The Flamingo Pond

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Patio greenhouses -- home gardening ideas

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patio greenhouses
A small area for gardening doesn't mean that you don't have enough room to set up your own greenhouse. By varying the designs and structures to suit a particular space, patio greenhouses have been long a staple in any plant lovers' yard. The best ones include 4-tiers with transparent all-around covers. Others have a horizontal orientation with 4 separate rows. Although these greenhouses are usually found in yards, there is no reason you cannot use it it on your balcony, or even your room. A patio greenhouse is easy to assemble in the smallest of spaces.


Winter over your plants with a greenhouse

A lot of garden in a small space

Consider the size of your chosen space versus the number of plants you would like to place in your greenhouse. Think about possible tiers and shelving configurations for the available space -- and always buy bigger than you think you need. If you are like me, new plants have a habit of "following you home" from the nursery. The number you have at the beginning of the winter may increase if your plants gain new friends over the winter.

High-light or low-light?

Be sure to allow a large enough footprint to accommodate the light needs of all your plants. High-light plants need to be placed near the window areas and ceiling. Low-light plants should be placed toward the interior or behind other plants. If you have a lot of low-light plants, have shade cloth at the ready in case of unseasonal amounts of sunlight.

Easy plant care

Another consideration is access to individual plants. Will you be able to reach all the plants easily to water them? Do you have the proper watering equipment (something with a longer handle or spout) if some will be hard to reach? For those plants which require a shower-type or misting watering system, can you remove their particular pots or mountings without taking out all the other plants? Choose a shelving arrangement that will best suit the needs of your particular plants. While it doesn't need to be walk-in size, it should provide several tiers of space for plants.

 

Rather build your own greenhouse?

If none of the pre-fabricated patio greenhouses will suit your exact needs, consider building your own greenhouse. It is easy to buy greenhouse plans and construct your own with some scrap wood or metal and plexiglass. Select a guide to designing a greenhouse that will suit your space.

Setting up your patio greenhouse

You have a greenhouse, now what?

It is not enough to pot up your plants and hide them in the greenhouse until spring. If you expect any survivors from the winter, you need to keep the plants warm and supplied with sufficient light and humidity to last the winter. That means portable lighting, space heaters, and at least a small humidifier. Since you probably wouldn't expand your house's electrical wiring out to a small patio greenhouse, you will need some outdoor-grade extension cords to provide the needed electricity. Run your cords through a surge protector in case of a power surge. I would also recommend adding an alarm to your greenhouse in case the power goes out. That will give you a chance to bring the plants indoors for the night rather than find a greenhouse full of dead plants in the morning.  

Tip: For a cheap solar heating option, fill empty wine bottles with water and place them by the exterior windows on the sunny side of the structure. The sun will both warm and heat the water, and the heat will be released gradually overnight.


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