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Do you have limited space in your yard but still want to grow plants? Then we have a treat for you to build a mini greenhouse. So, remain with us to learn how to make a mini greenhouse to grow young indoor plants for your home or food for your kitchen.
The best part is you can take your greenhouse gardening with you anywhere when you move.
What is Mini Greenhouse and How Does it Work?
A mini greenhouse makes a great addition to your garden and can be made of different materials. It allows your plants to grow at different stages before transplanting them into the landscape or placing them on a patio or inside your home.
So, you have a completely controlled environment that provides added protection for your babies. You can grow various plants, from salad crops, tender plants, and heat-loving plants, and sow seeds to germinate.
With a small greenhouse, you can get enjoyment when you propagate plants, and the seeds sprout into healthy plants to produce fruit you can enjoy. Still, you can find different greenhouse-type structures to use in the yard.
So, stay a bit longer to find out how to start seedlings earlier, place your plants overwinter in natural temperatures, or use grow lights in your small greenhouse. The best part is you can grow delicate plants all year round.
Why Do People Use Mini Greenhouses?
The answer is simple people use a mini greenhouse to grow plants throughout the year. The small greenhouse is ideal if you have limited space in the backyard but still love gardening. Other people use it to grow cool-season vegetables to enjoy them during the harvest season.
Then you find people that do plant propagation as a hobby to gift or even sell using one. Still, there are a few things you need to know as there are different types of greenhouses available we will discuss here:
The Standard Mini Greenhouse
The greenhouse offers you warm temperatures regardless of the outdoor conditions. Hence, depending on where you live, you can use it to start seedlings earlier and transplant them to the outdoors after the temperatures stabilize.
Still, you may find fluctuating temperatures in some places during summer and need to grow your plants throughout the season.
The Cold Frame Greenhouse
The greenhouse differs from your traditional one. These small greenhouses have insulation working on solar energy to help microclimate your garden. Hence, they are ideal for starting seedlings to transition plants before planting them outdoors.
You can use them for tender plants in winter as they keep the soil warm. You can grow cool-season vegetables or sow your seeds in early spring.
Things To Know Before Opting for Mini Greenhouse
Mini greenhouses you find in different shapes and sizes, and the costs can vary depending on the type you choose. So, you can invest your money in a bought one or a DIY option. Let’s look at each feature when looking for a small greenhouse.
Buy or DIY?
Okay, if you are handy with your hands, you can build a mini greenhouse or buy one to set up in the backyard. The price will depend on the material you choose, but before you even start looking at plans or buying a complete one, the most important feature is the size.
If you have limited space, you want to make the most of the space you have. Avoid choosing one where the doors open beyond the footprint for a small space. Doors opening beyond the footprint reduce with width and depth you can fill with plants.
We recommend buying the biggest mini greenhouse to fit into the space provided. Or you may wish you had bought a bigger one. Avoid investing in a walk-in model for tiny spaces, as it leaves you with dead space while reducing your growing area.
We love the free-standing models as you can take them with you, and it is a cost-effective way to grow herbs for other plants.
The mini greenhouse is made of different materials, from polythene-covered models to wooden ones, to glass. Still, it helps to check the fabric as your polythene ones will need the covers replaced, and it does not stand up to wind and snow. The best mini greenhouse is made with glass or polycarbonate that can withstand temperature fluctuations.
The framework is also essential as you do not want to go running after your greenhouse in strong winds with your salad greens to spring cabbage and other plant growth all over the place.
You can choose a range with a wooden framework made with hardwood that will last years. Alternatively, you find them with aluminum frameworks with glass or polycarbonate. Of course, you can always powder-coat the aluminum and give it a decorative baked finish.
When selecting your mini greenhouse from a reputable manufacturer, you’ll get a warranty for up to 15 years, depending on the material used.
Glazing For The Best Greenhouse Temperature
The most important consideration for your greenhouse gardening is the glazing material used in the structure. For example, a small-budget greenhouse usually has a twin wall with polycarbonate covered in thin polythene or acrylic sheets.
Hence, you have a lightweight structure that quickly blows over in strong winds. While a twin-wall polycarbonate can provide some stability, it does prevent viewing your plants from growing. A fabulous glaze is a glass, giving light transmission with a long life.
Your greenhouse plants will grow healthy while the structure withstands winds. You find them made with safety glass and are extremely strong.
Never Overlook Adequate Airflow
Ventilation in a small greenhouse is essential and must not be overlooked. You do not want your plants in the growing season to overheat in summer. The same applies to winter months as they need to remain warm.
With some sliding doors, you can open them up a few inches or even wider, depending on the weather. Check the ventilation panels, as you never have too much. You find some mini greenhouses with automated louver vents or even roof lights.
Avoid front-opening doors with no secure cleats, as they will bang open or shut with a slight breeze. Also, avoid ones with tops that open unless you can secure them.
Irrigation & Drainage
Just as important as ventilation, water drainage is important to allow excess water to drain away from your greenhouse. If you plan to use irrigation, look at how you plan to set it up. The reason is that certain plants grow better when watered at the base with drip irrigation than from the top.
Positioning Your Mini Greenhouse For Young Plants
A favored position for most mini greenhouses is the east or west side of the home. It will give your greenhouse plants sun during the morning without being too hot. The south side is ideal for spring, while the north works well with young plants late in the growing season to prevent scorching in the sun.
But the position is not suitable for your sun-loving crops.
Types of Plants to Grow in Your Greenhouse to Enjoy the Best Harvest Season
While your mini greenhouse is small, it should not limit what you plan to grow in them. So, unless you have a full climate control system, you must plant according to the season.
Plants to Grow in Winter to Early Spring:
Now is the time to plant your frost-tolerant plants like cabbage, lettuce, leafy greens, broccoli, and spinach in your unheated greenhouse. These salad crops can endure low temperatures and move outdoors after the temperatures are above 30°F at night.
Planting Mid to Late Spring:
One thing is for sure your plants will be growing in a protected environment in a mini greenhouse.
After the official planting season arrives, you can start plants like your tender ones indoors. These plants grow in a warm yet controlled environment with eight hours of full sun.
You can start seeds like melons, cucumbers, and squash to transplant them outside in early summer.
Summer to Late Summer:
Now is the time to transplant the previous season’s plants outdoors to provide room for mid-summer crops.
As the temperatures in the mini greenhouse increase internally and externally, grow your heat-loving plants.
Choose tomatoes, hot pepper, and eggplant 🍆 varieties. You also do not want too much heat in the greenhouse as it invites powdery mildew, or your plants dry out fast.
Autumn & Late Fall:
You finish off with your summer plants and cool-season vegetables as the temperature cools down. Your cool-season crops will replace them as they are the easiest to grow. These plants have strong roots, like kale, turnips, or snow peas.
Sowing Seed In The Mini Greenhouse
You can use seed trays or single plug trays to even hydroponic ones. It also helps to use yellow sticky cards with the names of what you plant. You can work in some organic matter and view the germination rate.
Disease and Pests Control
Any plants growing in an indoor environment can lead to pests and diseases resulting from high humidity or not receiving enough sunlight. Always keep an eye on the humidity levels, as it is a breeding place for spider mites, aphids, and fungus gnats. To prevent the outburst of insects to diseases, it helps to treat your plants with neem oil or use insecticidal soap.
You can grow many plants in a mini greenhouse environment. You may find starting seeds that will grow sufficiently to harvest earlier, like your salad crops, herbs to other vegetables. The best part is you can plant year-round from early spring, early summer, and fall to winter.
With a free-standing mini greenhouse, you can also move it according to the seasons depending on how much sun your plants need.