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Greenhouse Supplies

GREENHOUSE: Styles, coverings, and the science behind them

Styles

  • Modern, old fashioned, Early Bloomer, Harvester, Hobbyist, Oasis, Commercial, Gothic/Dome, Lean-to (attached), kitchen greenhouse, window greenhouse, greenhouses at retirement homes
  • Other types: solar, extendable, portable, mini
  • Frames: Cold-framed, Timber-framed

Greenhouse Coverings

Glass, plastic material, and plastic covering can be used to cover a greenhouse, but some are more efficient than others. Talk with the contractor regarding expenses.

  • Glass: expensive and heavy, need to be cleaned every-so-often and simple sealing techniques.
  • Plastic: more efficient, will intensify the sun’s rays, last for 7-10 years, some types can be more expensive than glass, but the majority is less expensive. Needs to be replaced frequently and environmental conditions can determine if this substance needs to be replaced quicker or later
  • Solexx: lightweight, semi-translucent material insulates, looks like translucent corrugated cardboard. Scratch resistant, holds in heat, and admits up to 75% of highly diffused UV rays

The Right Greenhouse Plastic

Choosing the right green house plastic can begin as a simple procedure, but once you are faced with the many choices and options available, your simple decision making process can become confusing. To help you simplify the process of deciding on a type of green house plastic, we’ve provided a simple guide to the most common types of plastics used today.

Poly-carbonate Plastic:
  • Single -Wall – $$
  • Twin-Wall – $$$ (generally needs to be shipped by truck – motor freight)

Poly-carbonate plastic is a durable hard plastic. You can find poly-carbonate in a thin single-wall (think of the plastic you hate cutting open when you buy a toy for your kids)  double-walled plastic (two flat pieces of plastic separated by plastic flutes and air space) and even triple-walled varieties. The thicker the poly-carbonate, the better the insulating quality. This type of plastic is a great choice for the greenhouse gardener looking for a greenhouse covering that’s resistant to tearing. It is more expensive than other varieties, but holds up against severe weather for longevity. Be aware with all plastic greenhouse covering that quality varies. Be sure to consider the warranty, the length of time the dealer and manufacturer have been in business, and steer clear of  ‘Made in China’.

Polyethylene Plastic
  • Film – $
  • Twin-Wall – $$

Polyethylene plastic is the most common plastic used for green houses. You see it often at nurseries. One huge advantage of polyethylene over other greenhouse coverings is the light diffusion properties. Polyethylene diffuses the light extremely well, which means your greenhouse will have a nice even light that reaches not only the top of the plant, but under the leaves as well. Polyethylene film comes in a variety of grades that will last anywhere from a year to several years before it starts breaking down from the sun.  Make sure the film material is designed for outdoor use and has UV protection.

Twin-wall polyethylene like Solexx, offers even better light diffusion and the added benefit of insulation. The R insulation factor of 2.1R is one of the best insulation ratings for greenhouse plastic (meaning lower heating costs for you). It is extremely strong and durable in high winds, heavy snow, driving rain and hail. It is affordable to ship and purchase in small quantities. Solexx is easy to attach to a greenhouse without building a complicated frame. There are other materials on the market that look like Solexx but have no warranty, so be careful when shopping for twin-walled polyethylene or polypropylene. Be sure to check the warranty period. Only Solexx is backed by an 8 year warranty.

Choosing between the types of green house plastic available is most dependent on your greenhouse gardening budget and the level of quality you are willing to settle for. Click here for more information.

The Science

The sun is passed through the panels in the greenhouses to amplify the rays for a fantastic heat source. If part of the greenhouse needs to be cooler, an individual can shade that section from the direct sunlight. They may also add an air conditioner or other coolant to assist in this need.

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