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Greenhouses: Summer All Year Long

Victorian GreenhouseFor years Sam and I have toyed with the idea of getting a greenhouse. We really like the idea. At least in theory. Kind of how we like the idea of having horses and goats and chickens and those cool little mini-cows. And when we bought the mansion, we thought we’d use the five acres for the livestock. Until we tried our hand at raising chickens. Let’s just say it didn’t quite go as planned and disabused us of any notion of being gentleman farmers.

Even with our farming fail behind us, garden greenhouses still hold romantic notions to us, even though we are decidedly not gardeners. Having bright flowers in the winter and fresh tomatoes year round is very attractive, not to mention a great cost-cutting measure. (We can actually grow tomatoes. And 10-pound zucchini, but that’s another story.)

The new house has a generous yard. We plan to put in some raised flower beds for square foot gardening, probably down the east side of the backyard. But there is plenty of room for a moderately sized greenhouse on the south side of the property.

No Space? No Problem!

Lean To GreenhouseEven a small space can accommodate one. A lean to greenhouse snuggles right up to the house on a carport or spare corner. This would be a fun addition to any yard.

Kids love dirt and each of my kids has spent a phase completely enamored with planting and harvesting, especially when they have real tools of their own. A year-round garden will provide a year-round educational opportunity for kids. Grab some kid-sized gloves, soil, and seeds, and they’ll be off an running their own horticulture course.

Cold Frame GreenhouseIf you don’t even have space for something like that, what about a cold frame greenhouse? They are small — some take just a few feet — and are very economical.
Use these for regular gardening all year. And they are perfect to promote seedling growth and harden off or protect your plants from sudden climate changes. It’s also a great option for someone who just wants to try their hand at this without investing in a huge structure.

Greenhouse Style

After spending years building our dream home, are we just going to slap together some 2×4’s and throw plastic over it? Um, no. Yes, you can still get primitive looking greenhouses. But you can also choose functional and beautiful greenhouses that you won’t want to hide.

Some have a victorian flair, like the one pictured above. You can also get beautiful redwood greenhouses. I’ve even seen these used in magazines to serve dinner and entertain!

Redwood Greenhouse

Your New Greenhouse

Whatever style fits your yard and your gardening skill, make room to have gorgeous flowers and delicious vegetables available all year round with your backyard greenhouse.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Alison Moore Smith January 8, 2010, 1:05 am

    Thanks, Janna. I agree with your descriptions. I’d really like to get a nice greenhouse. We homeschool and I’m always looking for great projects.

  • ileane January 8, 2010, 3:26 am

    Alison, it’s hard to choose. Most of the prices are outside my budget but it’s something to think about saving up for. I have bad knees and can’t bend over a lot so I got rid of my garden but the Lean To Greenhouse might get added to my wish list.
    .-= ileane´s last blog ..Blog Engagers That Make My Day! =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 8, 2010, 9:56 am

    Amazing how much knees affect everything we do, isn’t it. Same goes for backs. Something where you could stand might do the trick. I’ve also seen RAISED flower beds that are just created with, say, railroad ties, used by people with disabilities (in wheelchairs, etc.) who can’t get down on the ground. If you miss gardening, that might be worth looking into as well.

  • Janna CC January 8, 2010, 11:17 am

    Great pictures in this post. I didn’t know there we so many kinds of greenhouses. And, you’re right, some of them are very attractive. The one on top is very romantic and the redwood one is SO California!

  • Stephanie O January 8, 2010, 3:18 pm

    We’ve been trying to figure out greenhouses for a little while. My husband loves ferns and orchids but it’s a little dry in Utah (you may have noticed!). The trouble is how to keep it warm without breaking the bank. I’ve been looking for info on passive solar greenhouses, but I’m not sure we’ve got a site suitable in any case. We’re in an older neighborhood and chose our home in part based on the 7 mature pine trees, so there isn’t much sun on our lot. We may have to make due with garden windows. The orchids in our North facing kitchen window are doing great! We’ve got them in a gravel-filled tray that we put water in to increase the local humidity.

    That reminds me – Alison, do you have info on whole-house humidifiers? We got one when we first moved in but it doesn’t seem to do much – it only comes on when the heat is on and our heater just isn’t on enough for it to humidify the house. So we use the portable ones. Maybe in a future post? Thanks!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 8, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Stephanie, that’s a great thing to research. I’ll see if I find anything. Being a neophyte greenhouse lover, I’ve only looked at sizes and shapes and styles.

    Oh, I have some great info on whole-house humidifiers! Thanks for bringing that up. I almost forgot. I’ll see if I can get that posted over the weekend!

    Then I’ll be writing about patio furniture and storage sheds. Can you tell I have spring fever???

  • Ms. Freeman January 11, 2010, 3:53 pm

    Oh that would be a wonderful place to sit and enjoy tea and a book, or plant flowers and vegetables, in the winter. I would imagine they get quite hot in the summer though.
    .-= Ms. Freeman´s last blog ..Carry a Notebook Everywhere You Go =-.

  • SmithJhonson July 21, 2011, 1:15 am

    This house looks great. It looks green and beautiful. All your efforts and hardwork made this beautiful house.

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