Greenhouses for Northern gardeners - Knowledgebase Question

Waitsfield, VT
Avatar for gosswol
Question by gosswol
January 12, 1998
I would like to get your recommendations for attached greenhouses or sunrooms that could be used year-round in zone 4. A mention of resources would be helpful, as well as a short list of absolute necessities such as a heater, misting, etc.

Answer from NGA
January 12, 1998
There are so many factors it's hard to answer your question.
We just built a sun porch last year, facing mostly west, and here in northern Vermont it's really too cold out there most mornings, even in mid-summer, and it cools down really fastonce the sun sets. We're thinking of insulating it....

You'll need to decide if you want to keep the greenhouse separate from the main house, with just a door, or have a whole wall removed and essentially extend the living space.

Whatever you decide, if you plan to grow year-round, you'll need to be able to keep it warm, but also to ventilate it when it gets too warm. If you aren't at home a lot, you might want an automatic vent that will open during the day as necessary. Afan will help increase air circulation, minimizing disease problems. You'll need a way to water--a watering can for just a few plants, perhaps a hose attachment for a larger indoor garden. You can buy misting wands for your hose.

There are some great greenhouse planning books available; I'm looking at one called "Greenhouse Gardener's Companion" by Shane Smith (Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO, 1992). You might consult with a specialist; I know a person locally that consults withand designs greenhouse add-ons; you
might have someone like that in your area. It's an expensive project, so I'm sure you want to do it right!

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