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Greenhouse: Getting started with a greenhouse...links

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Fulton, MO

March 5, 2006
1:14 PM

Post #2087978

Questions always seem to come up about this time of year regarding getting started with a greenhouse. I've collected some links that I have found useful or that I wish I had known about when I set up my GH. Maybe they will prove helpful to others.

Greenhouse construction, planning and building:

Sample foundation setup:

The Cattle Panel hoophouse:

Heating and energy conservation:


Horizontal Air Flow:

Solar GH:

Humidity and humidity control:

More construction and heating links:

Edited to add links

This message was edited Oct 19, 2006 12:54 PM
Rock Island, IL
(Zone 5b)

March 5, 2006
1:28 PM

Post #2088015

For any of you putting up a 6 x 8 "Harbor Freight"

Fulton, MO

March 5, 2006
1:44 PM

Post #2088047

Yes! Thanks, Dax. I've referenced your thread before, but I didn't bookmark it. I will now. SB
Southwestern, OH
(Zone 6b)

March 6, 2006
9:58 PM

Post #2091517

Thanks for the sticky Terry!

More Links Tons of links here,2046,DIY_14346_26835,00.html

This message was edited Mar 6, 2006 7:59 PM
Fulton, MO

March 11, 2006
12:59 AM

Post #2103048

A couple more, these are related to plants for the greenhouse...

Citrus nutrition:

This site has a cross-section of greenhouse plants with cultural information:

Greenhouse plant height and DIF:

Detailed link concerning GH fertilizer use:

Tropical plants links:

Fertilizer PPM calculator:

Fulton, MO

March 17, 2006
12:24 PM

Post #2118362

This is Tapla's classic post on container growing media, very useful for greenhouse growers:

I would encourage others with useful links to jump in! SB
Martin, MI
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2006
4:19 PM

Post #2162925

awesome information...thanks!!!
Anyone have any clever business names bouncing around in your heads???
Bay City, MI
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2006
4:52 PM

Post #2184447

Hi Dax and All,
Sure wish I would have looked up for wonderful information and pics BEFORE I purchased one of the 6 X 8 greenhouses from HF! The manager of the store told me "THAT EVEN A 5 YEAR OLD WOULD HAVE NO TROUBLE PUTTING ONE TOGETHER!" Well, we ended up going back to HF several times looking at the little model that a 5 yr. old might be able to put together with the help of Dad and GrandDad!!
What a big pain in the ###! It looked to me as the pieces went together a few different ways! I am going to print these and some other descriptions graciously provided by the people who have encountered the ULTIMATE ADVENTURE of putting together a HF Greenhouse, LOL
We have built and refurbished numerous houses and just found this very frustrating!
We do have a "SAMS CLUB" greenhouse we got last year? It has lots of room, shelves, windows, doors, bins to fill from the outside and open from the inside. Also has two nice size sinks!! If you can look up the link at Sams Club for it! I know they raised the price on it for this year already!

April 13, 2006
2:44 AM

Post #2185997

I believe the Sam's Club Greenhouse is manufactured by Rion.

You can see the greenhouse Sam's Club sells here-

I think the models offered by Sam's Club are GH 410 and GH412. I was poking around and found that if one ordered a greenhouse from Sam's Club, they would pay the applicable sales tax for their State. It appears to be cheaper by a couple hundred dollars to order direct from Rion when you add in all the delivery charges and such.
Fulton, MO

April 13, 2006
11:43 AM

Post #2186514

Tootsie, the HFGH is notorious for it's poor instructions and difficulty in assembly...thus the value of Dax's assembly photoessay. SB
Warren, NJ
(Zone 6a)

May 2, 2006
3:35 AM

Post #2240801

Thank you everyone for the links on this thread. I have been slowly working my way through them. My greenhouse is purely in the "dream state" and will probably stay there for a long time. However, dreaming is fun too.

stressbaby, besides thanking you for your links I wanted to say that you have created a truly beautiful garden. It must give you so much pleasure. I loved looking at your journal pics and hope you post more soon.
Meriden, IA

June 12, 2006
2:56 PM

Post #2381483

The Harbor Freight Greenhouse looks suspiciously like the one we helped our friends put up. The directions were a nightmare and the hokey little wrench they send with it was a joke. They never told you in advance where to put extra bolts, instead we put together and took apart sections several times. It was very frustrating. Then, 2 weeks later it blew apart on a windy day! So Beware! Do NOT - I repeat DO NOT, put this in an unprotected area!!
Fulton, MO

August 6, 2006
11:21 AM

Post #2591916

Adding a pretty good ventilation link:

and the ICG technical information link page:
Greensboro, AL

August 27, 2006
3:25 PM

Post #2664499

happyfoot: In april you asked if any one had any business names. You can have mine because the city planning commission has refused my request to operate a plant nursery on my property. This name refers to the happy little critters who live here, but they live happily almost every where. Rabbit Hill Nursery is yours if you want it. I was thinking of Watership Down when I chose the name.
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

September 20, 2006
12:52 AM

Post #2740627


Do you know of any sites where they discuss humidity in the greenhouse? I'm trying to find info on the proper levels for daylilies. So far I can't find anyone who knows.

Fulton, MO

September 23, 2006
12:35 PM

Post #2751516

Excellent link I found on greenhouse energy efficiency:,1,Slide 1
Greensboro, AL

September 23, 2006
5:40 PM

Post #2752219

stressbaby: re:
"windows cannot open this file"
Fulton, MO

September 23, 2006
6:27 PM

Post #2752345

It is a Power Point file. It opens for me. Try the Horticulture at the University of Wisconsin site in your post above, then search "greenhouse energy efficiency," then open the first search result as HTML.
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

November 8, 2006
6:18 AM

Post #2893366


I know that considerable time has passed since you posted your message, and a lot of things may have changed in that time, but the link you gave to the Rion greenhouses sold by Sam's Club now redirects to and their green-powder-coated aluminum frame greenhouses:

Apparently the Rion greenhouses are made from green extruded PVC resin frames:

Our green resin lawn chairs have become brittle, chalky, and half of them have already broken after only two years outside in our Maine weather. I think it is doubtful that the resin extrusions of the Rion greenhouses would last out their 7-year warranty. In fact, I will be a bit surprised if the Rion company itself lasts for 7 years.

I'll be watching to see what kind of greenhouses show up in our local Sam's Club store. I would like to place an attached (lean-to) greenhouse on the south side of this house, where the door opening from our furnace room to the outside backyard would now open into the greenhouse. But I would rather have an aluminum frame, or possibly a galvanized steel frame. I am not convinced that a resin frame or a wooden frame would be strong enough or long lasting enough in a greenhouse. And, yes, I concede that the house is framed in wood, but it is rather dry inside the house, while greenhouses are relatively moist, and the greenhouse wood looks flimsy compared to the house framing.


Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 8a)

November 12, 2006
6:58 PM

Post #2907531

Thanks for the links!!!

Augusta, GA

November 16, 2006
12:41 AM

Post #2917444

Thanks for all the links. My husband is just completing a 10x20 hoop style. Just need to place the fans and vents and buy a heater. It is double 6 mil with 4 year uv protected cover over a pc and wood frame. He made it so that the cover can be interchanged with a screen cover for summer (otherwise our GA dog days of summer would make it useless 5 months a year as others in our area have found). I started to move some plants in yesterday and today, and now there is a huge storm on the way with tornado watches and over two inches of rain expected. I guess I won't sleep much tonight. I spent all evening making sure that nothing in the yard would become a flying missile destined to take out my new gh. I'm a little nervous about the back yard flooding as well. My dh had planned to a diversion to route rain water around the gh but that is still on the to do list and we were not expecting any more storms for awhile--wrong! Tomorrow, I call to get it added to the homeowners insurance.
best to all,
Greensboro, AL

November 16, 2006
4:44 PM

Post #2919339

deb: You will learn a lot. I just got mine up before Ivan, only to witness my double 6 mil plastic floating in the air above the greenhouse during the hurricane. The plastic stayed intact. Just had to secure it. We had those storms here yesterday. A lot of damage in the Montgomery area. Good luck and best wishes.
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 15, 2007
3:34 PM

Post #3191818

Is there information anywhere on where to locate a greenhouse? Can it be placed in a shady location?
Greensboro, AL

February 15, 2007
5:33 PM

Post #3192241

the orientation of the greenhouse depends on what you will use it for. Most people want it for winter advantage. this means that you will want a southern exposure to the long end. Actually I think the starter links above suggest a little off from true south to maximize winter southern exposure. No matter what you do you will have to heat it, but you should probably try to capitilize in winter sun as much as possible.

If you only want to use it in summer you could put it in shade. However, it is usually recommended that if it is shaded, it should be under the protection of deciduous trees to maximize the winter sun. You will need shade cloth and ventilation in summer to keep plants from frying in the heat.
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 15, 2007
6:25 PM

Post #3192424

All I have that would be appropriate is a shady area; I guess I need to survey it more closely. I had never thought it would work.
(Phyllis) Flint,, TX
(Zone 7b)

December 2, 2007
6:29 AM

Post #4252842

HI All ...just found the forum here and thought what better place to ask then here ...I am looking at green houses online as Santa is willing to get me started with one but to start out I was looking at "portable" ones since they are cheaper and would be more with in reach of my Santa...has anyone ever had or know of someone that has had and used the flower house ones?
I was looking at the FlowerHouse SpringHouse Greenhouse at

would be something to start with and see how I do since we just moved to Texas this summer and then lord willing down the road I could get my DH to build a frame and get the covering for it for a more perminate one.
Monticello, IA

December 15, 2007
5:01 AM

Post #4296283

May I ask what a "sticky" is. I imagine it refers to a post it note but how does it work please?
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 15, 2007
5:06 AM

Post #4296288

It's a thread that's basically "glued" to the top of the forum. Other threads are arranged in order based on how recently someone made a post, so they will slip farther down the page if nobody posts on them. Stickies will stay at the top even if nobody's posted there so that people will always see them and be able to find them easily. Usually it's done for threads like this one where there is some good basic information that everyone in the forum probably needs so that it's always there as a reference.
Rancho Cordova, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 15, 2007
5:54 AM

Post #4296353

I'm one season ahead of you, look at my web site

August 18, 2007 bench added
August 12, 2007 Evaporative Cooler added
August, 2007, Greenhouse added to patio
January 17, 2007, starter greenhouse lets me grow all winter

The problem with that plan is it does NOT give you any of the advantages of a real Greenhouse. I tried to keep my plants from freezing, successfully but lost them to other problems.

you need to keep them warm and control humidity and air circulation

look at a book like "the Greenhouse Expert" by D. G. Hessayon $14.95
it shows 4 types of Greenhouses
1. Cold - min temp 28 degrees - extends your growing season 3-4 weeks
2. Cool - min temp 45 degrees - adds another 3-4 weeks (some heating)
3. Warm - min temp 55 degrees - keeps plants growing year around
(heating costs triple cool house)
4. Stove - min temp 65 degrees - Tropicals can be grown

I would skip the "portable" ones
read the discussion on humidity here in the greenhouse section !
Marianna, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 14, 2008
2:16 PM

Post #4536771

I just joined as a subscriber and I love this website! My husband just volunteered to build a GH for me and right now the project seems to be overwhelming because of all the things to consider when planning it. Where is the best place for us to start when seeking information concerning size, heating, source of water, lighting, ventilation, etc? I think we have the perfect location. There is an unused concrete slab in the backyard about 16' X 20'--completely unshaded. We are in NW Fla. and have horribly hot summers, but woke up to ice everywhere this morning. I want to be able to grow seedlings and just have a place to store my plant supplies and "hang out" and "play" with my plants. I love house plants as well as annuals, bulbs, etc. As a new retiree, I have the time and with the help of this site, I hope to develop plenty of "know-how." Can I assume that we will save money by building it from scratch, rather than purchasing one? I DO plan to spend hours reading what's available here.
Las Cruces, NM
(Zone 8a)

February 19, 2008
2:59 AM

Post #4558023

Hello Sharkey, I sent you a d-mail, and just wanted to be sure you found it! :-)
Niceville, FL
(Zone 8b)

April 15, 2008
1:23 AM

Post #4809894

I am just down the road from you. I am also researching which greenhouse to get. I am looking to extend my growing season and maybe keep some of my tropicals going year round. Have you decided on which greenhouse to get? Tough decison. Want to make sure I can keep it from getting too hot in the summer.
zone 7, TX

October 28, 2008
2:27 AM

Post #5724263

Hi, I'm in zone 7 , North Texas , 10 minutes from the Red River. Is there anyone who has a greenhouse in this vicinity who totally loves it and is glad they got what they have ? I'm looking for one that will enable me to grow vegetables year around.
Our college near here has a greenhouse that enables one to grow year round. I'm growing everything that you can grow outside right now but also have cucumber plants starting to grow up the vine. The greenhouse there at school is about 60 ft long. We're thinking of getting one for our family about 10x20ft. but using solar instead of electricity. We'd like one that can be used the same way only smaller. We've been researching but if I can get someones opinion in my zone that might help on our choice.
Chelmsford, MA

November 3, 2008
12:08 PM

Post #5746674

Another zone checking in - 5a - Northern Masachusetts. We are thinking of a small GH - 6X??- with no plans to heat it in winter. Just use as a cold frame of sorts. Already have a 7' wide concret base in place (left over from old swiming pool apron) . Have looked briefly at kits on line. Anyone have expereince with any particular company or brand?

This message was edited Nov 3, 2008 7:09 AM
Frankfort, KY
(Zone 6a)

November 4, 2008
12:32 PM

Post #5750448

IMO 6' is too small, should be 8' at least, for plant racks along each side.
And if you think 10' long would be OK get one 20' long.
When some one starts using a GH they almost always want MORE ROOM
Eagle, ID

November 4, 2008
12:45 PM

Post #5750482

Hi rentman,

Can you tell us some good name brands or where to find a quality greenhouse? I have seen a few mentioned but would like to know what others have and love.
Eagle, ID

November 4, 2008
1:26 PM

Post #5750554

Back again,

I am looking at Julianna, Rion and Riga onion greenhouses. I would really appreciate input from those who love their brand and would recommend it.
Frankfort, KY
(Zone 6a)

November 4, 2008
8:21 PM

Post #5751955

I have no info Rustywoman, I bought this house 2 1/2 years ago and it came with a 8x6 GH already set up and I just adding an addition.
But most people say they wished they had a bigger GH, so plan ahead.
Good luck and let us know what you do.
Haskell, OK

April 13, 2009
2:25 AM

Post #6401650

I have a 10X12 HF Greenhouse. It seems to do ok, I don't have everything the way I want yet, but I'm working on it.
Southwestern, OH
(Zone 6b)

April 13, 2009
4:06 PM

Post #6403806

I just went through your website Amigatec, you did a fantastic job!!
West Warren, MA

May 16, 2009
11:53 AM

Post #6555500

Good Morning all!! I am happy with the collapsible greenhouse I bought on E-bay. 7X12. It is not heated and learned to cover plants with light plastic when temp. goes below 40. It got sun before leaves came out in trees, but now has shade and gets only about 4-6 hrs of sun. Not bad because I don't worry so much about cooking my plants. It has a zipper door and roll up windows on the side. Cost about $100.
Plan to start planting next week if we have warmer nights. Saw the $$ of vegetable plants and know I have saved enough to pay for the greenhouse and future years will be free...hopefully will take it down for June 1. Zone 5 here but this weather is just up and down!! I do like being able to go inside standing up or sitting and replanting and leaving my messy droppings on ground. I would recommend this one!
Dandridge, TN
(Zone 6a)

September 26, 2009
5:07 PM

Post #7106542

We bought our greenhouse through an affiliate, but it came from Poly-Tex

They sell all sorts of supplies like shadecloth, film, lights, etc. The shadecloth was the cheapest I've found for sewn edges with grommets (very sturdy, and easy to put up)

I can't say enough about their customer service. We had a step by step instruction book, but we were still on the phone with them almost every day (we put it up ourselves). Their patience was amazing.
During construction we had 2 sets of visitors, so we stopped work for about 3 weeks- the customer service guy worried when we stopped calling- and he called us to make sure we were OK and hadn't fallen off a ladder or something.

I can't recommend them enough!
West Warren, MA

September 27, 2009
12:24 PM

Post #7108824

Hi lakeside, sounds like you got a great greenhouse!
I know the plastic may look weak but am sure it will hold up great..
My covering was green with small lines running through to diffuse the light and it also made it easier...Gerldine ::)
Dandridge, TN
(Zone 6a)

September 27, 2009
1:53 PM

Post #7108994

Hi Gerldine,
It sounds like you got a great greenhouse and it is in a perfect location.
Seattle, WA

September 28, 2009
2:52 PM

Post #7112397

Hello Fellow Gardeners,

This seems the best site and email to start the planning for a greenhouse. In my case we have just moved to northern New Mexico and fall is in the air with our Aspens just starting to turn gold. At 6,500 feet and clay soil with a PH of 8.5 I know this soil will need to be : amended, drip irrigated and also I will need a fairly substantial greenhouse.

I checked one out on a ranch north of me. It was covered with poycarbonate sheets which do a better job of resisting the hail that falls here seriously about every five years. The sides were screened in and with the breezes blowing off the Sangre de Cristo Mountains it seemed to be a pretty good choice for plants and the plants certainly seemed to appreciate their home. I noted that in order to be effective the sides need to be closed to warm up the place both early and late in the growing season. The gardeners had tacked up plastic to the sides and almost instantly with the bright sun outside the outside temperature of 70 degrees became 102 degrees inside, and of course the effect of the breezes were negated.

We have a sawmill close by that has roughcut lumber to large dimensional structural pieces can gotten quite cheaply, by comparison. I have a large corral and it will be converted to a terraced garden with the greenhouse located in the northwest corner in full sun.Full sun in northern New Mexico is 300+ days and after living in Seattle , what a pleasure!

I know the soil needs to be amended, and am concerned about designing this greenhouse correctly the FIRST time. I know about having gravel floors in greenhouses and just watering the floor to have a better humidity inside. This is an old trick a wholesale greenhouse owner ,and also patient of mine, taught me. It worked well for him in both Utah and Washington.

The three things I need help on are: the proper design for a structure faing east on a slope, and access to polycarboate paneling at a decent price, and then also ventilation,
I figured to have the sides covered with a window frame construction and then having plastic of a suitable heft to last, with some sort of easy opening and closing. Apparently a lot of things get "cooked" quickly in a greenhouse when the tempatures change so dramatically from night to day as it does here at this altitude.

Any serious ideas and insights , especially from expereinced gardeners who have dealt with this phenomenon of a dry environment with drastic temperature switches would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Hampstead, NC
(Zone 8a)

December 15, 2009
12:52 PM

Post #7370371

My husband built me a little greenhouse and I'm not sure which direction to set it up. It is 6X8 and I"m putting it near the garage for heat reflection. But should I face the door toward the east so I have even heat distribution on both sides?This picture is taken fron the north side>

Thumbnail by belledonna
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

February 18, 2010
6:10 AM

Post #7568644

An important step that no one thinks of is how to place the greenhouse. I owned and operated a commercial greenhouse in NE during the 80's. My husband built it to my specification. Believe me, I did lot of research first.

Here is that important step:

Place a greenhouse so that the long sides run North to South. Otherwise you will have hot spots in the greenhouse. Run N to S, the greenhouse will have some shade as the sun moves across the sky from East to West. As suggested in a link above, don't place a greenhouse under a tree even if it is the type that looses its leaves. It is no fun to have to climb up to clean leaves, bugs and other debris off the greenhouse roof, not to mention sap. Shading cloths are your best bet and gives you control.

Fulton, MO

April 3, 2010
9:40 AM

Post #7676905

More links. These relate to greenhouse heaters, all wfs:
Greenhouse heater checklist:
Ethylene in the Greenhouse:
Unvented GH heaters:
Types, placement, efficiency:
Orange, TX

March 16, 2011
10:13 AM

Post #8430405

I want to grow vegetables,after several years of growing on the ground unsuccessfully (squirrels, birds, bugs,mold)
I have decided to get a greenhouse. Of course that has a whole new set of problems and after several months of looking I still don' know any more than I did when I started. We live on the Texas Gulf coast, if anyone can give some suggestions on the type of greenhouse we should buy I would really appreciate it. We can afford up to a thousand.
Dandridge, TN
(Zone 6a)

March 17, 2011
6:53 AM

Post #8432116

How much do you want to grow? Just for your family or for sale?
Orange, TX

March 27, 2011
7:15 PM

Post #8454619

Just for us. We finally bought a 6x8 snap and grow. I have rock hard ground so all of the plants will be in pots/bags. Do they have to be pollinated and how do you do the bees work.
Berne, IN

March 28, 2011
6:25 AM

Post #8455327

There is a new line of greenhouse kits that Polytex is offering through their dealers, the Snap and Grow series. Along with being very easy to put together, it is a quality hobby greenhouse that will suit anyone’s back yard.
Dandridge, TN
(Zone 6a)

March 28, 2011
8:29 AM

Post #8455680

aint, I would just open the doors once it get warm and the bees will find their way in! Be careful once it gets warm, though, because small greenhouses can heat up really fast and fry everything inside.

Organic Joe, that is a great idea! You can also buy them here:

and through the dealer:

Even the 20 foot one is a very reasonable price!

This was my first greenhouse- couldn't keep anything inside for long because it would get too hot. I would take off the plastic in the summer and put on shadecloth.

Thumbnail by lakesidecallas
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Isabel, KS

January 27, 2012
6:53 AM

Post #8983939

I am researching greenhouse kits. Anyone know about Cross Country Greenhouse.Looking at Acadian 16mm 3ply glazing. Planning on year round production of fruit and veges. I live in zone 6, gets hot and really windy in summer and cold and windy in winter. Want a product that will stand up to both. Thanks , this is my first day to subscribe to davesgarden!

February 11, 2013
9:00 PM

Post #9416235

New to Dave's Garden and still consider myself a wannabe gardener.. I live on the NE slope of a mountain and just bought a FlowerHouse "pop-up" greenhouse with opaque Gro-Tec plastic. Hubby has set it up on our small deck where we get mostly east sun, and a little south sun. It is only 5x5 and 6.5 feet high. I want to put in some starter plants and maybe leave some plants in it for the growing season (will open the doors and keep it ventilated.. Today I bought some steel shelves. I can't seem to find a tiny, corrosion resistant electric heater.. or a small fan.. any ideas on that or if I should put some type of floor covering on the deck?? Thanks for any help :-)
Clinton, IN

February 12, 2013
4:47 PM

Post #9417030

You might check out the Farmtek website lots of greenhouse supplies there. Maybe Amazon or a farm store. Good luck. Fred


Dover, PA
(Zone 6b)

February 17, 2013
11:20 PM

Post #9422573

A possible floor could be a relatively inexpensive foam board with used plywood laid on it, that way you could pick it up and store it. As for a heater some times you can get away with something like this from Walmart:
Howard Berger Co Electric 1500W Personal Heater, CZ707
Howard Berger Co Electric 1500W Personal Heater, CZ707
Quiet, high efficiency fan
Powerful and compact
Adjustable thermostat
List Price:$40.52
You save: $19.06(47%)

Be sure any extension cords you use are heavy enough and preferably have a GFI.

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS
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