veritable jungle. A number of manufacturers offer kits that utilize advances in plastics to create projects that are ideal for the do-it-yourself enthusiast.
Greenhouse kit ($50-$4000)
Foundation materials. These can be landscape timbers, bricks, or cement.
Nut driver or socket wrench
Deck screws. Galvanized or coated for rust prevention.
1. Site selection and preparation are the first considerations. A location that receives plenty of sunlight and is relatively protected from the wind is ideal for the greenhouse.
2. Once the site has been selected, thoroughly read all directions in your kit before proceeding.
3. A properly laid foundation will ensure that the greenhouse will be assembled in the correct manner, and that it will be plumb and square.
4. Initially the site should be cleared of debris, raked, and leveled.
5. A weed barrier of plastic sheeting can be laid to prevent growth into the greenhouse, unless you intended to plant directly into the ground within the greenhouse. For flooring pour a layer of gravel or mulch several inches deep, or lay pavestones to create a pathway.
6. Open the kit, layout the walls of the greenhouse, and assemble them as instructed.
7. Attach the walls together, and then assemble any window vents and the door.
8. Install the polycarbonate panels into the window vents and door, then allow the silicone adhesive time to dry before they are installed.
9. Install the rest of the polycarbonate panels around the greenhouse.
10. Only after all the panels are installed should you secure the greenhouse to its base. The panels will ensure that the structure is square. If you attempt to secure it to the base before hand, the panels may be very difficult to install.
11. Once the panels are installed you can bring shelving or racks into the greenhouse to suit your purposes.
12. In northern climates using a small heater is recommended on cold nights.
13. Most greenhouse kits will make recommendations about how you can plumb or wire electricity into the greenhouse. A certified electrician or a plumber would be the best choice for the jobs, and may even be required in certain areas. Check your local municipal codes to find out.
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