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A Greenhouse could be the go!

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A Greenhouse could be the go!

by Megan Macpherson

Australia’s climate is not the most predictable, so growing plants that need continuous warm weather is difficult. A greenhouse will solve all of your weather problems, by providing a controlled haven for your tropical plants, orchids, vegetables, hydroponics, fruit and other decorative plants. Greenhouses will enable plants to grow quicker, and grow out of season.

Consider first, the usual climate in which you are living. If you are in a relatively cold climate, for example Melbourne, then an insulated greenhouse will be required. If you are in a hot climate, like Darwin or far north Queensland, then shade cloth or some kind of shade structure will be needed. However, between day and night temperatures vary, so make sure that you consider how your plants will survive during the night hours. The Australian sun may burn plants, so even in colder regions; shading may be needed in summer.

Pick a sunny position for your greenhouse. Consider the moving sun, as well as obstacles such as trees or the house which will block the sun. Winter and summer sun will also vary. If you don’t have much space, a greenhouse can also be attached to the side of your house, in a lean-to fashion.

A green house needs ventilation, pest control, and humidity control. Ventilation is important because plants do not like stale air, and the hot air needs to be let out during the morning. The Australian climate can sometimes overheat a greenhouse. Some greenhouses are now being constructed with roofs that open up to provide more ventilation.  Other things to consider include watering and misting systems, rainwater systems lighting, thermometers, and drainage and storage spaces.

A greenhouse frame can be made from wood, metal, or poles. The covering can be glass, fiberglass, plastic panels, or plastic film. Inside the greenhouse there needs to be potting benches, as well as shelves for storage. The floor should be concrete walkways and paths, with gravel under the benches. This will enable the floor to retain heat from the day, during the night.

The roof should be pitched at a greater angle than 23 degrees, to prevent condensation dripping on the plants. The higher the roof, the more stable the air will be in the greenhouse. However this should be considered against the greater running costs, and increased cost of building materials.

A greenhouse will extend your garden and provide a whole new world of opportunities for growing plants which you never thought you could grow. There are a variety of designs for different shapes and sizes, as well as prefabricated greenhouses on the market. The type you choose will depend on your space and growing needs.

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