Build it for Year Round Growing

Do you already have a greenhouse? Many gardeners who don’t yet have a greenhouse for year round growing, would like to have one.

Here we have some tips from a Master Gardener with 13 years experience of hobby greenhouse growing, followed by how to make a simple designer greenhouse and a quick and easy how-to video for making a greenhouse for just $5.00!

Some Greenhouse Essentials

Excerpted from article by Joe Lamp’l with Sheri George, Lifetime Master Gardener, on

These tips come from thirteen years of experience… and still learning!

  • Automatic vent openers. (Prevents greenhouse from overheating and uses no electricity.
  • Pea gravel layered over landscape fabric for the floor.(Spray water on rocks in summer to help keep greenhouse cooler.)
    Editor’s Note: This is the kind of pea gravel you’d want, and Amazon has a reasonable price on it but then you’ll have to pay the shipping on a heavier item, so your best price would be from your local home improvement store. 
  • Oscillating Fan. year round but especially important in winter to prevent cold spots and disease.
  • Clip on fans free up shelf space. Editor’s Note: you can build ceiling fans into your greenhouse design! But with any fan, you’ll need to pay attention to plants drying out more quickly.Gutters to fill rain barrels (also will help prevent splashing if flowers/crops are planted alongside greenhouse).
  • Shade cloth is essential in summer if your greenhouse is situated in full sun. (Vegetables love full sun, but southern full sun in a greenhouse will cook plants.) There are many different weaves for desired amount of shade.
  • Keep greenhouse journal. Fun to track high and low temperatures daily for monthly summary. Also write down what seeds were planted, how planted (covered, uncovered…etc) and how long it took to germinate. This will help in deciding what seeds to grow in the future.
  • Propagation mats with thermostat help with successful germination also do not have to depend on heater as much in winter.
  • To prevent pests and disease in greenhouse, DO NOT overwinter plants that have been outside or are already sickly. (People love to ask if they may overwinter their tender plants in greenhouse…learn to say “no”).
    Editor’s Note: The Master Gardener must know best, but… it seems harsh and limiting because we’ll always have plants that we want to take outside in summer but need to bring back inside in winter. So… we’d be inclined to create a separate smaller greenhouse for overwintering plants if it won’t work to combine them.
  • Water seeds/seedlings from the bottom to prevent damping off.


Now, head over to the next page for making a simple designer greenhouse.

References   [ + ]