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Basic Greenhouse Information
1. Greenhouse Footing Or Base
You will need to provide a level area to install your greenhouse kit. You may need to move some dirt around to level the site or you can just spread some crushed rock or gravel over the site to level it off. Even if your site is already fairly level it is still a good idea to spread rock or gravel as a base unless you are going to pour a concrete floor for your greenhouse. If a concrete floor is your choice for your home greenhouse you will have to provide for drainage.
Once your site is leveled you will need to provide a perimeter footing or base for your greenhouse. This can be as simple as 4x4's or landscape ties well anchored to the ground up to concrete block or poured concrete depending on how permanent you want the greenhouse to be. If using block or concrete you will need to provide a 2x4 or 2x6 sill attached to the footing. This sill is what you will then attach the greenhouse to rather than trying to attach the greenhouse directly to the block or concrete.
Remember, all must be true, level and square for your new greenhouse to fit together and assemble properly.
2. Water & Electricity for your Greenhouse
Some people set up their greenhouses without water and electricity and in some cases this is ok if the greenhouse is only going to be used part time and the weather will not be very hot or cold or be in too much direct sun as then cooling the greenhouse can be a problem.
Most of us will want water & electricity and sometimes gas for the greenhouse. A half inch water line into the greenhouse will make watering the plants much easier and provide a source of water for misting systems and or drip systems.
Electricity in the greenhouse is needed for fans, heaters, misters, coolers and lighting if desired. In addition to running a 110V circuit to the greenhouse you may want to also run a 220V circuit in case you want more options in heating capacity. With 110V you will be limited to 5110BTU heat output but with 220V you will have many more options. Some choose to run a half inch gas line to the greenhouse and purchase a gas heater as there are many more options with gas as far as BTU heat output . This is a good idea for larger home greenhouse kits especially in colder climates and if a source of gas is nearby.
3. Heating & Cooling The Greenhouse
As we mentioned previously you can heat your greenhouse with electricity or gas and this choice will usually depend on size of the greenhouse and proximity to electric circuits and or gas.
In most cases cooling the greenhouse is done with a combination of exhaust fans shading and misting. In hotter areas you may want to consider an evaporative cooler. Some greenhouses have roof and side vents whereas the air is pulled in through the side vents and exhausted out the roof vents (Roof vents do no good without side vents) and other greenhouses are ventilated end to end with a fan pulling air in one end and out the other.
Fan size is generally based on the cubic feet in the greenhouse. The goal is to change the air in the greenhouse approximately once a minute. The fan should be placed high at one end of the greenhouse and intake shutters at the opposite end so as to pull cooler fresh air down low and blow the higher hot air out. The fan should be wired to a thermostat to make the function automatic.
In conjunction with the exhaust fan, shading the roof, west & south sides of the greenhouse helps cool. This can be done with shade cloth or screening, lattice or some use shading compounds that can be painted on the greenhouse.
In addition, misting helps greatly in cooling the greenhouse and keeping your plants happy in hot weather. Misting the greenhouse can be done manually with hose end nozzles but is much more convenient done with and automatic system on a timer. The mist system should either run down the middle of the greenhouse or under the front bench rails so as not to wet the plants repeatedly throughout the day as this can cause fungus problems with some plants. In some cases the mist can be over the bench for seedling starts and germination. Even when weather is humid outside the greenhouse it can get hot and dry inside the greenhouse.