At some point in everyone’s gardening journey, there comes a day when you start to run out of room, or you want to extend your garden season. You look at your options, and inevitably you start seeing beautiful greenhouses, built in beautiful backyards, with beautiful plants filling it up.
Then you see the not-so-beautiful price tags of those greenhouses. They can be pricy! But what about the cheap little plastic greenhouses you see on Amazon or in your local Tractor Supply store? Can they get the job done? Let’s find out.
Do You Really Need to Buy a Greenhouse?
If you are reading this blog post, I imagine you might be trying to expand your growing space or season without spending an arm and a leg. Or you haven’t moved to your dream property yet and are growing in the suburbs. I’m right there with you! But first, consider if you even need a greenhouse.
If you’re trying to save some money and have a little extra time, you can build a great cold frame or DIY greenhouse in a weekend. There are tons of tutorials online, but here’s one I absolutely love.
Cheap vs. Expensive Greenhouses
The only real difference between the cheaper greenhouses and the more expensive ones is the material they’re made out of, and the beauty of them. They all still capture sunlight and create a warmer, moister environment for the plants inside.
The bonus of a larger, pricier greenhouse is better materials. Wood frames or sturdier poles instead of plastic or metal rods. Theses materials help keep the greenhouse from blowing away. But you can always weigh your little greenhouse down with some sand bags or tent stakes.
Additionally the higher budget greenhouses sometimes have fans included in them, or at least a better ventilation system. The plastic ones you can grab for $40-$50 have one door flap in the front and that’s all you get. But maybe that’s all you need anyway!
So if you have a way to secure your greenhouse to the ground and can keep up with opening and closing the door in the morning and night, and you don’t need an Instagram worthy space for your plants, then a budget friendly greenhouse might be just the right fit!
How to use a Greenhouse
Make sure your greenhouse has a good level of moisture, but not too much. The heat from the sun can dry things out pretty quickly, but can also increase mold and other fungi from conditions that are too humid.
All greenhouses should have some way to encourage air flow. Whether its just a flap in front or other venting areas on the top and sides, make sure your plants are getting some air! This will keep the chance of mold down and allow plants to breathe a little.
Place your greenhouse in an area that gets full sun. This will give your plants the best amount of light and heat, and you can always add a shade cloth during the summer months.
Potential Pitfalls with Budget Greenhouses
Like I mentioned earlier, budget friendly greenhouses are not made of the sturdiest material. This means they are more susceptible to wind and blowing over, as well as tears in the plastic. Additionally, having only once way to ventilate the space can leave some hot spots in the green house and make your plants a little more susceptible to mold or overheating (check out what I did to my tomatoes and celery the first week I used my greenhouse…)
So… Is a Store Bought Greenhouse Worth It?
If you just need some extra space to put your plants til you can transplant them into the ground, then I would definitely recommend a budget friendly greenhouse. There’s nothing fancy about them but they get the job done. Remember the principles of Moisture, Air Flow, and Sunlight, and you will be rewarded with beautiful plants who’ve had a nice warm and cozy place to grow until summer!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more daily content and life stuff 🙂