Growing up in south Florida there was really no need for a greenhouse instead we had shade houses instead. Same purpose opposite action. Instead of trying to bring the sun in we actually tried to block some of it to keep it from burning our tender plants. I did not have my first greenhouse until I moved to northern Illinois. that is when I got hooked on greenhouse growing and have been a fan ever since.
I had been in the landscape business for a while and quickly found all the wholesale nurseries in the area but the ones that always drew the most attention from me were the ones that started their own plants and grew them out, for all of them had greenhouses. I would always find some excuse to go visit the houses and see what they were growing. I asked a lot of questions and payed attention to the setups and the equipment. Latter I worked at a local junior college that had a state of the art greenhouse even had a screen that was automated to block out the light. I signed up for lots of horticulture classes and spent a lot of time in that greenhouse.
Latter at a local high school where I was employed as an athletic field tech I became acquainted with the science teacher that ran the greenhouse and spent many more hours working in that greenhouse just lending a hand. All this experience was giving me the itch. Finally when I left the high school to take on my current position I was able to build and operate my first greenhouse.
I was certain that after all those years of research, building and setting up my own greenhouse would be a snap. While building it was not so big a problem setting it up was a bit more complicated. It took almost a year to get all the features in place that wanted but finally I had it set the way I wanted. During the first year I was able to grow plants and germinate seeds so it was up and running it was the tweaking and refining part that had the most problem implementing, but when it was all finished all the features I wanted where in place.
The greenhouse dimensions are 36 feet long by 24 feet wide. There is a misting bed for starting cuttings and for cooling and humidity control. The heating is accomplished through radiant floor heat with a recirculating pump back to a boiler. All the potted plants are hooked up to automatic drip irrigation with a fertilizer injector. HID Lighting provides a supplemental light source for low light days. There is a heated germination box for seed starting and a really great potting table.
Because of the greenhouse I have been able to save tons of money on annual flower purchases, and have grown thousands of flats from seed. The amount of time and money involved has paid for itself and saved a lot not to mention the ability to be more self sufficient. When you have a greenhouse you are able to better control what you want to grow and not have to rely on commercial growers for what you can plant each year.
I am so glad that I built that greenhouse and it has really been a fulfilling experience for me personally. To put into action those plans I had been working on for so long. It feels really good to finally scratch that itch. Would I do it again? Funny thing I have been eyeballing this area out in the back yard right next to the vegetable garden. It is 20 feet by twelve feet and it has a ready source of water and electricity available. If I were to move the garden fence over four feet then come off the south garage wall I could build a three sided …..