how does a greenhouse work

How Does A Greenhouse Work To Help Plants Grow?

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How does a greenhouse work, you might ask? Well, a greenhouse is a structure with walls and a roof made primarily of transparent material in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. It is like an indoor garden. The growing conditions are monitored, and thus the yields are of high quality.

A greenhouse works by a simple process referred to as the greenhouse effect. The structure of greenhouse uses glass and/or plastic. Sunlight easily passes through these materials. When the sunlight hits the plants and floor inside, they convert the light energy into thermal energy.  The thermal mass inside the greenhouse naturally regulates the temperature. This provides a healthy atmosphere for the plants to grow.  As well, the atmosphere inside a greenhouse is warmer compared to the atmosphere in an unprotected environment. This way, the ideal temperature for the plants to survive is maintained.  Because of these constraints on the greenhouse, it encourages the continuous growth of the plants.

While inside the greenhouse, the plants are protected from damaging pests and animals.  Extreme weather conditions such as hail, heavy rains, snow and even high winds are neutralized. Certain fruits and vegetables grow only during a certain time of the year, but using greenhouse technology, they can be made available all year.

A greenhouse allows you to control plant pollination.  To do this, you have to carefully select the parent flowers with desirable traits, and then cross-breed a particular kind of flower by transferring the pollens yourself.  As we noted above, a greenhouse also allows you to keep particular insects away from the plants to make sure that you will only grow the cross-bred plants that you want.

Important Elements of a Greenhouse

First, the requirement of building a greenhouse is choosing a piece of land that receives abundant sunlight. The spot should also have a good drainage system as damp conditions might lead to the growth of mildew that is harmful to the growth of plants. It involves a structure similar to a house, in which only sunlight is allowed to enter. A greenhouse mainly consists of two parts, first is a frame that can be of iron pipes, bamboo or wooden pipes. And the second is one is the casing material that is usually of fiberglass or plastic.

There are basically three types of structures of a greenhouse, that are:

Attached lean to

This one is made by constructing it against a house/building. It is limited to either a single or a double row of plant benches with a width ranging from 7 to 12 feet. The heat, electricity, and water are readily available but other conditions might be poorly present.

Attached even span

This one can accommodate 2 to 3 rows of plant benches and similar to free standing. This one is slightly costly than the attached lean-to.

Freestanding

This is the most spacious of all the types as it is separate from other buildings and receives the most exposure from the sun.

The cost associated with the Greenhouse:

Investments made in the greenhouse can be classified into three categories that are; low-cost greenhouse, medium cost greenhouse, and hi-tech greenhouse.

The low-cost greenhouse uses polythene sheet and bamboos and is a zero-energy chamber. The cost is quite low. Medium cost greenhouse uses ventilators and cooling pad to humidify the air entering the poly house. The hi-tech is the costliest one and uses automatic systems to control humidity, temperature, and light etc. Qualified operators are a must for this type of structure.

Benefits of a Greenhouse

Greenhouses makes the availability of seasonal fruits and plants an all year round event. It allows cultivating varieties of plants that are alien to a particular area. The growth process is quicker than the conventional agricultural methods of gardening. The rainwater system in the greenhouse provides the optimal amount of water for the plants that enhance growth. Your hard work does not go down the drain because of the threat of some pests or environmental conditions –keeping everything safe and in control.

Plants that are grown in Greenhouse

Vegetables (such as tomato, cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, chilies, ladies finger, spinach etc.) are grown more favorably in the greenhouse. Flowers like roses, carnations etc. and other plants with a short lifespan grow better in the greenhouse.

Thomas

Thomas is an avid gardener and started gardening with his Grandfather when he was just knee high. He has over 35 years experience in landscaping and greenhouse growing and is CAEP certified.