9 Best Greenhouse Kits to Extend Your Growing Season
Purchasing a greenhouse kit is an easy alternative to building one from scratch. From large to small, portable to permanent, here are some of Family Handyman's favorites.
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Hotter, drier summers and snowier winters make outdoor growing challenging in all parts of the country. That, in turn, makes greenhouses more popular.
Even without changing weather patterns, the stable environment in a greenhouse extends the growing season and allows for a wider variety of food and flowers than would otherwise be possible.
A rudimentary greenhouse isn’t that difficult to build from scratch. I built mine from pressure-treated wood and recycled sliding glass door panels. But there are definite advantages to purchasing a ready-made kit:
- You can choose the size and style that best suits your available land and growing needs
- Everything is included; You just have to assemble it
- Depending on its size, you may be able to pack up your greenhouse and take it with you when you move
Convinced yet? If you are, check out nine of my favorite greenhouse kits on the market:
The Mellcom Hobby Greenhouse is an excellent choice if you have significant yard space. The 10-foot-by-14-foot footprint is large enough for plenty of plants, tools and irrigation equipment. Additionally, the structure is made of high-quality aluminum and features a sliding front door and an overhead ventilation panel.
The semi-transparent roof protects plants from harmful UV radiation. The unit requires assembly, but it can remain a year-round fixture once it is in place. And better yet? You don’t even need to lay a foundation down ahead of time.
If you find your plants frequently eaten by bunnies and pests alike, investing in a raised garden bed is the best thing you can do for your garden. Outdoor Living Today offers an 8-foot-by-8-foot cedar garden box with a greenhouse covering, making all-season outdoor growing productive and satisfying. The U-shaped raised bed comes with a front gate to allow easy access. Additionally, the kit includes easy-to-assemble parts to make the installation process seamless.
Nothing brings you back to the future quite like a geodesic dome. The inexpensive Tierra Garden Haxnicks Greenhouse lacks the traditional geodesic structure with modular triangular panels but has a dome shape. It’s easy to set up and take down, so you can move it anywhere.
The frame is made from plastic, and the cover, which unfolds to fit snugly over it, is semi-transparent PVC. With a maximum height of seven-foot-three inches and a floor area of 415 square feet, there’s lots of room for all gardening activities.
Portable Walk-In Greenhouse
The 4-foot-by-6-foot Eagle Peak Portable Walk-In Greenhouse fits on a small patio but has plenty of room for flowers, sprouts and vegetables. Unlike most similar types of greenhouses with multiple parts that require assembly, the collapsible frame can be set up in seconds.
The green polyethylene cover blocks harmful UV radiation, and the doors and windows roll up and down for ventilation and temperature control for optimal greenhouse temperatures. The company provides a one-year warranty for the frame and a cover for the portable greenhouse. What more could you ask for?
The Quictent 20-foot-by-10-foot-by-7-foot hoop-style greenhouse features a double-layer transparent polyethylene cover and doors at both ends. It’s easy to assemble, and the ten hook-and-loop fastener-sealed windows can be closed in winter to maintain indoor temperature.
The transparent polyethylene allows 85% of the sun’s energy to pass through while blocking ultraviolet rays that can burn plants. The rounded top sheds snow in winter, and three rows of crossbars support any snow accumulating. The poles carry a one-year warranty with the cover guaranteed for six months.
Mini Indoor/Outdoor Greenhouse
The Worth Garden Four-Tier Mini Greenhouse only has a 27-inch-by-19-inch footprint, so it’s easy to tuck away in the corner of the kitchen or on a balcony garden. And at 63 inches, it’s tall enough to accommodate up to four shelves for plants, flowers and gardening supplies.
The easy-to-assemble frame is steel, and the cover is clear PVC. The front cover can be rolled down to create a temperature-controlled environment for all-season growing, and the unit is sturdy enough to withstand winter’s ravages.
If you aren’t on a budget and want a greenhouse that functions as a mystical backyard greenhouse hideaway, the Exaco Royal Victorian Greenhouse might be for you. Besides an enchanted look, the greenhouse style provides plenty of usable space inside.
The dark green aluminum framework is large and robust, and the tempered glass is secured with heavy rubber sealing. Lightweight, flowy curtains would provide added shade and make for the ultimate dreamy sanctuary.
The Canopia by Palram lean-to greenhouse upgrades the south-facing wall of any home while providing plenty of space for year-round growing. The sturdy aluminum frame abuts the side of the house and can sit directly on the ground or brick or concrete footing.
The modular structure can be configured according to wall length and available yard space. The unit comes with clear polycarbonate panels to provide maximum sunlight and warmth for starting seeds and winter growing. Additionally, there is one ventilation panel on the roof.
Sometimes you need instant protection for your prized plants against a late frost, birds or a pest infestation. The Porayhut Pop-Up Greenhouse sets up like a pop-up tent to provide a three-foot-square working area that’s four feet high. When the growing season ends, it collapses into an 18-inch-by-18-inch-by-2.36-inch bundle that weighs about six pounds.
This greenhouse features a reinforced polyethylene mesh cover with a roll-up door and windows on either side. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s there when you need it and an effortless greenhouse idea for spring.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Greenhouse Kit
Here are some things to consider as you shop for the best greenhouse kit:
- Size: They range from cold frames, simple boxes you can move around the garden, to 16-foot-by 20-foot walk-in greenhouses suitable for commercial production. It’s wise to buy the largest greenhouse your budget and space allow because once you start growing, there’s a good chance you’ll want more space.
- Light diffusion: Transparent material is best for starting seeds. But if you’re growing plants to maturity, diffuse or semi-diffuse is better. It distributes light more evenly and prevents plants from getting “leggy” as they reach upwards toward a more focused light source.
- Durability: You need a rigid, well-insulating material like glass or multiple-walled polycarbonate sheets if you have cold winters with a lot of snow. You also need a rigid material if you experience frequent high winds. Metal and wood framing work better than plastic in these conditions.
- Style: A greenhouse impacts the appearance of your property and the neighborhood. The right design can add appeal and utility, whether a lean-to extending from the back of a brick house or a gothic arch in the back of the yard. On the other hand, aesthetics may not be an issue if your greenhouse is small and portable or you’re adding a large greenhouse to a space already devoted to growing.
- Manufacturer: It makes a difference who manufactures the greenhouse. Is the manufacturer local or based in another country? How easily can you get technical support? What kind of warranty comes with the kit?
- Cost: In general, it’s cheaper to build a greenhouse (like I did, using recycled materials) than to buy a kit. But considering that greenhouse kits range from $100 to $10,000, the cost differential may not be significant depending on size and style.
- Permits: Check your local zoning regulations before you purchase a greenhouse, especially a big one. Some communities regulate them. A lean-to or abutting greenhouse is considered part of the structure of a house, so you may need a building permit.
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