Greenhouse Gardening Considerations

There are several reasons that gardeners decide that greenhouse gardening is a hobby they'd like to explore. Some like the idea of being able to grow plants all year round-especially because they will be able to grow plants that bloom outside of their traditional growing seasons.

Others like the idea of keeping their plants alive to create seeds for the next growing season. Some enjoy a particular fruit or vegetable-and would like to enjoy it all year, but on a limited basis. Whatever the reason, there are certain things to consider when deciding to go for greenhouse gardening.

Where to Construct

Most who decide to venture into freestanding greenhouse gardening have a large amount of land that is relatively flat; it is important to determine the angle of the sun during winter months. Just as important when creating an outside plot, placement is critical for greenhouse gardening. Survey the area you've picked to be sure nothing else will create a shadow-remember that trees create shade, and they grow relatively quickly.

If you are planning to continue greenhouse gardening for several years, don't place it near new trees that will grow up to shade it. Many manufacturers suggest placing the greenhouse with the lengthwise side facing south. The sun is lowest in the spring and fall, so it's important that the greenhouse takes advantage of the lower sun.


It is important to plan the layout of the building so your greenhouse gardening addition provides you with the optimal amount of workspace and ease. Some greenhouses provide instructions for different types of material, such as a choice of wood or metal.

Research the pros and cons of each choice-while one might have advantages, the other might work better in your part of the country. Do you want large open work surfaces or countertops with a sink? Do you want one sink, or maybe small sinks every hundred feet?

Do you want to reuse excess soil that remains when you repot? If so, consider a reservoir or hole in the counter where you can aim leftover potting soil as you clean up. Perhaps you have a container underneath to catch the dirt, which can be sifted before you use it again.

Do you want a tool cabinet, shed, or pegboards for your utensils? Depending on your choice, you then have to decide whether the shed will be inside or outside, or where the pegboard will be attached.

Lastly, don't forget to consider access to your greenhouse. Remember that you'll be gardening in the winter months. If you live on the west or lower east coast, that won't be a problem. However, if you are in the northeast or southeast of the country, you may be looking at several inches (at least) of snow that will have to be shoveled or otherwise removed.

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