GREEN COVE SPRINGS – With the heat, humidity, and rains of summer, it is a good idea to take a break and devote some time to planning your garden for the fall and winter. In this vein of thought, …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – With the heat, humidity, and rains of summer, it is a good idea to take a break and devote some time to planning your garden for the fall and winter. In this vein of thought, one option many consider as they get more invested in gardening is the possibility of a greenhouse. However, this is an option that needs a lot of planning and is not right for everyone.
In Florida, a greenhouse takes on a different purpose than much of the country, where the growing season is much shorter and many favorite plants require protection from extended periods of cold. The three main reasons for having one in our region are to protect tropicals, start plants in the winter, and to have more control over the growing process. In the peak of the summer, many greenhouse designs become hard to manage due to heat and a greenhouse does take quite a bit of management to make it successful at any time of year. Think about how you might use the greenhouse before you spend the money and time constructing one.
Greenhouses and other protected growing structures such as cold frames or hoop houses can come in many sizes, designs, and materials, it basically comes down to what resources you have and your budget. Before making any decisions, ensure that you are allowed to construct one on your property. Greenhouses can be prohibited by some homeowners’ associations or pre-existing zoning regulations. Following that, find a design that fits your wants and needs. Look for a structure that provides for good ventilation, adequate size, and will match your investment of time and money. Make sure that any design is built to withstand the weather and think about how much work will need to go into the maintenance of the structure. Within the greenhouse there are also many choices such as flooring, bench style and materials, heating, cooling, ventilation, and irrigation to consider. In the end, you can have a temporary row cover, costing only a few dollars to an automated masterpiece that can be more expensive than most homes.
A greenhouse should always be placed with the end walls facing North-South to ensure even light and heating. Avoid placement that shades the greenhouse unless it occurs on the west side, which can block some of the summer sun. You should also consider your water and potentially an electricity source.
There are many aspects in choosing a greenhouse or protected growth structure and it is best to plan and research before committing to it. If interested in more information, utilize online guides available from the extension services of land grant universities or consider attending the Greenhouses in the Garden class being held at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Green Cove Springs on July 19th. Visit clayextension.eventbrite.com to register.
If you have any questions contact the University of Florida/IFAS Clay County Extension Office at (904) 284-6355 or email them to IF-SVC-Clay-MG@ad.ufl.edu.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. USDA, UF/IFAS Extension, FAMU and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.