GREENHOUSE DO IT YOURSELF: INTRODUCTION
Winter is a very useful season to understand how much a greenhouse could do for us in order to be able to keep the plants even during the cold season. In fact, putting plants indoors is not as effective a solution as a greenhouse, which is also very useful for other operations. For example, a greenhouse can be used to continue to produce vegetables in winter, to anticipate sowing, to prepare seedlings to be put in the field when temperatures start to get warmer.
Here, then, that in this season we can get a greenhouse, deciding the position and its size, as well as the material that composes it. And it’s also good to consider whether to make it yourself or buy it.
BETTER TO BUY IT OR MAKE IT YOURSELF?
There are undoubtedly many ready-made greenhouses on the market, but it is still possible to turn to companies that manufacture a greenhouse on site according to needs, tastes and personal measurements that are also adapted to the characteristics of the place. But a cheaper alternative is to build it yourself. Before making this decision it is good to compare the costs between one solution and another, raising that of the DIY greenhouse because you always have to take into account various unforeseen events, such as the breakage of the material, or excess material and so on.
Certainly the do-it-yourself greenhouse is the easiest solution, with advantages such as:
- Convenience for the construction of the roof, since it can be anchored to the existing one continuing the same slope of the slope.
- Possibility to take advantage of the heat coming from the domestic wall on which the greenhouse rests.
- Possibility of having a particularly solid hooking surface, given precisely by the wall.
- Savings on the cost of the greenhouse, since there is one less wall to make.
- Possibility to have a door that accesses directly to the greenhouse from the house. An option that, among other things, makes the greenhouse a beautiful winter garden.
Like everything else, the DIY greenhouse also has its drawbacks: compared to a ready-made greenhouse it is less bright, as it rests on a closed, non-transparent wall. In addition, the height is inevitably conditioned by the wall on which it rests, which must be, among other things, on the south side of the building/home in order to obviate the loss of light due to the non-transparent wall mentioned above.
During the design phase, the best solution is to design the greenhouse as large as possible, naturally within the limits imposed by the wall on which it will rest. Let’s say that as a reference you can keep a maximum width of 5 meters and a length between 8 and 10. In this way, the greenhouse will be able to accommodate plants of different sizes, such as large pots of citrus fruits, as well as plants that suffer from low temperatures. A large greenhouse allows you to position the plants in the best possible way, without having to “squash” the leaves on the outside walls. And also remember to calculate the space for a passage that is smooth, at least one meter!
One of the most important moments in the realization of the greenhouse is the design of the draining base. A greenhouse is a place where moisture easily accumulates and therefore needs to be treated and indeed kept as far away as possible with proper care and the right choice of materials. A concrete or tile floor does nothing to keep it away. That’s why an effective solution is a gravel crawl space placed on the ground at a thickness of at least 15cm, which allows water that falls to the ground to drain into the innermost layers of the base.
It is also appropriate to focus on the perimeter foundation of the greenhouse, ranging from a simple low wall useful to contain the drainage base and to fix the entire structure, up to a wall up to one meter high made of insulated material or with two layers of bricks divided by an insulating layer that serves naturally to insulate the greenhouse from the cold outside. Wall that proves to be more advantageous also because it serves to protect the greenhouse from bumps and other accidental damage.
As far as the structure of the greenhouse is concerned, it should satisfy three fundamental points: lightness, strength and resistance to temperature changes. Starting with the first point, a good structure consists of galvanized metal in its important elements. Zinc, the material that covers iron, oxidizes and rusts instead of the metal itself, which is therefore always protected from the signs of time and erosion.
Obviously, if you are not skilled in carpentry, you can have the iron structure cut to size and assembled by a specialized company. However, for those who don’t like metal, there are also solutions made of laminated wood, specially treated not to rot and to resist humidity.
Whether they are made of wood or metal, uprights should preferably have a square cross-section (10x10cm) , which makes it easier to apply transparent plastic or glass panels. The same attention should be paid to the joints as to the supporting elements: remember to check that plates, screws and bolts are also made of a resistant metal. In addition, in order to ensure maximum stability, the plates should be used in all holes and notin every other hole.
GLASS OR PLASTIC
A typical and iconic element of the greenhouse is certainly its transparent structure. Glass is the best material in terms of transparency, resistance to opacification and scratching, and insulation. However, these properties make it very heavy and virtually impossible to repair if it breaks.
Today, therefore, it is a common solution in greenhouses to use sheet polycarbonate, or plastic. A material that combines low price, good transparency, simplicity in processing and excellent insulation if it is chosen with a double chamber. There are two types, differing in whether or not they communicate with the outside world:
- Open, if they therefore communicate with the outside world. These sheets fill up with dust, dirt, insects and algae.
- Closed, therefore isolated from the outside and more durable.
The polycarbonate sheets are attached to the uprights with screws, which distributes the pressure and makes them stronger. The transparent surface must never be an obstacle to the full absorption of light by the plants. That’s why you should always clean transparent panels, both glass and polycarbonate, on their inner and outer sides. In fact, as happens to car windows, it is easy for a uniform patina to form that reduces their transparency . When cleaning, a great solution is to also use a mold disinfectant.
Finally, the cover. An element that is actually quite simple in a DIY greenhouse leaning against the home wall. In this case, in fact, it is single-sloped and without any kind of joint. I mean, particularly easy to do. The only shrewdness is to maintain the same slope as the roof of the house, designed specifically to not withstand the pressure of rain and especially snow. If, on the other hand, the greenhouse is freestanding, a transparent arched roof can be chosen as a covering, on which the sheets can be folded evenly.
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Finally, if you need a personalized consultation to create your own DIY greenhouse, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Drop by our online portal CasaOmnia.it!