Greenhouses, whether DIY or professionally built, come in a variety of sizes. Large greenhouses can be over 20 feet wide, while small greenhouses are less than half that. A miniature greenhouse typically covers under ten square feet of ground space.
Mini greenhouses are handy for gardeners who donât have much space, and they are less expensive than larger greenhouses. They are also a good choice for people who want to experiment with greenhouses without committing to a big one.
On the other hand, heat and humidity can accumulate rapidly within a mini greenhouse. You will thus need a lot of the same equipment used to regulate environmental conditions in a bigger greenhouse, like a monitor, hydraulic vents and, pumps. If you live in a cold climate, you may need a small greenhouse heater or insulation to prevent heat loss.
Types of Mini Greenhouses
Greenhouses can be freestanding or attached. An attached greenhouse, also called a lean-to, is a three-sided greenhouse attached to a wall of another building, like the garage or main house. While they are generally less expensive than other greenhouses, they admit less sun than do freestanding greenhouses.
Freestanding greenhouses are simply greenhouses that arenât attached to another building. Sunlight can penetrate all four sides of the building.
A cold frame has a transparent mini greenhouse cover. It is low-slung and designed to protect plants from extreme weather, especially extremely wet or cold conditions. The clear roof lets in sunlight and keeps heat from escaping. A cold frame is thus a useful small greenhouse for winter. It can also be used to start seeds in the early spring.
Some mini greenhouses can be used indoors, which makes them a good option for apartment dwellers. While you can use artificial light, plants grow better if they get some real sunlight. Ideally, you should put your indoor greenhouse someplace with exposure to the sun.
What Can You Grow in a Mini Greenhouse?
Many spices and herbs can be grown in a mini greenhouse. Examples include basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. You can also grow mint, but it grows like the proverbial weed and may smother your other plants if you donât watch it.
You can also grow different kinds of flowers in a mini greenhouse including cacti, orchids, and carnivorous plants.
Many vegetables can be grown in a mini greenhouse. You can use shelves on one side for shorter plants like herbs and lettuce and use the other side for taller plants like tomato and bean plants. One way to maximize the number of plants in the greenhouse is to use the taller plants as shade plants. Lettuce, oregano, and asparagus all need shade, while tomatoes, strawberries, melons, and squash do best in sunlight.
You can also use a small greenhouse for winter plants like kale, potatoes, winter lettuce, bok choy, onions, peas, and broad beans. Many varieties of these plants don’t need a small greenhouse heater. Most of them still need light, however, and wonât grow much until the days start getting longer. One advantage to raising plants during the winter is that fewer insect pests are active.