Have you ever wanted to set up an herb garden greenhouse in your own backyard?
It may sound like an extravagant proposal. After all, can you really afford a greenhouse? Do you have the space? But year-round gardening may just be more accessible and affordable than you realize.
The benefits of greenhouse growing are numerous:
• You can extend the growing season, planting earlier in the year. A greenhouse protects plants from major temperature swings, retaining heat and moisture. This not only allows you to garden in the winter but to enjoy and sell out-of-season produce. Whether you are gardening to put food on your own table, or you are doing it to make some extra income, that is a great boon.
• Protect your plants from pests such as caterpillars, snails, rodents, and larger animals that may be interested in eating your produce. Your plants should also stay safe from blight, so you don’t need to worry about the disease affecting the neighbor’s plants from infecting yours.
• Keep your plants safe from inclement weather such as blizzards, hail, high winds, and dust storms. A greenhouse makes it much easier to grow in unpredictable climates (the Midwest for example—which has excellent growing conditions overall, but all it takes is a single severe storm to wipe out an entire crop and force you to start all over).
• Prevent soil erosion resulting from flash floods or ongoing torrential rainstorms. You no longer have to worry about losing all your crops because of a sudden change in the weather, nor do you have to rush out to your garden at the drop of a hat to try and prevent damage from occurring. Your plants will be protected in the safety of the enclosure.
• Take pleasure in the joys of gardening year-round, no matter what the weather is outside. For many people, gardening is a relaxing, centering activity. Being able to do it throughout the year provides a sense of tranquility and well-being. This is a payoff which goes far beyond the culinary yields of your produce.
Growing Tips for Greenhouse Herbs
Herbs can grow anywhere: Inside or outside your house. However, almost nothing grows in freezing temperatures. This is why using a sheltered area can help keep the extreme temperatures under control and extend your growing season to include the early spring and late fall.
Here are a few easy tips for healthy year-round growth.
- Water occasionally. Water until the soil is moist, but let the herbs dry out slightly in between waterings. This helps to develop a good root system as the roots reach down to the bottom of your pots to get every last drop of moisture.
- Let them go dormant. Your herbs may go dormant during the coldest weather. So, don’t worry if the perennial varieties like rosemary or thyme turn brown on top during these months. Let them rest for a while and trim back the brown parts. They should grow back fine in the spring.
- Fresh Air is Important. Keep the air circulation going. Stale air can lead to fungus or pest problems, especially in a slightly moist and warm environment. Open the doors (or unzip the tent) every so often and let the air circulate around your plants.
- Pinch Your Herbs. To extend the growing season of your herbs, be sure to pinch back any flowering stems. This will keep them nice and bushy and will prevent your plants from going to seed. Once the herb flowers and sets seeds, mother nature will slow the plant’s growth and you won’t see many new leaves.
Which Herbs Grow Best in a Green House?
You can start almost any herbs early in the season, including annuals such as basil and dill by using a greenhouse. The following herbs will also grow really well into the fall in the greenhouse environment.
Affordable Greenhouse Options
A greenhouse doesn’t have to be a significant structure like you would find at a commercial or botanical garden. It can be small enough to fit in a backyard with limited space.
It doesn’t even have to be a walk-in model. You can easily purchase greenhouse kits which are designed to accommodate a small herb garden on a deck. Here are two cheap ways to get your herbs started before the growing season.
- Gardman R687 4-Tier Mini Greenhouse
I love this style since it is light-weight and fits easily on most decks. I have used it for many seasons to get my indoor grown herb seedlings for the garden. The whole system can be set up in under an hour, even if you are slow to put things together!
Another great feature is that it stores away nicely once summer is in full swing. However, I found myself keeping it up. I used it throughout the growing season to store extra plants, grow seedlings outdoors and for storage. It looks really pretty especially with a few flowering pots set on top.
2. Deluxe Green House
A slightly bigger but still affordable option is the Deluxe Walk-in Greenhouse by GoSunny.
There are 6 shelves on each side of the walk-in. The frame is made from steel and held in place by 4 stakes. This greenhouse is larger at 56 ” square (length & height) but can be assembled by the average homeowner with no tools required. There is even a window on each side for cross ventilation.
Video: How To Build A DIY Mini Greenhouse For Under $50
Do you actually need to go shopping for greenhouse frame kits, or can you build a small herb greenhouse on your own from scratch? You certainly can do it, and you can do it at a very cheap cost too (some people have erected greenhouses for $50 or less). See the following example from the DIY Experts at Hip Chicks.
We love this example due to the nice portable size which would be perfect for an herb garden.
More Small Green House Kits
If you aren’t keen on this type of DIY projects, a greenhouse kit is another option for you. A kit can make it easy for anyone to build an inexpensive greenhouse in their backyard regardless of their building skills.
The kit provides you with all the materials you need. The parts are already ready; they just need to be assembled. The detailed instructions will walk you through each step.
The kit above to the right is a unique product because it offers an alternative to the traditional walk-in model of greenhouse. The raised gardening bed can be placed literally anywhere—even on a patio or balcony—so it is perfect even if you are living in an urban environment.
You could set this up even on the balcony of a high-rise apartment, so long as the balcony was large enough to accommodate it. All the plants are at just the right height for easy reach, making it an excellent choice for elderly and disabled gardeners.
The panels are made out of polycarbonate and are built to be extra-strong. They can even protect your plants from hail. They lock in heat and moisture, providing a safe, sheltered microclimate which is ideal for growing plants in and out of season.
So if you have been on the fence about getting into backyard gardening, or you have been looking for a way you can take the gardening you do already to the next level, you really have no more excuses! A backyard or patio greenhouse is something you can afford—and it is something you have space for, even if you do not have a yard at all.
Once you get set up with it, you will find that it can reduce the amount of work you need to do throughout the year. Greenhouses can make gardening easy and fun and is perfect for beginning gardeners and long-time gardeners alike.