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Readfield, Maine
JRG
Dec 11, 2019 8:27 AM CST
Hello,
My husband loves to garden...his dream is to one day be able to sustain our family and eventually sell products to local restaurants. He will be growing vegetables and flowers. Please excuse my lack of gardening and plant knowledge....
I am trying to surprise him with a small-medium sized greenhouse for Christmas. However, I don't know enough and I am afraid I will purchase the wrong one! Do you have any recommendations? What materials are best? Or maybe a better question...is there a greenhouse, as a gardener, you would be ecstatic to receive as a christmas present in the $600 - $800 range? Haha. I would like it to be at least 10 x 12 (or close to) walk in, with a door. A kit is ideal, I have been looking at Palram products. Some info - we live in Maine, so eventually this will need to be heated. We have very harsh weather conditions, so this needs to hold up to some very serious wind, snow, cold, and rain. Any ideas on how to add on to an existing kit to make things more sturdy, adding heat, shelves, convenience, etc would be appreciated as well. Probably hard to find one kit that has everything I want. And he will love adding on to it!

Thanks in advance
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Dec 11, 2019 9:06 AM CST
In Maine, with your weather issues and to grow enough product, you are looking at a lot more money then a few hundred dollars.
On Long Island where I am from, I grew orchids in a 300 square foot lean-to on the back of my home. It faced south. I ran a separate zone off of my oil heat to warm the greenhouse and that heating bill cost me $1,500 a year. That greenhouse cost me $10,000 in 1981.
In Maine, on a small scale like you're thinking about, you have to guesstimate how much you can grow versus how much to grow it. No business is going to want to buy lettuce from you for $30 a head.
My best suggestion to you is to put this partially below ground and go solar to a large degree. Solar heated water being used a great deal as a heat source to circulate water heated by the sun throughout the greenhouse. But I am doubtful you have enough sunny days during the colder months to make that practical.

The scary part is you have recognize on a cold winters night in Maine when it is 5 degrees below zero and the wind is howling just how much of a demand is placed on you heating system.
You can grow "cool weather crops" that will love growing between 55-65 degrees but can you grow enough and sell it at a good enough price for it to be profitable?? Those are tough questions. Growing enough for family and friends is one thing, growing enough to make it a profitable business is entirely different.
I would not attempt any greenhouse if it were me unless it was double layered polycarbonate with an air space in between the two layers. You have to look into local rules to figure out what your local government allows you to put up.
Good luck!!
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
[Last edited by BigBill - Dec 11, 2019 9:13 AM (+)]
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Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
Snakes
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Sallymander
Dec 11, 2019 3:20 PM CST
JRG said:Hello,
My husband loves to garden...his dream is to one day be able to sustain our family and eventually sell products to local restaurants. He will be growing vegetables and flowers. Please excuse my lack of gardening and plant knowledge....
I am trying to surprise him with a small-medium sized greenhouse for Christmas. However, I don't know enough and I am afraid I will purchase the wrong one! Do you have any recommendations? What materials are best? Or maybe a better question...is there a greenhouse, as a gardener, you would be ecstatic to receive as a christmas present in the $600 - $800 range? Haha. I would like it to be at least 10 x 12 (or close to) walk in, with a door. A kit is ideal, I have been looking at Palram products. Some info - we live in Maine, so eventually this will need to be heated. We have very harsh weather conditions, so this needs to hold up to some very serious wind, snow, cold, and rain. Any ideas on how to add on to an existing kit to make things more sturdy, adding heat, shelves, convenience, etc would be appreciated as well. Probably hard to find one kit that has everything I want. And he will love adding on to it!

Thanks in advance


This is not a "surprise" item. My childhood, I was raised to believe money was the worst gift on the planet. As an adult, I consider it the best. Give him the money, tell him what it is earmarked for, and let him decide.
Name: kathy
Michigan (Zone 4b)
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Dec 11, 2019 3:55 PM CST
Hi JRG
What a beautiful thought. If I received a greenhouse for Christmas, I'd jump for joy because my husband purchased it knowing he'd put it together.
I'd follow Sally's advice. He'll love the creativity of the intention & gift of money and he'll also have fun searching for the perfect greenhouse.
Speaking of searching - this site has a very nice thread entitled 'greenhouses'. Click community, then choose gardening discussion forums and it is there you will find greenhouses.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Dec 12, 2019 3:24 AM CST
The only bad thing about giving your husband a Green house for Christmas, is he will be gone all the time, working in the greenhouse. You may not see much of him if he loves plants as much as I do. I love working in a greenhouse it is soooo cool to raise cuttings and germinate seeds. Plus its a swell place to have your morning coffee and deep breathe the fresh air in Winter. I don't care how much they cost, if you love to grow then, they are worth the time and money. Good Luck
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: kathy
Michigan (Zone 4b)
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Dec 12, 2019 6:23 AM CST
Good post, Luke.
You hit on the driving force behind why we gardeners do anything. The need to work with and around nature.
A greenhouse extends the time we can do that.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Dec 12, 2019 6:47 AM CST
I am delighted that you are so supportive of your spouses' passion. I will agree with a gift of money earmarked for the future greenhouse. As he couldn't assemble it in winter, let him study, plan and dream of it for the balance of the winter. He may already have ideas of what he would enjoy.

Perhaps to go with the gift of money, you could include some appropriate books about plants, greenhouses or gardening. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and Welcome! @JRG
Believe in yourself even when no one else will. ~ Sasquatch
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Dec 12, 2019 6:56 AM CST
Maybe suggest to hubby to visit the greenhouse thread here for advice.
I agree, probably too significant an investment for you to choose for him.
Bill's caution is worth taking under advisement.
Hubby could get lost for hours researching alone, lol. There is a ground-air moderated system I've seen- 'Wallipini' seems to be a name for the design.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
I think it needs a LOT of wide open space
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Dec 12, 2019 8:54 AM CST
I think a greenhouse is a great thing to have for sure! But - I would have some points to consider:

Make it as large as you are comfortably able to do so, money and room-wise. Many people start out with a "cute" set up, only to lose the plants and the set up, because it didn't hold up to the first Winter or a storm. Might as well do it correctly the first time around and it will be a pleasure to use for years to come.

Ideally have it connected/actually part of the house and its heating system and in the correct location so it becomes a heat-sink on sunny days in Winter, and that will certainly help your maintenance/heating charges. Besides, walking barefoot with a cup of coffee in your hand into the greenhouse in the middle of Winter is a lot more fun than getting dressed in Winter clothes and boots to go and look at your plants.

I would consider getting in touch with Florian, they are truly great and will advise you.

http://www.floriangreenhouse.c...

Getting your husband a promise to support him in upcoming greenhouse endeavors is a great present! Thumbs up

Name: Christie
Central Ohio 43016 (Zone 6a)
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cwhitt
Dec 12, 2019 10:32 AM CST
On the flip side of the money gift, if he gets money, he may decide you spent too much and want to give it back for household expenses. Instead, you might consider a gift certificate for the greenhouse company - then he will be sure to buy it, and can also choose for himself. Just a thought.
My brother has a small farm - he actually grows for the grocery store in his area. Your husband might consider that - that way you don't have restaurant cooks pestering you in emergencies - a grocery store just carries the product when they can get it - might be a better choice until you get more established. My brother actually has great luck selling rhubarb - I guess that is hard for grocery stores in his area to get. You might just ask the produce manager at your grocery store what they might need more of before you grow.
Plant Dreams. Pull Weeds. Grow A Happy Life.

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