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Greenhouse Buying Guide - Basics Of Choosing A Greenhouse When choosing a new greenhouse for your garden there are several things to bear in mind if you are going to get the most from your choice. A wrong decision can prove costly in the long run so be sure you know exactly what you need before you buy. Here are some of the most important things to consider: What Do You Need Your Greenhouse For? If you are looking to grow flowers or vegetables all year round then a tightly sealed, insulated greenhouse with good light transmission, ventilation and heating will be most desirable. However, if your greenhouse will only be used for germinating seedlings or wintering less hardy plants through light winters then a simple plastic frame with a polythene covering will no doubt suffice. Free Standing or Attached? Depending on your requirements, there can be major benefits of either of these types of structures. An attached greenhouse can be a simple lean-to style greenhouse attached to the side of your house or a more expensive sunroom style construct in fitting with the rest of your building. The main advantage of either is in terms of maintenance and running costs, as an attached greenhouse will benefit from being very simple to adapt to your existing lighting, heating and water sources. The major disadvantage here however is that being attached to your home means the greenhouse will have less direct exposure to the sun, which may limit the types of plants you can grow effectively, and positioning to minimise this is all-important. A permit may also be required, as this will be seen as a building extension to your home. A freestanding greenhouse on the other hand, offers many gardeners a much-welcomed retreat away from the home, somewhere to escape the madness as it were. They are typically more expensive, requiring additional heating during the winter months and cooling during the hottest periods and you will need to plan how to get electricity and water to your new building. Your greenhouse will however have maximum exposure to sunlight. What Size Greenhouse Do You Need? Before you can begin thinking about anything else, you need to know what size greenhouse you require. As a rule of thumb, whatever size you think you need right now is going to be too small for you a year later. Buy bigger than you need or you'll end up looking at a costly extension or a new greenhouse before long. However, that doesn't mean you need to go overboard. If space is an issue then a lean-to greenhouse, which attaches to the side of your house or other building might be the perfect solution. Equally, a mini greenhouse or a simple cold frame might cover your needs. Whichever size you choose, be sure to check out whether you need planning permission from your local authority before you put anything anywhere or you could be told to remove it later. Which Frame Should You Use? Wooden, [...]

For people who would like to do more gardening but live in a short growing season area, a hobby greenhouse is the answer. Although it is not large enough to produce vegetables or flowers on a commercial basis, it will however give you a place for a tomato plant or two and some fresh greens - even if you live in the northern regions. Greenhouse enthusiasts even have their own association, called the Hobby Greenhouse Association, which publishes a quarterly magazine. The organization also sponsors events and helps individuals connect to get help with the type of gardening that they are interested in, whether it's growing cacti or saving seeds. There are several types on the market. The smallest is not large enough to walk into and must be accessed from the outside. It resembles an old-fashioned phone booth made all of glass and outfitted with shelves. This type is designed to fit as many plants as possible in as small a place as possible. The shelves are made of glass to allow light to reach all the plants. Another inexpensive version is shelving covered with a zippered tent of clear plastic. This sort of arrangement is great for the small-scale hobby gardener wanting a place to keep his or her flowers or houseplant starts. Some designs, large enough to walk into are made entirely of clear glass or plastic. They are often about the same size as a small storage building. Some independent builders have started making these to sell locally. Among national brands, one of the nicest is called the "Solar Prism." It is called this because of its unique construction. This hobby greenhouse is made of a single piece of durable clear plastic which is designed to work like tiny prisms side by side. They trap the rays of the sun and direct them back into the greenhouse at all angles. It is said that these little greenhouses glow when the weather is cloudy. Better hobby greenhouses are equipped with automatic sensors that open vents which allow ventilation and keep the interior temperatures from getting too high. These are a great labour saver, but can get expensive. Another benefit sometimes found in nicer greenhouses is a built in irrigation or misting system. Members of the Hobby Greenhouse Association, or HGA, have invented many interesting designs. If gardening is your hobby, greenhouse growing will interest you. With a greenhouse, you can have the earliest tomatoes and salad greens all year. You can also start seedlings for the main garden early in the spring when outdoor temperatures would kill them. It can be a good investment!