Greenhouses are magnificent systems and structures. Once built, you really don’t have to do much to make them a success.
Essentially simple covered frames, they have the power to protect your plants from cold conditions, wind, and frost, and without too much extra work or frills.
They also create microclimates of heat and humidity for plants that need it – sometimes almost as soon as the moment you build and cover them!
With just a few quality materials and a good plan, you can effortlessly build a setup that both boosts and extends your growing season, all while allowing you to produce far more plants as a hobby grower than ever before.
Better yet, you’ll increase your yields and make more money if you grow commercially!
On their own, they’re uncomplicated, straightforward systems that really only need you to build them, and then they do all the rest.
They are truly genius in their essential function. Still, growers of all kinds enjoy having as much control over their operations as possible: something that just a simple greenhouse structure won’t allow.
ACCESSORIES ALLOW YOU MORE CONTROL
What happens if your greenhouse gets too hot? Too cold? Too humid?
What if you want to control the amount of light your plants get, whether by increasing it or limiting it depending on their needs?
To better control these factors in your sophisticated grow system, you’ll need accessories for your greenhouse, depending on the factors you want the most control over.
With the right additions, you can better hold the reins and make the right adjustments and changes to an already amazing growing system so it works flawlessly in your favor!
What are some of the most common and best accessories? Let’s take a look.
Most greenhouse, high tunnel, and hoop house models include roll-up sides along the length of their structures – though not all of them do.
These allow you to directly roll up the plastic sides for venting purposes. When excessively hot, this allows a great deal of trapped heat to escape, which is in turn a great help to heat-sensitive plants.
Roll-up sides are aided with the addition of channels and wiggle wire to attach and dis-attach plastic edges to the frame easily each time.
When looking into building or purchasing your greenhouse, consider this important basic accessory, since overheating is one of the most common obstacles you’ll encounter with greenhouse growing.
Keep in mind, too, that not all pre-fabricated greenhouses come with the function – though you may easily add them to some already standing structures.
Fans can serve multiple functions within a greenhouse.
Small fans help with disease and pest issues by drying up excess moisture or condensation. As a secondary function, they strengthen the stems of seedlings with top-heaviness issues: such as tomatoes, peppers, some flowers, and more.
Larger fans will do all this and more. But more specifically, they help purify and even cool your greenhouse, when paired with the proper ventilations systems.
Why ventilate your greenhouse? There are a number of reasons.
First of all: like with roll-up sides, installing vents or ducts – paired with larger fans – will help cool down your greenhouse. If humidity and moisture become a problem too, these accessories are a huge help.
Additionally, ventilation systems can aid with the healthy interchange of carbon dioxide with oxygen in your greenhouse. If not enough ventilation is allowed, oxygen may not properly escape to allow inflow of CO2: a respiratory gas all plants need.
Combined with roll-up sides, ventilation accessories ensure that your structure is creating healthy air flow, temperature, and humidity conditions for your plants!
What else beyond ventilation, fans, and roll-up sides might help you control the temperature of your greenhouse?
There are quite a few options! Modern technology has come up with some rather sophisticated systems and accessories to aid you.
This includes water walls, large accessories which combine the use of cold water and fans to produce cold jets of air to cool your entire structure’s internal temperature.
There are some smaller accessories that work similarly, such as evaporative cooling pads.
You can also take things up a notch with the installation of radiant cooling earth tubes: installed pipes that run in trenches under your structure and which create desired temperature changes. However, these are expensive to install, and don’t always work the most efficiently in certain climates.
What about heating up your greenhouse? This is especially a concern for those using covers for season extension in winter, or running operations in considerably cold climates.
While it’s true that ample sunlight can passively heat up a greenhouse in no time, sometimes your structure will need a little bit of help.
This is where heating systems come in. For more active options, you can install heaters of all kinds to run in your structure to create extra heat: including natural gas heaters, propane heaters, electric heaters, efficiency heaters, and more.
Those with the resources can even attach and install wood burning stoves to amp up the heat their plants receive during cold times, though this can be a bit harder to control the temperature.
If your system doesn’t need much more help when it comes to warmth, you may take a look at more passive options.
Radiant heating is one example. This adds extra building costs to your structure, but provides a low-expense way to heat up your microclimate with the simple technology of water pipes.
Compost heating, on the other hand, is fast becoming a popular way to add a little extra warmth to your indoor growing operation. It’s simple: all you have to do is bring your highly nitrogenous, quickly biodegrading compost pile into your structure.
It’s surprising how much heat it can create for you!
Beyond common temperature, humidity, heat and cooling controls, greenhouse growers may want lighting accessories to optimize how much light their plants can get.
It’s true that greenhouses certainly augment the sun’s rays to boost your yields. But growers, in turn, cannot control when the sun rises and sets!
Especially for plants that need as much light as they can get for nourishment – especially seedlings, nursery plants, and more – light installations will further boost what you produce.
LED lights, fluorescents, and much more are all options you can look into for inside your grow system. Lights may be installed as fixtures, hanging lamps, and many other forms besides (you’re likely to need safe and adequate outlets, power strips, and cords to go with them, too).
On the clear opposite end of the spectrum, blocking out and shading may be something you want control over.
In what instances would you need shade in a structure that’s literally built to magnify light and trap heat?
Well, similar to instances when covered structures overheat on really hot days – thus endangering certain types of plants – too much light can also be harmful. In fact, blocking out light will have a huge impact on how much heat gets trapped in your greenhouse.
If you’re intent on growing cool weather plants and crops (such as lettuces, Asian greens, or cabbage), installing a shade system really comes in handy to tweak heat controls: such as on unseasonably warm days in fall or winter, for example.
Shade may also be a desirable option if you want to switch your greenhouse growing operation over from sun-loving plants to shade-loving ones. Shade systems typically come in the form of shade cloth covering attachments, available in different sizes and all of which are quite easy to implement.
Blackout (also called light deprivation) systems may sound a bit like shade systems. However, they are quite different in theory than in practice.
Whereas shade systems are meant to still provide a bit of light even while shading most of it out (for preventing heat and intensity on cool weather plants), blackout systems are literally designed to shut out all possible light from getting into your greenhouse.
Some may ask: why would I need such a system?
The answer: blackout systems apply to a very specific type of growing operation having to do with flowering plants.
Whereas crops like vegetables and most other plants would need optimum sunlight during the seasons to grow to maximum size, flowering plants on the other hand tend to be triggered by shifting light cycles – specifically, ones that provide lower light levels than usual, such as is simulated by the arrival of winter.
Most flowering plants aim to flower and reproduce before winter, in order to spread their seeds before the cold. A blackout system would thus allow you to replicate these same conditions at any time of year: including the height of summer in order to help produce the most flowers.
As such, you can grow amazing cut flowers and perennials year-round – either commercially or as a hobby!
What could be the very best accessory for any greenhouse grower, especially if they have many different accessories tied into their structure?
The answer is easy: simplified control systems!
Operating several different accessories manually is not the hardest task for a commercial grower. But if greenhouse users want to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible – especially with a heavily accessorized structure – leaning on simple controls makes their lives much easier.
You can find plenty of options in the world of controls and devices, each helping you tweak the temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, ventilation rates, and even the lighting systems you install on your building.
Most commercial gardeners and farmers have plenty to do for their operation enough as it is. For just a little extra, a control system can make working one’s accessories and one’s greenhouse a breeze.
ACCESSORIZING MAKES IT EASY
With so many ways to enhance the function of your greenhouse, looking into a few add-ons certainly can’t hurt!
Plus, greenhouse growers and users on successful operations are more likely to invest in extras to have better control over their operations in the long run. It certainly saves time, and can boost yields and profits, too.
You might choose to invest in quite a few to increase your yields and success, or keep it simple with just a couple. It’s all up to you.
Most tend to invest in better control over the temperatures of their structures. As this article has surely shown you, there are plenty of options in that regard!
However, factors like humidity, light, airflow, ventilation, and more are all important to take into consideration. What accessories do you think you’ll need?