Greenhouses provide us with an extended growing season by creating a suitable environment for healthy plant growth. It also gives us the opportunity to grow plants that otherwise would not grow in an unprotected arctic environment. For example, The University of Saskatchewan Agriculture Greenhouse has a banana tree that fruits in the dead of winter. Crops grown in greenhouses also reach maturity much faster and can potentially provide you with multiple harvests per season. Leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are popular crops amongst greenhouse growers.
Heat builds up in a greenhouse by trapping the sun's long-wave, high energy radiation. A micro-climate is created within the confined space in which there is ample heat, light and humidity, much to a plant's delight. However, a greenhouse does require attention as plants can quickly wilt and die if left unattended, especially mid-summer. Photosynthesizing plants, especially under high light such as in a greenhouse, deplete carbon dioxide in their surroundings. Plants require carbon dioxide as building blocks for glucose production. Therefore maintaining carbon dioxide through ventilation by opening a door/window is a must. Since photosynthesis increases in this warm environment, so will a plant's watering needs. Soil will dry out much faster in a greenhouse and therefore must be watched closely and watered accordingly.
Building your own greenhouse does not have to be elaborate or expensive. Start with simple components such as PVC piping or wood to construct a frame and cover with high light transmitting plastic. You can make it as big or as small as you like, as long as it can accommodate your selected crop. Here are 10 plans for a DIY greenhouse. Remember to start off small an familiarize yourself with greenhouse management. You will greatly enhance your chance of success with this approach. Your greenhouse may be covering an in ground garden or have raised beds and pots within, it's your choice!