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What are the pros and cons of greenhouses and how do they work? What are their limitations? How does one plan and build one? What is necessary to maintain the plants inside optimally? I am in Central Florida.

  • This question is too broad to be suited to this site. – Graham Chiu Mar 26 '18 at 4:35
  • @GrahamChiu updated to reflect better on my interest – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 26 '18 at 4:40
  • We also don't do educate me all about answers. that's what books and an education are for. – Graham Chiu Mar 26 '18 at 4:47
  • @GrahamChiu fixed again – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 26 '18 at 4:49
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    @Shule for the duration, since I’d like to grow crops not in my HZ. – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 28 '18 at 23:40
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It is a broad question. Already most of strict question have the answer of "it depends", so you can imagine that: What benefits? It depends.

When you need a greenhouses, you will knows it (and so the benefit). Start without greenhouse. When you see that you miss something, check to improve your equipment. It really depend on what and how do you do things.

On older time, a stone wall and shelter (just soil or and leaves) or bring it in some shelter building were the only option available.

With better plants (and availability of clear glass), nobility started with orangeries: it was so fashionable to have oranges on Northern Europe. Orangeries were buildings with large glasses, to shelter the oranges in winter. From there to green houses (new technologies, new exotic plant to show), it was a short step. As you see, the need to have exotic plants was the driver. [Note: if you go on greenhouses on botanical garden on hot summer, you probably find that they are colder then outside].

So:

  • Do you have exotic plants, which requires controlled temperature?
  • Do you have plants which do no like freeze (or low temperatures), so you need a shelter on winter? Or do you produce flowers and other plant to be sold and used inside houses?
  • Do you sell vegetables, so you want to sell part of them earlier? (normal green house) or on winter? (heated green house)
  • Do you produce organic vegetables or other delicate vegetables, which should be protected from weather (wind or (heavy) rain)? Also in this case there are some sort of greenhouses (tunnel), mostly a plastic that cover the "ceiling".
  • Do you produce many seedling in winter? (or just do you want to advance the final plantation).
  • Are you performing scientific experiments? (so controlled environment, possibly not just temperature, but pollinators or explicit spread of diseases).
  • ...

Note: for many residential uses, a small plastic, maybe attached to your home, could be enough. You need to have a problem, than check possible solution (and greenhouse could be one of that).

  • This is a suitable answer, answers all questions by asking why, but I could use some more clarification. In my particular situation, I’m aiming to take an entire section of my yard( approx 5 meters by 8 meters) and turn it into a greenhouse using plastic and pvc. What should I consider in this to prevent problems down the road? I am growing a lot of tropical fruits and standard vegetables, as well as spices. – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 26 '18 at 7:01
  • You should add such text directly on the question, along with your region (so that wikipedia can give us minimum and maximum temperature, and rainfall). Classical greenhouses are generally very humid (care about diseases!), and many insects like it (so you could have white-fly invasion!). You need water available (also on winter). PVC helps: you can remove it or let air to enter sideways, on hot summer days (so less burning, less humid). – Giacomo Catenazzi Mar 26 '18 at 7:27
  • added, and I am considering adding a pvc line from outside with screen to allow limited air flow, for the sake of bringing fresh air in. I am essentially enclosing an entire fenced yard including the deck so I am trying to make it both livable and great for plantlife – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 26 '18 at 17:44
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In your location you may be looking for a shade house rather than a glass house. The purpose of a glass house is to shift your growing location several hardiness zones to, in your case, the south i.e. closer to the equator. But in your location you're going to have overheating problems in summer and you'll need to keep misting your plants to cool them down.

It looks like your region has the lowest temperature of about 35 F or 1.5 deg C so you don't really get bad frosts, so you don't even need a green house to protect winter vegetables.

So, the main use would be a small greenhouse to get plants started before spring. A greenhouse will give you a few weeks start on getting your seedlings to a point where you can plant them outside unprotected.

  • So in other words: a greenhouse is not really necessary for my purposes? – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 27 '18 at 1:52
  • Based on your location, I expect it's only really good for early starts. But talk to your neighbours. See what gardening groups are around. – Graham Chiu Mar 27 '18 at 4:40
  • alright, I’ll look into groups near me – Ashtin Blanchard Mar 27 '18 at 9:12

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