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Getting started with a greenhouse...links

Fulton, MO

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)

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


Fulton, MO

Yes! Thanks, Dax. I've referenced your thread before, but I didn't bookmark it. I will now. SB

Fulton, MO

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

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)

awesome information...thanks!!!
Anyone have any clever business names bouncing around in your heads???

Bay City, MI(Zone 5a)

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!

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

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)

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

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

Adding a pretty good ventilation link:

and the ICG technical information link page:

Greensboro, AL

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)


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.


Greensboro, AL

stressbaby: re:
"windows cannot open this file"

Fulton, MO

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)


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)

Thanks for the links!!!


Augusta, GA

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

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)

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

Greensboro, AL

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)

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)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

Hello Sharkey, I sent you a d-mail, and just wanted to be sure you found it! :-)

Niceville, FL(Zone 8b)

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

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

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)

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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